Friday, June 01, 2007

A TB Twist And A Wave Of Violence Against Chicago School Children (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. We've got Anderson on Chicago's South Side tonight due to the killing of 28 Chicago school kids this year. You know, NBC Nightly News was in Chicago tonight too, but did Brian Williams broadcast from the South Side? No he did not. Wuss. Heh. But we'll get to what's going on in Chicago later. Tonight we begin with the ongoing fallout from the TB scare and we have a name of the TB patient: Andrew Speaker. And I guess he outed himself? It's a little unclear. However, his father is speaking out about what Speaker was told by officials: "He specifically asked if he was not permitted to go. They said, no. We prefer you not to go, but we're not saying you not to go." So...situation still unclear.

Next we're on to a Rusty Dornin piece and if this were a movie, here comes the big twist where the audience gasps. Apparently Speaker's father-in-law is Dr. Robert Cooksey. And where does he work? The Division of Tuberculosis Elimination at the CDC. Biggest. Coincidence. Evah. Or is it? Dr. Cooksey said he is regularly tested for TB and Speaker didn't get it from him. I have to fight the urge to put my tin foil hat on here because I can think of all sorts of scenerios that if nothing else, would make great Tom Clancy novels. Anyway, students on the flight with Speaker are mad and they note that they didn't see anyone wearing a mask. But Speaker's father thinks this has been blown out of proportion and his son is being treated like a terrorist. That's kind of scary actually. I mean, you have to protect the public health, but he's not a terrorist.

On now to discussion with Sanjay Gupta. Anderson asks if it's possible Speaker got it from his father-in-law. Sanjay plays us a clip of Dr. Cooksey and then says he doesn't think so. Anderson brings up the fact that Speaker might have surgery and he asks what that would entail. Sanjay is very prepared for this; he's brought us an animation. Basically depending on where the infection is they would take out a lobe of his lung. Sanjay also explains that to test for TB there is the skin test and then the sputum test, which needs to be repeated. Sputum test. That sounds fun. After Sanjay we're got Tom Foreman and he has maps! It's been a while since he got to play with the maps. Withdrawl, Tom? This actually really isn't fun with maps though because Tom's detailing TB deaths around the world. Only 1300 in North America, 15,000 in Brazil, 28,000 in Russia, 200,000 in China, 300,000 in India, and Africa? You don't even want to know.

Transitioning now to the reason we're in Chicago and we start with a David Mattingly piece on a teen named Blair Holt. Blair grew up on the South Side, but he had two supportive parents and never got messed up in the drugs and gangs that took so many of his peers. He was on his way to college and had aspirations to be a star, making his own raps, some of which we hear in this piece. But then one day he got on a city bus, shots rang out, and his young life was over. We're told that Blair died a hero, but we have to wait for a commercial break to get the details. Weird little cliffhanger there. In part two of the piece we learn from Blair's parents they were told that when a gunman boarded the bus and began shooting wildly, Blair said, "tell my mother and father that I love them." And then he threw up the peace sign. He then grabbed passenger Tiara Reed and threw her into a seat, saving her life. Blair was shot in the chest and died that night. Though others were shot, he was the only one on the bus to die. From there his death became a catalyst for action. "Students and parents at Blair's high school protested, demanding safe passage to and from school." And now in death, Blair has attained a level of fame that he never got the chance to achieve in life.

Moving on now to Blair's dad Ronald Holt and CNNer Roland Martin live with Anderson for discussion. Ronald still looks pretty upset. Although really, that's a stupid thing to say because that poor man will never not be upset over this. He says he and his wife are holding up, but yeah, they lost their only child, so their lives are devastated. Anderson asks what's going on in Chicago. Ronald notes that they're losing an average of two teens to violence very week and he thinks the answer to the problem lies with parents and the community. Roland thinks parents are the key too. He then talks about how what whites have done to blacks is often blamed, but no white person has ever put a gun in his hand. Also, he thinks there are too many "sperm donors" in the black community, and not enough real fathers like Ronald. I can agree with that, but I don't think you have to grow up with a father in order to come out well adjusted. Anderson wonders what can be done to fix the problem. Roland then talks about things like picking up trash and anger management classes. Ronald thinks at-risk families need to be identified and he points out that the shooting that took his son affected the entire community. "It ripples out," says Anderson.

After this Anderson asks us, "Think about this for a moment. If 28 white suburban kids were killed in a school year, wouldn't you have heard of it by now? Wouldn't it have made national headlines?" Are you kidding? Hell yes. Just look at how the country goes nuts over missing white girls when black girls go missing all the time too. We then move on to a Keith Oppenheim piece on a mother, Towanda Pore, who actually had to move from her Chicago neighborhood because things got so bad. When she first moved in things were okay and she was able to enroll her kids in a great school: Spencer Matthews Science Academy. But then people were shot near her home and though she trusted her kids were safe in the school, she didn't trust they were safe outside of the school, and therefore decided to move. Now she drives her kids an hour and a half every day to the school. Next year they will have to go somewhere else. And you know, when the good ones like her have to flee the neighborhoods it's only going to make them worse.

On now to an interview with Arne Duncan, head of Chicago Public Schools. Arne thinks "as a society, we value our right to bear arms more than we value our children." Ruh-roh. I see a Newsbusters post and angry NRA letter in the future. Anderson notes that after a while this kind of thing seems normal, but it's really not. I'm totally guilty of that. I mean, I live in St. Louis, not Pleasantville. A shooting isn't exactly shocking to me. Anderson then asks how you go about changing this. Arne brings up the guns again and I agree with him, but that argument goes nowhere. The gun lobby is too strong. Anderson wonders if there is a culture of violence here. Arne then, surprise, goes back to the guns: "This doesn't happen in other countries. I spent four years in Australia. Doesn't happen in Australia. Doesn't happen in Japan. Doesn't happen in England. Why? Because they value their children more than we do here in America," he says. I don't think we value our kids less; we're just terrible when it comes to combatting big societal problems because we let money and power get in the way. Anderson wonders if the fact that it's black kids dying makes a difference. Um, duh. Arne agrees with me. He thinks that all hell would break loose if this was happening to white kids. Yep, all the news channels would have special graphics and everything.

The final piece of the hour is from Gary Tuchman and it asks what's causing all this violence? Well let's see, there's the trusty violent video game and music excuse, the demolition of Chicago housing projects are blamed for displacing poor families, and then of course there's the access to guns. Reverend Jesse Jackson even led a protest in front of a Chicago gun shop. "People should be able to buy guns to hunt, guns on reservations, done in restrictive conditions. But you don't hunt deer and rabbit with AK-47s," Jackson says. Seriously. Why the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire I'll never understand. Gary then walks us through a warehouse that contains 70,000 illegal weapons that have been confiscated in the city. Wow. I wonder how many we have here. He then shows us the Mack 90 Sporter, an automatic rifle with a 30 round magazine. Whoa, Gary's packing, y'all. That might actually come in handy when he talks to those uncooperative polygamists. Kidding.

Joe Johns has the headlines tonight and we learn that Evan O'Dorney won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Aw, no offense to Evan, but that means Samir Patel never got to taste victory. Anyway, Evan's winning word was 'serrefine' and Joe decides to put Anderson on the spot with a little pop quiz. He clearly has no idea how to spell it and therefore gives us a half hearted attempt like he doesn't care. That's right, I'm on to to you, Anderson Cooper. The show was good and I think it's really cool that they're covering a story that wouldn't normally get much attention. B+


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from