Oct 31, 2007

[News] California Fires Started By Boy

Flickr: Maddie Digital - the matches
the matches
by Maddie Digital.

What's the point of having all these informative mascots if we never listen to them? Doesn't that mean they're being largely ineffective? Today's failed messenger appears to be Smokey the Bear, who has been telling us for ages that we're the only ones who can stop wildfires.

The recent California wildfires had ravaged more than 2,000 homes with the Santa Ana winds just starting up for the season. The sad irony of things is that while the arson card was played early on as one of the possible causes for the wildfires, some of the worst ever in recent history, recent reports seem to indicate the fires may have been caused by a boy playing with matches.

The boy, whose age and name remain undisclosed, apparently confessed to the crime recently and the DA is still considering whether or not to press charges. I don't want to jump to conclusions just yet and depending on how young the boy is, perhaps this is just the case of an overactive imagination coupled with a guilty conscience that's causing him to believe his action was directly related. Although the sequence of events are closely linked, this could be a case of the logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc, which refers to someone linking two events because they happened in chronological order such as linking singing in the shower to rain that happens right after. As much as you want to stretch the possibilities of chaos theory to link two disaparate events, you just can't do that. I assume the fire investigators will still need to verify if the boy's actions were in fact related to the fires as a whole.

I'd hate to be that kid now - imagine the weight on his shoulders in terms of property damage and lives lost. I think that alone is enough punish, of course this depending on how old / mature he is.

With the ever-increasing population in the state of California, the seasons getting drier and drier and homes encroaching further and further into the wilderness, these fires are becoming almost unavoidable with the human impact growing with each new household. Something has to be done to curb the development or perhaps limit the growth to more secure areas to leave nature to its natural course of purging through fire.

In the meantime, someone better talk to Smokey about sending a stronger message. Maybe he needs to be buffer or perhaps better dressed - Smokey, put on a shirt!

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