Stupid Is As Stupid Does

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Stupid is as stupid does
Stupid is as stupid does

During the government shutdown, new websites were created to tell us Uncle Sam couldn’t afford the manpower to run their old websites.

Stupid is as stupid does.

In the state of Arkansas, you can allegedly beat your wife, but no more than once per month.

Stupid is as stupid does.

In Snohomish County, Washington, you can live on fragile land near the Stillaguamish River, an area prone to mudslides – and never know, because your city officials never felt inclined to inform you.

Stupid. Is. As. Stupid. Does.

Now christened the Oso Landslide, the natural disaster, which occurred on March 22, 2014, in Washington State, shattered any sense of safety for Oso residents in what can only be described as 60 seconds of sheer terror. The aftermath of this horrific mudslide: 36 dead with many more left homeless, injured and traumatized. And I’m greatly pissed off.

The landside doesn’t piss me off. Honey, please! Landslides come with the territory of being an Earthling; they’re natural disasters just like tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. They’re destructive, frightening and toss our lives into a boiling, frothy cesspool of peril. We cannot control these circumstances. We just have to use our faculties to develop communities that lessen the risks of being affected by them. Which leads me to my focal points of “pissitivity”: Stupidity and Negligence.

Snohomish County officials knew Oso had a history of landslides. Landslides occurred here in 1949, 1951, 1967, 1988 and 2006. They’ve had ample time – at least eight years – to get their shiz together so the next landslide should not have been so devastating, but they were negligent in taking sufficient action. And that boils my blood.

Records state Snohomish officials once considered a property buyout program to remove landowners from the area. But they didn’t because it would cost $1.6 million. Now they’ve got $10 million in damage and 36 deaths on their hands.

High rainfall levels have been blamed for the landslide. There had been 200% more rain than usual in the previous 45 days leading up to the mudslide. I can agree rain influenced matters, but it did not create the catastrophe by itself. Rain doesn’t receive Google Alerts asking her to lower precipitation levels in respect to the removal of acres of trees in the areas for logging and property development. Spare me, ok? Snohomish County’s latest landslide devastation was preventable because it occurred in an area that was never suitable for development or human living!

My anger flares from Snohomish County’s negligence to do anything to substantially prevent the loss of lives. They never performed the property buyout. They never informed their citizens. They allowed continued logging to occur in sensitive areas, even though landslides occurred after logging activity. The extent of their prevention involved construction of a wall in 1962. The wall was meant to protect the slide area’s toe (base of the hillside), stabilizing the slope. Clearly that went swimmingly and proved effortless when a landslide overran it two years later.

Now, to be fair

Emerald Horizon

Emerald Horizon

Ms. Emerald Horizon … how do you begin to describe her? As her name suggests, she’s as sparkly and as intriguing as her namesake. She’s a wild woman that’s rumored to run with the wolves, hide in different corners of the world, enjoy sushi and dance. Most of all, Emerald is fearless and passionate when it comes to expressing thought-provoking views to inspire better treatment of Mother Earth and her precious resources.​

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  • 2girlsincollege

    Where is the homeowner’s responsibility to be aware of where they live/build? If you look out your back door and there’s a mountain behind it..with or without logging, chances are there might be a slide. You live on the ocean, you risk losing your home to that ocean. City officials didn’t inform? Well, did residents (or potential residents) ever ask? Did anyone research the location (which is the first thing to consider in purchasing a home). There are mudslides in CA, floods along the Cape in MA, New Orleans, NJ…warn residents? Residents should know what they are moving into. Officials warn of a definite earthquake along the CA fault lines…I’ve heard the warnings and I don’t even live in CA…should everyone near the fault line be forced to move? I bought my house 20 years ago and researched the town for past environmental spills/damage as best as I could. I did not want to end up living on top of a prior capped landfill. I contacted an environmental engineering firm to see what part of town was ‘safer’ to live in based on the ground water contamination that exists in every town. I tried to do my ‘due diligence’. Does anyone do this? People move where they want and many times do not think of the consequences. I wouldn’t blame my town if in fact I lived on a landfill, that was my responsibility to ask that question before I got there. If they lied to me, that’s a different matter.

