Over the past several weeks I have accumulated a half-dozen news stories about how wonderful government is for those under its thumb. Or should I say “governments” and “their thumbs.”
Over the next week or so, I want to look at the truly great (still being sarcastic, folks!) benefits we have from Excessive Government, using those stories.
Big, excessive government is bad for your health, your privacy, your pocketbook…. And the planet.
Consider Los Angeles County and the City of Carson in California.
In a story republished by Newsbreak from the Guardian, we read about the “stench of death” which has made life miserable and even dangerous for people who live near a drainage ditch. A stench due to hydrogen sulfide, among other things. Now, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is one of the most deadly gases known to man. It can kill swiftly and with little warning. According to the story the local environmental health agency measured 7 ppm (parts per million). Is that bad? Oh, yes! While H2S is immediately fatal when concentrations are over 500-1000 parts per million (ppm), exposure to lower concentrations, such as 10-500 ppm, can cause various respiratory symptoms that range from rhinitis to acute respiratory failure. If the health department found it at 7 ppm, you can be certain that there are places in an urban area that have HIGHER levels. H2S is heavier than air – it periodically kills workers in sewer trenches, pits, and old mines.
But what did the health agency do? They moved some people into hotels, but others? The government gave them air purifiers! (Which can be effective IF they are the right type – and if you are wearing them in a mask.)
But why did this danger develop? Because there was a fire in a warehouse in which “vast amounts” of chemicals were stored. While the various fire departments battled the fire “for days,” even MORE vast amounts of water was sprayed and poured onto the burning building. Which drained OUT of the burning structure into the drainage channel. A really STUPID mistake on the part of the fire departments: the GOVERNMENT fire departments. The chemicals killed all the plants and waterlife in the canal, which quickly rotted and created the H2S. Because of stupid failure to develop plans and carry out the right methods of dealing with the fire.
BUT – let us add more to the dismal performance of government. What were the chemicals that were drained into the water by the firefighters? Well, the story says that the city and the county are suing the companies in the warehouse because they were “illegally storing” huge quantities of HAND SANITIZER and ANTIBACTERIAL WIPES! I’m not sure why having ANY quantity of these things stored would be illegal. BUT I do know (almost certainly) why those companies were storing those things. Because of government mandates about washing hands and wiping down surfaces to battle COVID-19.
In other words, it was the actions of various governments that created the unsafe conditions which caused an unsafe act (whatever started the fire) to trigger a royal mess. Which was then made worse by OTHER government agencies. And dealt with ineffectively – immediately followed by a massive government effort to blame the victims of the fire, and rouse the victims of government into becoming a mob ready to back up government and NOT see government as the cause.
The major problem the companies in the warehouse had? Trust in the government. To do things right, and to not look for scapegoats. Those companies did not pour all that contaminated water into a channel: it was government-run and -paid firefighters that did so. The companies had no control over it. And what is now illegal was encouraged and promoted by government at every level to deal with a pandemic that they created a panic over.
We’ll look at another example in a few days.
“We are from the government and we are here to help”, Trust us
The anti-bacterial products are probably a fire hazard since they contain lots of alcohol (ethanol and isopropyl) which makes a dandy fuel. The “illegal” storage was probably due to a lack of fire containment and suppression for a very flammable product. That material was allowed to be stored because gubbmint looked the other way or was paid to ignore the problem. The warehouse and shipper were probably “small potatoes” not worth suing. Maybe jail time for the perpetrators. Maybe a good lawyer could go after the manufacturer or the end merchant ( probably a big box) for a lack of due care or an insurance company, or even the city for negligence. Bleed them! The Fire Department put out the fire. That is their job. If you didn’t like the consequences of that, you are going to love when a few electric vehicle batteries cook off. Better address the problem now! I understand that lithium burns with a pretty red flame.
We don’t need to be so forgiving of the fire services or government. There is no legal requirement to report to the Local Emergency Planning Committee and local fire protection agency about materials which are packaged in consumer quantities. Even such things as methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, chlorine bleach, and many other substances: but 1,000 1-gallon jugs or 4,000 quart bottles of these hazardous substances are just as much as “reportable quantities” – greater than 6,000 pounds. Thank Congress and State legislatures for that. The govmint was not paid or persuaded to look away – they looked away because the “lawmakers” said to. And sadly, even after 30+ years of training and after-action reports and much more, the formula for the firefighter is “P for Plenty of Water” – never mind what flows downstream. And then turn around and blame the property owner and business owner! It is a sad world.