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JONESIE: When it comes to fire, how do you fix stupid?

July 14, 2014 - 5:09 AM

Oh, what I wanted to do to this guy.

Waiting at a light in traffic, I watched him, waited to see if he’d do it and he didn’t disappoint. Smoke billowing out the windows of his SUV, he took one last drag of his cigarillo and casually dropped it, still smoking to the street. It sounded like a bug hitting the windshield.

For just a moment, I considered getting out of my vehicle and throwing that butt right back where it belonged—back into his truck. I considered dousing it—and him—with my iced tea. I considered blaring my horn and calling him out. And I’m not really sure why I didn’t. Instead, as the light turned green, I rolled over and crushed the embers and let him go his way.

Who still does that? Well, through his mirror, I could see the face of stupidity: bald head, white moustache. Old enough to darn well know better. A woman was in the passenger seat; she appeared to be smoking too and pretty sure hers was headed to the same place. If there were an ashtray in the vehicle, he’d have used it. I kind of expected Alberta plates but no, they were B.C. plates—in fact, even better, the special Olympic plates boasting B.C. as The Best Place on Earth. 

Indeed. The Best Place on Earth after weeks of glorious sunshine, not a spot of rain and near-record high temperatures. Fire is not a theoretical predicted risk like an earthquake. We’ve seen enough of them throughout the interior. We know precisely what happens when you throw that thing out the window. We know it will light a fire that can grow and threaten homes. We know the incredible cost of fighting fires in Beautiful B.C. and the immense risk those firefighters take to meet that challenge.

And this dude just tosses fire out the window.

I don’t know what’s worse: The careless or the deliberate. In Vernon, some anonymous emasculated reject is running around setting fires, perhaps more than 20 already, likely including a massive blaze that destroyed the grandstands at the Kin Race Track last week. Clearly this is a person with serious issues and all our bleating and hollering isn’t going to make him stop… unless we can make his mother love him or explain why girls won’t date him or fix the kink in his own fire hose. No public service messages are going to reach this guy. He just needs to be locked up. If he thinks lighting fires makes him powerful, prison will put him back in order.

But how do you reach the careless, casual idiot? B.C. Wildfire has an elite, special attack crew of dozens of people but they don't put out fire. They're there just to tell you what you should know already. Put out your damn campfire. Yes, the muffler on your old Yamaha really can ignite dry grass. Pick up your bottles. Give a damn.

Unfortunately, stupidity is in great supply and those communications people will be employed forever. And yet those are still somewhat forgivable examples in my mind.

But I’m stumped about this one. What will it take for this guy to get the message? I know he’s not the only one—he’s not even the only one I’ve seen this week. You’ve seen them—what do you do?

— Marshall Jones is the editor of IN News.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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