Wednesday, September 04, 2013

"Screw you! I'm all right, Jack."

"It’s my business whether I sign it or not.” -Ken Burkhardt, Long Beach Township, New Jersey,  as quoted in The New York Times.

What the irate Mr. Burkhardt was huffing about was a request by the state of New Jersey to sign an easement that would allow dune construction on his property, to keep back floodwaters from a steadily rising ocean, protecting not only him, but also all his neighbors on the barrier island where he lives.

But no, Mr. Burkhardt, it's not just your own business. If you want to lose your home, feel free to call in a bulldozer and knock it down. But you have no right to knock down your neighbors' homes, and that is what you are tacitly doing when you try to prevent a dune wall that could save everyone from a flood.

This isn't just conjecture. The Times reports in the same article:
On the two barrier islands, the corps completed some dunes before Hurricane Sandy hit, and where there were dunes, the storm left relatively minor damage. Where there were not, homes — even many seemingly safely inland — were destroyed.
There was a time, Mr. Burkhardt, when neighbors looked out for neighbors. There was a time, Mr. Burkhardt, when Americans had a sense of decency that, among other things, placed the lives and property of their fellow citizens above your right to enjoy an unobstructed view of the ocean until such time as the ocean comes in and washes your home away – along with the homes of your hapless neighbors, who would would be better protected if you allowed the dune to be constructed.

Eventually, Mr. Burkhardt, the state will come in and exercise the right of eminent domain over your damned precious view. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy being a social pariah as much as you enjoy the sight of a breaking wave.

You are precisely what is wrong with this nation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Extremely well put. I can't understand how in this day and age someone can be so myopic...but I guess selfishness never goes out of style