This, I think, is the heart of the problem. Another important element
is that we live in a litigious society where people seem to think that
if they get hurt, it's someone else's fault.
Our legal system is based on common law, and the principle of "First, do
no harm." But, too many stupid people don't know how not to do harm. So,
we end up w/ a litany of laws designed to prevent people from doing harm
to their neighbors.
I think one solution would be for local gov't. to require a waiver from
people who want to build in the floodplain -- something to the effect of
an admission of a priori knowledge. Here's a first cut:
"I, Joe Blow, do hereby affirm that I have been informed my home at
123 Water Way is in a floodplain|hurricane path|tornado alley and I
do hereby release local, state, and federal government officials from
having to rescue my sorry ass when I'm inundated by flood waters, slammed
by a hurricane, or twisted by a tornado. I do further renounce any
expectation that the rest of society ought to bail my butt out and help
pay the recovery costs associated with the damage I suffer. Not withstanding
some dumb insurer who is willing to take a loss on my policy|policies, I
accept full and sole financial responsibility for any repairs which may
become necessary to my home and any other home or propery receiving explicit
damage as a direct result of my construction in this location. I hereby also
waive the right to file suit against any party involved in my construction
and/or future protection should a natural disaster deem it fitting to
damage or destroy my home at said location."
Now if this doesn't count as bizarre I don't know what does. We have been
getting rain from the remnants of Jeanne, and a few hours after I posted
this question, my niece came up from the basement and announced that we had
a swimming pool down there. Sure enough I went down and 3/4 of the basement
had a few inches of water in it. The weird thing was there was a
hissing/bubbling noise all around me. I checked for a leaking main, but it
was pretty apparent that the water had welled up from the sump. I can only
guess that the noise was either water flowing along the outside of the
foundation, or it was air and/or water being pushed through normal
settlement cracks in the foundation. I could also hear the sump making that
classic stalled electric motor hum, so I quickly opened up the well and
pulled the sump out. What I found was a load of construction debris (the
house is only a year old this month) jamming the impellers. I cleared that
mess and quickly got it back in the well and got it pumping. A friend, my
daughter, and my father in law all helped with the clean up. Fortunately I
have two wet vacs and they did a good job of cleaning up. I'm just glad
that I had decided to take this week off from work so I was here to handle
Here in Englewood on the west coast of Florida, we have been more than
lucky... times 4.
Charley passed just to the south of us. Frances to the north as did Jeanne
Nothing more to our place than a few small branches and a ton of pine
In helping the Red Cross in Punta Gorda I saw the devastation those poor
souls went through, but my heart is made heaviest by the plight of the many
migrant workers in the Arcadia area that are unlikely to receive the same
level of assistance that so many others have.
It is paradoxical that times like these bring out both the best and worst of
humanity... Many shoulder to shoulder working many hours to assist those in
And unfortunately the others, ripping people off with generators at three
times the going rate, stealing anything they can or selling stuff provided
by FEMA or the Red Cross for free.
I read of one household that wound up getting his entire roof tarped due to
a 4X4 size hole, causing many small leaks from the fasteners and FEMA
footing the bill which would have covered the cost of a complete re-roofing
(and the insurance people only want to cover the cost of fixing the original
Some people need to be dragged out and shot!
Maker of Fine Sawdust and Thin Shavings
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