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Letter: Denial of crises in front of us is harmful

The Examiner

Jim Hannah, Independence

To the editor:

Shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, when there is no fire, is considered immoral – even illegal. But what about the failure to shout “Fire!” if the theater actually is on fire? In today’s topsy-turvy world of alternative values, that’s a worthy question.

Unprecedented wildfires, for instance, are raging in the West. And an unprecedented virus is raging nationwide. Millions of acres of charred forests and 215,000 COVID-19 deaths would seem irrefutable facts of deadly proportion. Yet truth climate-change deniers and COVID-19 deniers remain silent, as the skies darken from smoke and hearts darken with grief.

Incredibly, some deniers are not only silent, but make unmasked attempts to obfuscate and conceal reality, thereby spreading the flames. Yes, as a defense mechanism, denial has merit. It’s how we sometimes keep from being overwhelmed by imminent existential threats. But at some point the realities of global climate change and global pandemic will be at everyone’s doorstep.

There’s still time to face these “inconvenient truths” and take preventative measures to limit further devastation. But first we have to wake up and smell the smoke.

Then the responsible thing to do, for the common good, is shout “Fire!”