In the little sleepy town where I grew up, we had a special hill. On that hill was a water tower. Usually when you see a water tower, there's some sort of writing on it. There was nothing on this one. But you could see a big gray building up there underneath the water tower.

I'd ask my mom and dad what that building was, and they just said, "It's a hospital."

One time I had to go to the hospital to have my tonsils taken out. I asked them why they didn't take me to that hospital up on the hill? They said, "It's a special hospital."

Why all the secrecy, you ask? My parents weren't keen on lying to me: Well, except for that Santa Claus deal. And the Easter Bunny. And that fucking Tooth Fairy. That one REALLY pissed me off.

It turned out that the hospital up on the hill was a Tuberculosis Asylum. Yes, it was called an Asylum. When someone was diagnosed with this disease, they were sent to this place until they got better. See, that way, they couldn't infect other folks. That's what your Health Department is supposed to do, isn't it?

That was a whole lot of years ago, and I just wonder now: Why isn't there an AIDS Asylum? Wouldn't that save a lot of lives?

You liberals want a whole lot of power invested in the government . . . Until it affects one of your voting blocks. Isn't that just cruel to those folks who are dying a horrible death?

Fidel Castro has asylums like this in Cuba. Isn't he supposed to be one of your mentors?

Hey, I'm just asking.

a significant difference between tb and aids being that tb is airborne, while aids requires an exchange of bodily fluids to spread, it seems a little cruel to quarantine aids patients. particularly since an aids patient not on medication can live as long as 13 years after contracting hiv. 13 years is an awfully long time to spend dying of a horrible disease alone in an asylum, when an aids patient's (responsible and informed) presence in society doesn't harm anyone. it's natural to be scared of an epidemic, but utilitarian decisions made to stop the spread ought to be those that will actually do some good for the rest of the populace.

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