Gary Southern has had a long day. Freedom means this matters. Gary Southern is thirsty. Freedom means he has water. Human beings need water, constantly, always, and desperately. Without water, people die. Without water to wash in, people become dirty hillbillies, whose water can be poisoned. Freedom means you can tell nine counties in West Virginia not to use their water for a while, not if they want to not drink and wash in poison.
Freedom means Gary Southern is “not in the business of producing drinking water.”
What happens when you tell 100,000 people to choose not to use their water supply? Freedom means that it’s their fault when a lot of them choose to use their water. Freedom means choice.
Maybe the number will choose to be as high as 300,000. Maybe higher.
Freedom means that the Elk runs into the Kanawha, and the Kanawha runs into the Ohio, and the Ohio runs into the Mississippi.
Freedom means that anyone can choose to live downstream. Freedom means that everyone must choose to live downstream.
The West Virginia American Water Company has advised residents of nine state counties not to drink or bathe in their running water. “I can’t tell you that the water is unsafe, but I also can’t tell you it’s safe.” Freedom means no one can tell you whether or not to drink the water. Freedom means you can choose.
Freedom means that little is known about the safety implications for 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, according to the state’s Poison Control director Dr. Elizabeth Scharman. Freedom means that it hasn’t been adequately studied.
Freedom means that the Material Safety Data Sheet, mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and provided by the chemical’s manufacturer, says, “No specific information is available in our data base regarding the toxic effects of this material for humans.”
Freedom means this happens constantly, a little bit. Freedom means sometimes it happens a great deal.
We have more questions. But Freedom means we’re done.