New York Times columnist and author Timothy Egan takes issue with those who say that tragedies like the Oso, Washington mudslide are "completely unforeseen" or Acts of God, an event outside of human control.
In fact, there were studies that said that this was likely to happen, and that the logging of old growth timber (which has roots that hold the ground it place) exacerbated the problem. But when it comes to private property rights in America, real estate development near the Stillaguamish river or the opportunity to log on top of the ridge, those studies get ignored, there's money to be made. And nobody in America believes scientists anyway. Egan writes:
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Yes, but who wants to listen to warnings by pesky scientists, to pay heed to predictions by environmental nags, or allow an intrusive government to limit private property rights? That’s how these issues get cast. And that’s why reports like the ones done on the Stillaguamish get shelved. The people living near Oso say nobody ever informed them of the past predictions.