Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deconstructing Prometheus

Not quite the usual palm-tree postcard.

California is on fire again. It's fitting that the state is in flames on the 4th anniversary of the Katrina Hurricane and destruction of New Orleans, but the truth is that California burns every year. Remember when all the snotty white folks blamed the poor black people from New Orleans for not leaving despite being warned? It happens all the time in any area where there are these types of disasters. We will inevitably see interviews of people explaining they didn't leave their burning neighborhood because they wanted to use the garden hose to save their home. So a group of firefighters have to risk their lives to save these people. Like what happened in New Orleans except, since these people are white property owners, nobody will say too much about them.

You'd think someone would get a clue, and stop building houses in the middle of the fire zones. Like they have flood zones, where no one can get permits to build new homes there for obvious reasons: it floods.

Lines of houses in danger.

Why no fire zones? Because California real estate is valuable. And actually the yearly infernos generate money for the state which is not exactly chump change. First the insurance companies will pay a lot of money to re-build. Contractors, architects, engineers, fire "consultants" (who never seem to tell people that they should not build in a fire zone), interior decorators, floor guys, wallboard folks, roofers, pavers, home furniture sellers with "Gran Venta" signs going up as we speak, nurseries, landscape designers -- they all make money, millions and millions and millions of dollars every year when the houses in California built in the fire zone -- burn to the ground. The funny thing is that the laws require new construction to include smoke alarms, but they let the developers build the houses in the middle of the fireplace.

SuperTanker, flying at night, dumping chemicals to try to put out the fires.

In Greek mythology, Zeus gave Prometheus the job of creating humans by using water and earth, plus we assume some chemical process that we have not yet reproduced. Prometheus was quite proud of his creation and wanted to even things up a bit, give humans some of the same powers that Zeus had. So Prometheus gave human beings fire. And look what they've done with it.

Firefighters fight to save the communities despite impossible odds and treacherous terrain.

Every single year much of the state of California burns to the ground. Thank God, I can hear the local businesses saying. Thank God, I can hear the clean-up crews, the unemployed carpenters, the granite-tile-counter stores, the stainless-steel-appliance dealers, the developers, the kitchen cabinet-installers, the home improvement centers, the tile installers, the linoleum-layers, the painters, Thank God for the fires.

View of the fire moving across the hills.

Schwarzenegger has been all over TV "announcing" that the state of California has been destroyed. Well, yes, Arnold -- and you did it. Congratulations. But he's out now hustling for federal bucks, and Obama will give it to him. The money will be used to re-build houses in areas where no houses should ever be built. You won't hear much about the victims not deserving the help. These are white people. It's different. And I seriously doubt the federal government will be trucking in the poisoned FEMA trailers and telling the white folks to live there and quit whining. Or bussing them down to Houston and giving them $2,000, telling them they are now residents of Texas. Good luck with that, folks.

So who suffers from the yearly fires? Every living four-legged creature in the state, many of whom are burned to death, or will starve to death this winter because their entire environment has been destroyed. Birds, bugs, bees, butterflies, worms. All the plants are destroyed. People with any kind of breathing or lung problems suffer. Sometimes you can actually see the ashes falling from the sky, far away from the fires, floating through the air, suffocating everything, coating the trees and leaves, absorbing any moisture, sometimes carrying a spark for miles to create a new fire, ensuring that future generations of young Californians will suffer from vague pulmonary illnesses, shortness of breath, of "unknown" origins. Without any health care, in many instances.


When I broke two bones recently, who came to my rescue, who literally carried me to transport to the ER, who put a big puffy brace around my leg so it would hurt less during the trip? The firefighters. I can't say enough about the firefighters. I've never seen a one of them who wasn't professional, helpful, terrific. And to think that they go out, year after year, and put their lives on the line to save a bunch of houses that should not have been built in the first place -- they deserve every penny they get. Two firefighters have already died in these current fires.

Firefighters mount a heroic effort.

So, knowing that this irresponsible construction of homes in areas that are surrounded by fuel, often inaccessible and lacking in water, in hot, dry areas, will inevitably lead to these tragic fires, why do communities allow this construction? Because they value money more than they value the lives of the firefighters.

Everything's gone. Burned to the ground.

When the firefighters talk about a "brotherhood," they usually means history, rituals, customs. But it is formalized by mutual-assistance agreements so that firefighters from all over, inside California and from other neighboring states, will come to fight these fires. And vice versa.

I think when the fires are out, there should be a moratorium on building homes. And sterilize everyone in the state of California. Too many people. Stop breeding. People really are not "better" than animals. We are destroying everything by our self-indulgent need to reproduce and then destroy everything in our path. Send everyone who is burned out to Montana, or Utah or Idaho. Maybe those states don't have as many fires. They for sure don't have as many people.

Overpopulation is destroying the entire earth. Is global warming causing more fires? Some say yes. But there is no question that the tens of millions of people who have moved to California in recent decades and bought houses inland -- where it's hot and dry, in fire zones -- have contributed to the destruction of much of the state, and will inevitably lead to the deaths of all the "other" animals that used to live in that area. Not just mountain lions and coyotes, which deserve their own land, but also deer, birds, butterflies, everything living, all now consumed and destroyed.

So I'm thinking maybe Prometheus should have minded his own business. Humans and fire are a bad mix.

Deer with its entire environment destroyed.

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