It's almost an axiom that wherever you find tornados, you find trailer parks. And every time we see that poor white woman tell us in her twang that "it sounded like a train coming" we secretly laugh at her foolishness just for living there. Some of us laugh more openly, but the same harsh question persists.
Why do people in Malibu live on the edge of the mountain if they know there are mudslides? Why do people in the Oklahoma panhandle live there if they know that tornados are going to hit? Why do people on the Florida coast put up with hurricanes year after year. Why do people live in California at all, much less in high rise buildings when they know that the Big One is going to come?
Hell, why are any of us living outside of Alaska when we know global warming is coming? That's a question I ask of all tree huggers, and sometimes I wish I could buy them the plane ticket.
We've seen this before. You and I still remember the movie, now out on DVD called 'The Day After Tomorrow'. There is nothing quite so arrogant as a lone scientist who bets his career on a once in a lifetime event. That's the whole Michael Moorian point dramatized via the swell-headed actor who gets to blame the Administration for not paying attention to science.
Last night I heard the most hate-filled screed against the 'Bush Crime Family' on the radio. This jerk wanted nothing more than the full wrath of a hurricane to land directly on the head of Michael Chertoff. It was an astoundingly furious tirade. You could just imagine that if he could control the weather, he'd order a Category Five to order. Except it can't be done. And we all know it.
Ask yourself right now, how much money are you spending on insurance. Do you have flood insurance? Earthquake insurance? Tornado insurance? People are rational aren't they? Then how is it that people who have no health insurance spend money on a car and car insurance when a car is more likely to kill them than anything else they own?
People take risks.
Furthermore taxpayers make priorities. And the priority is clear. We Americans don't save money for a rainy day. We don't take our municipal budgets and spend them on infrastructure. We don't think that the work of the Army Corps of Engineers is glamorous or deserving of our political attention.
I don't have to tell you that there are people who would like to conjure up genies and spend money in retrospect. It's not going to happen. The people have voted with their feet.