    • Aaron Styles

      Hey 2girls…

      Sorry we haven’t commented back at you. Were are pulling the old industry all nighter weekend making sure the new Earth911 V2.0 is ready to push live on Tuesday. I promise Em will get back to you as soon as we all get some sleep and the grey matter starts to work again.

      Aaron

    • Be Acccountable

      Just a thought: most people don’t know an environmental engineer nor have access to an environmental engineering firm, even if they could afford to contract for the services of one. However, most people who buy homes in new developments where the developer has pulled the proper city and or county permits in order to even begin to “scratch the dirt” would have a reasonable expectation that the developer has either a) consulted with one or more engineering firms – environmental, geophysical, geological and/or civil prior to purchasing the land under consideration for development – of any type; or b) been assured by city/county/state permitting officials that such land is appropriate for development prior to issuing building permits. If, after paying upwards of thousands of dollars for such permits, the adage “buyer beware” still applies, then for what purpose do developers and planning commissions even exist? The fact is, they DO exist and once permits are issued in exchange for money, a contract also exists. If a party enters into a contract without fully disclosing material facts, then that party SHOULD be held accountable. In no way does any of this exempt potential homeowners from doing their own “due diligence” and research. If one is serving as their own developer and building their own home, absolutely it would be imperative that engineering surveys be conducted, but to suggest “everyone” should hire an engineering firm prior to a home purchase in a development is just not realistic. Thank you.

      • 2girlsincollege

        I think it’s my cynical nature not to trust at first, so no, I do not trust the town and builders as to what materials make up the walls of my home (from China?) or what is in the dirt my house sits on. Most people are in it for the money. Quite a few years ago it became known in MA about how many homes were built on capped landfills (legally, just not advertised)…this happened when I was a teenager and it bothered me a lot. So when it came time to buy my own home, I did not hire an engineering firm, I called one and went in for a visit..for free. They were very helpful. I also began doing my own web searches (when the web was pretty raw) of any chemical spills in the area, etc. I think it was more of the cynic in me to try to do my best to see what was in the land..we hired a home inspector and I became our land inspector (for lack of a better term). I also measured by miles how far we were from any nuclear power plant in case of any major accident…(talk about cynical!)
        Developers exist to develop homes, they are not there to give you the good and bad of the property…same for town officials who want you to buy for tax income. Engineering feasibility studies for huge chemical spills, etc., absolutely show where not to build…but the “cool” stuff shows you which way chemicals leach and fall on the topography of your town…that is interesting..not illegal..just shows you where you DON’T want to be sitting when it rains.

        • Emerald Horizon

          2girlsincollege

          Quote: “Quite a few years ago it became known in MA about how many homes were built on capped landfills (legally, just not advertised)…this happened when I was a teenager and it bothered me a lot. So when it came time to buy my own home, I did not hire an engineering firm, I called one and went in for a visit..for free. They were very helpful. I also began doing my own web searches (when the web was pretty raw) of any chemical spills in the area, etc. I think it was more of the cynic in me to try to do my best to see what was in the land..we hired a home inspector and I became our land inspector (for lack of a better term). I also measured by miles how far we were from any nuclear power plant in case of any major accident…(talk about cynical!)”

          Yikes! Legal yet not advertised. That’s what so scary; as you said, people are in the business to make money. What you do after they’ve fulfilled their end of the bargain is your problem, not theirs.

      • Emerald Horizon

        Be Accountable,

        I agree with so much of what you’ve said. If we have all these government permits and requirements and people to go through in order to develop land or real estate, and we still have to perform due diligence on top of what they’ve done to make sure we’re in an okay position, what purpose do they serve? We might as well keep the money in our pockets, and use it for better purposes, like college funds or organic groceries. (GMOs are no joke.)

    • Emerald Horizon

      @2girlsincollege:disqus Hey! You’ve got a passionate opinion on consumers and homeowners taking responsibility for due diligence on their real estate. I agree everyone is responsible for knowing the environmental risks of living where they live – and nothing is ever truly safe from any danger – but when there’s a historic pattern of geological issues in a specific geographic region, I’d think a county would do better than to silently sweep the obvious dangers under the rug and do nothing. I think it means a lot that they considered buying out properties at one point; to me this means they were highly aware of the risks that area carried for residents who continued to call that area home.

  • Talfaus

    We have a saying in Chile: “Earthquakes do not kill people. Buildings do”.