Saturday, January 14, 2006

Silly People

I live in Mission, Texas, where a pesticide plant was recently "discovered" to have dangerous levels of chemicals in the soil. Here are a couple of articles:

Chemical plant report public
City, owner idle after EPA report’s unveiling

I'm going to get hate mail and be quoted out of context. I just can't help wondering at the absurdity of it all. But, here goes.

Have you ever seen Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)? Towards the end of the movie, while Brian is being carried off for crucifixion, the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea are arguing about which action to take. They know they have to do something, but they can't come to agreement about what should be done. They are stuck in committee waiting to come to some consensus. In the meantime, Brian is being hoisted up on timbers.

This is what the whole situation reminds me of in Mission, Tx. This IS a criticism of the people involved in the whole mess. Here is my criticism. There is a pesticide plant. To me, it's common sense that there will be spills, big ones, small ones, and all manner of contamination, which can, over time, result in elevated levels saturation. It's expected.

I work in a party store where I inflate balloons. Common sense dictates that some will pop while being inflated. Some will pop soon after being inflated. There is a strong correlation between inflated balloons and popped balloons. There is a strong correlation between having a pesticide plant and having pesticide contamination. This is up there with research to determine that boys and girls are different. DUH!

So, you have all these groups like La Raza Unida, who have a site at http://mission-texas.com/, by the way, Lloyd Doggett, and others involved in the issue who are now angry it took so long for testing by the EPA. Now we absolutely know that there are concentrated levels of toxins and carcinogens there. They are now complaining that the testing was not complete and did not test the air and other things. IT'S CONTAMINATED! People in the area and in Mission have known for years that there was contamination. When the first birth defects, cancer, and other maladies started cropping up, that was a big hint that something was wrong.

Again, it's not a major discovery. The location made chemicals that were intended to kill. It's expected that some would spill. The plant is located right next to the railroad because they received train cars full of chemicals. A few gallons of spilt pesticide here and there would have happened. All businesses expect a certain amount of lost materials and products from handling. So, why is everybody surprised? Why is everybody upset? We all knew it. We've known for years. Even if you did not know, you would not be faulted for having reasonable suspicion.

Here is what is so much like Monty Python's Life of Brian. The people who are affected are still living there. They continue to live in an area that they have long known or suspected was not safe. They are still in danger. In the meantime, politicians, attorneys, and groups like La Raza Unida want more evidence. They want to take the companies involved to court to make them pay for damages, loss of property value, medical care, and a whole list of actions. Do they think that these companies are simply going to say, "Oh, ok. Our bad. Here's some money." No! Those companies have lawyers too. It could be more months or years before there is any money paid. In the meantime, these people are still there, slowly being poisoned.

Do you see the priorities here? They are more concerned about being right and getting money than they are about actually helping these people. They are holding conferences, fighting in court, raising awareness, and arguing about more testing rather than actually doing something. This is where you can apply the old saying, "To a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Politicians make this a political cause. Attorneys make this a legal matter. The Press makes it a story. Nobody is actually helping. How about talking to these people and convincing them to move? How about raising some money to help with relocation? How about making a health care fund? These people could get off their high horses and do something to help NOW. Actually, they could have done some of these things to help years ago. Again, they are more concerned about being right than doing right.

First, if you are a victim or are helping one, get the heck out of there. Find someplace better to live. Don't worry about lost property value, or the expense of moving, or "leaving your memories behind". The place is killing you. While these pinhead officials are arguing about who is responsible, who should pay, and whether there ought to be more testing, you're still being poisoned. You can still sue the companies from another part of town.

If money is your concern, think of this, the money you may be spending on attorneys, medical bills, and lost work from staying there could buy you a house. If you are "helping" the people, your awareness campaigns, press packets, trips to Austin, Washington, and other official business cost money that could have done something more meaningful, like move these people out.

Shame on all of you. Do something first. After you have ensured the safety and well-being of the people affected is when you should go out and pursue legal remedies. Stop asking for more or better testing. We already know there is poison there. That's where they made poison. Safety first, money later. Get your priorities in order.
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