On September 11, 2001, my mother called me freaking out and afraid that terrorists were going to fly airplanes into my apartment. I live 50 miles from the Pentagon, but for mom, that was still too close. She passed away in 2002 but would have lost her mind if she had seen the events of the D.C. Sniper which spread to my town later that year (and just a few miles from the apartment spared by al Qaeda). So, I know if she was still alive, and I was still living on Oahu, which is about 200 miles from the Kilauea Volcano, she’d still be worried red-hot molten lava would be flowing through my bedroom window.
Kilauea was erupting when I lived on Oahu in 1997-98. It’s been erupting since 1983. To put it in perspective, The Police released Every Breath You Take, toured the world, broke up, bickered for nearly three decades, reunited for another world tour, and broke up again during the time of Kilauea’s current eruption. Sting’s solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles was a larger tragedy than Kilauea.
The islands of Hawaii were created by volcanoes. The Big Island (how locals refer to island of Hawaii) has five volcanoes with three of them classified as active. Kilauea isn’t even the largest. The volcano’s eruption is changing the shape of the island by the minute, though the spots of eruptions and lava flows have fluctuated over the years. Last month, a new eruption started in lower Puna after a 5.0 earthquake. A 6.9 earthquake hit the next day, and 27 houses were destroyed within five days. Thankfully, no lives have been lost.
Hawaii knows how to take these things in stride. They’ve made a tourist attraction out of the erupting volcano.
All this brings an important question. Does the president know Hawaii is a part of the United States? It’s a good question because he was surprised to learn Puerto Rico was a part of our nation, that it’s an island, and islands are things surrounded by water. He once referred to the governor of the territory as the “president of Puerto Rico,” not realizing that he is the “president” of Puerto Rico.
I’m really glad Kilauea isn’t killing people yet, because Hawaii is also an island (several), and they too are surrounded by water (what a coincidence). And, there are a lot of dark people in Hawaii. My concern is that Trump would disregard a disaster there much in the same way he’s casually dismissed the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.
Trump believes Maria killed 64 people, which is somehow a great personal achievement for him that the toll was lower than hurricane deaths during other presidential administrations. The New York Times estimates the death toll at 1,065. Other researchers have put the number roughly at 4,600. But, math is hard. Trump is still trying to open that big envelope Kim Jong Un sent him.
Puerto Rico and Hawaii are obviously not shithole countries. But, I’m not sure they’ll continue to elude that designation…as long as Donald Trump remains president over them.
Watch me draw.
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