Looking a Plague in the Eye
by Geoffrey Botkin
“What’s your favorite plague? Mine’s the plague of frogs.” Thus began the debate in our community about the “P” word. The discussion was started by a five-year old boy, one of the few Americans who hadn’t dismissed plague as historical fiction. Until today, many Americans seemed to regard rampaging outbreaks as mythical, medieval or irrelevant annoyances. Or perhaps cinematic dramas. Or perhaps exotic evidence that Africa is a hopeless place. But today the exotic word Ebola became a household word in Dallas, Texas.
Ebola is a plague with a capital P. It is more than an annoyance, and it is not fiction. It has wiped out entire villages. It is now rampaging its way onto airlines and into America’s medically-advanced Bible belt. Today Ebola became life-and-death relevant to every American as authorities diagnosed a case in Texas. Authorities then admitted that the critically ill carrier had an unknown number of interactions with other Americans before he was quarantined in a Dallas hospital. Authorities then assured Americans that Ebola will be “stopped in its tracks in the US.” But then authorities refused to tell Texans who this carrier was or where his tracks had taken him after he had left Africa.