Hey, you look like a smart kid. Which of these doesn't belong? Chinese Red Cross volunteers hauling the remains of a crumpled schoolhouse off a pile of 3rd graders? Heart wrenching. A lone fisherman trolling a flooded street in Indonesia, slowly clearing the water of floating dead? Terrible. A middle-aged white guy with thick calves and a Rolex using his Denali to tow a horse trailer away from his 6-bedroom ranch house in Calabasas as flames crest the hillside? Mildly enfuriating. Before the Santa Anas declare open season on the upper-middle class Southern California-wide once again, let's get it straight: Disasters everywhere are bad times, but wildfires are the only kind that exclusively affect people rich enough to live up against a National Wildlife Refuge. In spite of all the hoopla during their regularly scheduled seasons, almost nobody dies in even the most destructive of these things. Not surprisingly. We're dealing with an event that announces its approach over many hours in at least 3 of the 5 human senses. Sight, smell, television. The only survival instinct you need is the instinct of walking away. Or, barring that, riding away on an insurance-purchased fatty wagon.
Actually, no. The only people wildfires consistently manage to nab are firefighters. Which really means that these guys aren’t actually laying down their lives to save rich people, they’re dying in order to save rich people’s things. "Let us bow our heads to Battalion Chief Steeves, who bravely offered himself to the flames so that some 12-year-old named Hunter might not have to hassle with finding another Go-Ped on eBay, and trouble his father a second time to fish out a credit card and enter it into the site." Rich-o’s, if you really feel like collecting mad fire insurance at regular intervals is such a tragedy, move to Watts. I guarantee the only "wildfire" they’ve heard of down that way is the angry spray of bullets the local dealer will loose on your front door when Hunter starts shorting him on payments for his burgeoning dope habit.
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