12 October 2018

Some Hard Questions No One Is Asking About Michael

Posted by Dan Satterfield

This is what Michael did to the Gulf Coast of Florida. You can see more of this just-released satellite imagery here. Click image for high resolution.

Look at what Hurricane Michael did to Florida. This stretch of photos by the NY Times shows a mile of total destruction. I can guarantee you, every one of those homes in Mexico Beach, Florida were built since Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast as a Cat 5 storm in 1969. I bet most were built since Frederick (a Cat 4 like Michael) roared up Mobile Bay in 1979.

So the question that no one has thought to ask yet.

Why were they there?

Why build homes this close to the water on a coast prone to intense hurricanes? How many lessons does it take from Mother Nature before someone catches on?

Yes, money talks. It talks to real estate developers, and realtors and property tax money talks to city and county governments as well.

Oh, it was their choice you say.

Fair enough.

Just one thing: I wonder if a taxpayer in Concordia, Kansas trying to make the rent this month thinks it’s right that they help fund federal low-interest loans to rebuild the infrastructure so million dollar homes and condos on the Gulf Coast can be rebuilt. They might have no problem with it, but someone should ask them.

Am I the first to bring this up???

Waters in the Gulf last week were several degrees warmer than the 30-year average and this played a major role in how strong Michael became. It also played a role in how fast the storm became a monster. It may have actually been a Cat 5 at landfall.

Then again, that Kansas taxpayer may have some responsibility here.

Yes, really.

It’s Kansas, and the voters there overwhelmingly voted for people who told them climate change was a hoax when every major science body on Earth says it’s not. They voted for the folks who told them what they wanted to be true, and they wanted climate change to be a hoax because anything else would be in sharp conflict with their worldview. That makes things very uncomfortable when you think hard about it in church on a Sunday morning.

Make no mistake, this hurricane was bigger, wetter, and stronger because we are heating up the planet.  The greenhouse gases are warming the oceans and that warm water helped Michael to become a monster very quickly.

Democracies do not work when citizens fail to educate themselves. They most certainly fail to work when a majority of voters are willing to vote for people who tell them what they want to be true, rather than what is true. Democracies also fail when citizens no longer have the ability to research a subject and determine what’s real and what isn’t.

The founders of America knew this. This is why they opted for a republic rather than a direct democracy. This is also why libraries are important, so we probably should think about coughing up enough tax money to rebuild those. Even the libraries they built near the coast in a flood zone.

Times are desperate, and books and knowledge are important.