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When silence is not golden

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 nation-wide.

Millions of acres of charred forests and 210,000 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 a 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 preventive 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!”

—This letter by Jim Hannah to the editor of the Independence Examiner is reprinted with permission.

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