Editorial Comment

We’ve been putting off getting involved in the debate (taking place in the comment section at the bottom of our fire news page and elsewhere) over the attitude of officials toward local residents. We expect there will be plenty of time to comment at length in the days to come. For now, we’re just going to say that here at Xasáuan Today we believe that one of the key privileges that comes with being an adult is the right to make one’s own decisions about the level of risk one is willing to accept. We also believe that we retain that right regardless of how others (including experts and government officials) feel about our decision. Unfortunately, this right is frequently under attack in an increasingly risk averse culture (there are even people who’ve told us we’re irresponsible to go into the wilderness without satellite phones and GPS units!).

Treating the people who defied the evacuation order as criminals (and we’re not just talking about people accused of using backfires to protect their homes) is, in our opinion, HIGHLY inappropriate. And the argument that this harassment is justified because these people might end up “getting in the way” is, frankly, pretty lame. If there’s room on the road for cops and media and others, there’s certainly room enough for a few local residents to use the road to come to each others’ aid or to travel to town for food and fuel. 

…. just our opinion.

First Posted on our Fire News page 7-6-08

2 Responses to Editorial Comment

  1. Paul Danielson says:

    I basically agree. To me it seems to fit best into the realm of “civil disobedience”. One looks at the dilemma of following one’s conscience or following a law that seems inappropriate or even unethical. Then once you make the decision to follow your conscience, you stand ready to accept the consequences of disobeying the law, but gladly, and with the hope that your witness will encourage steps toward changing that law or directive.

  2. John Dalessio says:

    Traveling to the aid of a neighbor is a basic right, but setting a fire in dry brush during the dry season is not. Risking one’s own life is a basic right, but risking the lives of others is not.

    We need to distinguish clearly humanitarian acts from those which might endanger others. Unnecessary restrictions on personal conduct has limits, and starting fires to save one’s own property without regard for the rights of others crosses that line.

    uh … we thought we did make that distinction – and quite explicitly – Xasauan Today

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