Monday, June 13, 2011

empathy or sympathy

<$BlogMetaData$> this weeks article is controversial to the point that the paper would not print it. i tell it like it is, and i always tell the truth. the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. i make no excuses. if you don't like what i write i appreciate the comments, but that doesn't change anything. it is what it is.

June 15th, 2011

Empathy or Sympathy

Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sentient or semi-sentient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion

Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Sympathy not only includes empathizing, but also entails having a positive regard or a non-fleeting concern for the other person.

The people in the southern part of the county are experiencing a horrendous situation right now with the flooding of the Missouri River. The county’s personnel, state’s reserves and National Guard has responded admirably in supporting the attempt to save ones possessions and stop further destruction by building the levee to hold back the floodwaters.

I’m sure there will be lawsuits in the courts for many years to come, and we may never actually learn the reason for the floods. Here is where the empathy or sympathy steps in. I have empathy for the people who have lost their worldly possessions. Things can be replaced. I have no sympathy for the people along the river. It might be okay to have a cabin along the river to enjoy the ambiance it offers, but your permanent home? Not a chance. Why anyone would build on a floodplain is way way way beyond my comprehension. And don’t give me any of this “I didn’t know this was as flood plain” talk either. When you can stand on a banks of the river in what was once blow sand and cottonwoods and not know this area is not a good place to live is pure ignorance on their part. I certainly have no compassion for their situation either. This is a case of pure and simple stupidity.

When one looks back at the process that brought the dunes to life, the blame can be laid squarely on the planning and zoning commission and the county commissioners. I believe the dunes was developed by Midwest Energy. They went to the planning and zoning and I’m sure they sweettalked the commissioners into believing this was the cow that laid the golden egg. Think of the tax base this would build for the county? Think how beautiful this area would be to draw people to live in the county. Think what a legacy you will leave for future generations in the state, and think how this will enrich your lives.

Stupid is, stupid does. There is no way the planning and zoning should have allowed this area of the county to be rezoned into a planned development. There was a reason this area was never farmed or occupied by housing. THE RIVER FLOODS! It may not flood every year, but if there isn’t enough dirt on the dunes to grow crops, there sure as hell isn’t enough solid ground to support housing. The silt and sand washes with the will of the river. One might be able to make it work for awhile, but eventually the river will have its will. And will it did. Or it is in the process of turning the dunes back to what it was; hills of sand and silt and cottonwoods.

The cost of building levees to hold back the flooding is costly. Before a spade of dirt was put down, Governor Daugaard pledged $5 million immediately and another $5 million if they need it. If they need it? They are going to go through that $10 million like crap through a goose. This is going to cost BIG BUCKS before it is over. I haven’t been down there to see the carnage, but I have talked to people who have, and I seriously doubt the dunes will ever be what it was before. The infrastructure will literally be gone. They are sandbagging and building levees to keep the water out, but this will also keep the water in. Groundwater will be lying around for months, and even longer. The water is going to stagnate and stink. It will be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and anything else that comes along. It isn’t going to be a pretty sight.

I imagine that with the loss of houses, the people that owned them will walk away from them because they will owe much much more than the house will be worth. When the flood is over and everything is cleaned up, the banks will move in. what was once a $500,000 home will now be worth about $200,000 and who in their right mind would buy a home in an area that had just experienced not a 100 year flood, but a 500 year flood. Who is to say this won’t happen again in a person’s lifetime? Who is to say this won’t happen on a yearly basis?

If the planning and zoning grant building permits for anything in the future of the dunes they have lost what little minds they have left. They should deny any effort to rebuild because we the taxpayers cannot afford to support them. People said when this flood happened, 25% of the tax base in the county was lost. If that is the case, you can kiss any road repairs or infrastructure repairs goodbye because you have reached the tipping point on how much blood you can get out of the stones that are left.

This mess is going to take a long time to clean up and what is left after all the debris is gone isn’t going to be pretty. So, what is it you have for the people on the river, empathy, sympathy or nothing at all?

To put all this in perspective to our fight with Hyperion, is the shoe now on the other foot?


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