In closing, a bit of local news: the frackers are coming! The frackers are coming!
Apparently, about two-thirds of Tennessee is frackable, and the energy vampires want their gas fix now. Get ready to kiss peace, quiet, and clean air and water in the countryside around Nashville good-bye.
Most of the state’s “conservation” groups–the Harpeth River Watershed Association, the Tennessee Clean Water Network, Tennessee Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club–are attempting to strike a deal with the devil by merely pushing for tighter regulation of fracking by the so-called “Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation.”
That’s a worthy goal, in its way. TDEC’s proposed fracking regulations are remarkably lax, and would undoubtedly result in irreparable damage to Tennessee’s abundance of groundwater, as well as the delightful, healing rural ambiance still to be found in much of this beautiful state. But I have a problem with all these groups’ stance on fracking. I don’t think it should be allowed at all. Science has made it quite clear that we need to reduce, not increase, our use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels, such as natural gas, for the simple reason that continuing our extreme dependence on these substances is destroying the planet’s ability to support us, as well as most of the other life forms with which we are currently sharing the planet. (And sure, burning natural gas creates less CO2 than burning coal, but, in this case, “less” is still “too much.”)
Let me state that another way: those who extract fossil fuels–the management and labor forces of the coal and oil industries–are mass murderers, and their target is all of us. Really, it’s a Jonestown situation, because they will kill themselves by their actions, as well, but there isn’t much difference between being murdered by a merely homicidal maniac and being murdered by a maniac who is also suicidal.
I wondered–could Tennessee’s “stand your ground” law be used to justify killing the frackers and coal miners who are threatening us? I did a little research, and found that Tennessee’s version of “stand Your Ground” is fairly narrowly drawn, and only gives citizens license to kill those who have entered your home, business, or vehicle. Florida’s “stand your ground” law, on the other hand, permits use of deadly force in any situation where you believe the person you kill is willing and able to use deadly force on you. So maybe those who are destroying the planet had better watch their backs in Florida, but in Tennessee, all they have to do is stay out of the homes and businesses of people who understand the hugeness of their crimes.
I also wondered–“Where are the people who will go to extreme lengths ‘to protect the rights of the unborn’ on this issue, since these corporate mass murderers are planning to take the lives not merely of unwanted children, but of those whose parents would be happy to raise them–and their parents as well? Why limit yourselves to bombing abortion clinics–the retail level– when oil companies are laying the groundwork for wholesale fetus killing?
I’m getting a bit rhetorical here. Please, everybody, don’t bomb the oil companies. I think I need to make it very clear at this point that I do not think that deadly force, nonlethal violence, or intimidation of other human beings is inappropriate under most circumstances.. I am also aware, however, that my level ofpacifism puts me in a small minority of the population.
Killing “corporate persons” is another matter, however.
Meanwhile, most people’s image of “mass murderer” remains a young, crazy, gunman like the poor kids who opened fire at Columbine, or the University of Virginia, or, most lately, in a movie theater in Colorado. These loonies are small potatoes compared to the oil company executives who employ thousands and spend millions to pursue schemes that will kill billions.
There was a big upsurge in gun sales after the Colorado killings as people whose fear of their fellow proles was turned up several notches sought to “protect themselves,” but the real mass murderers are still quite safe, it seems. They are the subject of admiring feature articles and TV shows. Politicians curry their favor and kowtow to them as “job creators.” They are creating jobs building the scaffold and weaving the rope that will hang the workers they are hiring. They are reasonably prudent people, it seems–they spend some of their vast wealth insuring their own security, insulating themselves from anyone who might realize that they are world-class mass murderer, and attempt to mete out vigilante justice. Again, I don’t think there is anything to be gained by killing anyone. As long as a person is alive and not too filled with resentment and fear, there is a chance that he or she will understand our collective situation, undergo a Pauline conversion to sanity and unselfishness, and put their brains and resources to work undoing the damage they have caused.
But I’m also aware of physicist Max Planck’s observation that most people don’t give up their paradigm, that paradigm change happens mostly as the “old believers” die and are replaced by a new generation with a fresher understanding. Can the planet wait that long? I certainly hope so.