Even though you like yellow roses, you are (and seem determined to remain) a red state. You know who you are and that’s a bible-thumping, state-flag-waving, big-government hating, free-market-loving, regulation-slashing, secession-minded group of Republican cowboys.
I’m cool with that.
You believe in the second amendment but not the first, think prayers and guns should be let into schools but critical thinking skills kept out, and that businesses don’t need to be regulated because as conscientious citizens they will self-regulate.
Your elected officials believe victims of Hurricane Sandy should fend for themselves because that’s what states’ rights, local control, and personal responsibility are all about. Because real liberty means we all must live with the consequences of our choices and if you choose to live in a godless place like New York or New Jersey, when you get devastated by a hurricane of biblical proportions, that’s just the result of your choice (and possibly ordained by God who hates liberals and anybody who isn’t Texan but most especially the heretics who live in places that let gay people marry) and you should pull up your bootstraps and not expect a handout from honest, hard-working people who don’t believe in handouts.
Unless the victims are god-fearing Texans.
Which happened recently when one of those self-regulated businesses blew up, taking a large part of a small Texas town and its residents with it.
After which two Republicans who voted against federal aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy asked for federal aid for the victims in West, Texas.
A request also made by “Lone Star” state Governor Rick Perry who announced that Texas believes in independence in everything but receiving federal tax dollars.
“But we as a nation can’t turn our backs on such terrible suffering” you might say and you are probably right, even if part of the suffering might be because that same governor made so many “business friendly” decisions and, among other choices, reduced oversight and slashed funding to volunteer fire departments – while giving hefty tax cuts to private corporations.
And that West Fertilizer Company (which owns the plant that exploded) is a private corporation.
Which had been storing 1,350 times the amount of explosive ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). But which did not report the potentially explosive fertilizer as it was required to do.
Perhaps because it had a “risk management plan” that said “the company did not believe it was storing or handling any flammable substances and didn’t list fire or an explosion as a danger.”
The same plan that listed the “worst-case scenario” as an “accidental release of [gaseous] anhydrous ammonia.”
The same plan that said “there was no risk of fire or explosion.”
The same plan that “did not cite a possible explosion of ammonium nitrate.”
In a plant that had “no sprinklers. No firewalls. No water deluge systems” or any other safety mechanisms installed.
In a plant that hadn’t been inspected by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration since 1985.
The plant that was storing 270 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate fertilizer that should have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security but was not.
So that the volunteer firefighters had no idea they were fighting a fire that could – and did – turn into a massive fireball capable of flattening buildings for blocks in every direction. While they were at the epicenter of that explosion instead of a safe distance away.
Which is why, Texas, I have to ask: shouldn’t this be something your fabled “free market” will resolve to everyone’s satisfaction? With the self-regulating company liable for all the damages and loss of life?
Because, in keeping with your dearly beloved GOP principles, when a private company blows up a town, shouldn’t the private company pay for it? And be held personally – maybe even criminally – responsible?
Isn’t that what a big-government hating, free-market-loving, regulation-slashing, secession-minded group of Republican cowboys would really want?
Thank you and I look forward to your prompt response.