It's been more than a week, and still my mind ricochets from outrage to gratitude to gape-mouthed stupefaction and back to outrage.
Outrage, obviously that Freedom Industries, wearing its laissez-faire attitude on its sleeve, letterhead and leaky tank, interferes with the freedom of everyone else -- the freedom to go about one's business, make a living, attend school, meet first-quarter goals, drink the water, stuff like that.
Gratitude for living among people who mostly share, who use good sense and caution during an emergency, who carry on, mostly patiently, and who do their best to follow directions for the good of everyone. And for all the blessings I've been counting this week.
As for stupefaction, where to begin? Not the lack of a plan for how to handle thousands of gallons of a coal-washing chemical spilling into the water supply. Not the lack of a complete chemical inventory and safety precaution routine, despite repeated suggestions and requests for such a thing. Nah. Earnest warnings from knowledgeable people during non-emergencies are routinely ignored.
What leaves me speechless is the full-out thickness of people who should know better after the danger is perceived. For example, why wait three days after telling people to resume using their water to warn off pregnant women?
Or how about the dullard who thought it would be a good idea to refill bulk water distribution tanks from the restored but still smelly water supply? When do we start doing things in the right order?
Which brings me back to outrage. Or just rage.
That's when I saw state Sen. John Unger, D-Jefferson, working an interesting combination of pastoral care and legislation. This is not hopeless, he says.
"It's not!" he insisted to me this week. "We're blessed!"