Curtis’ comments insensitive to families evacuated by fires

Nicole Sharp

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It can be said that last week, southern California was ablaze. The twelve fires that burned the bottom half of the state destroyed over half of a million acres. Many people were forced to evacuate, leaving homes and valuables behind. Pictures of the devastation show many neighborhoods with only one or two homes untouched on a cul-de-sac of around a dozen homes. These fires affected many people, including celebrities such as Mel Gibson and Olivia Newton-John.

One celebrity that was more than willing to vocalize her opinion on the fire was Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis has a long film career; her most famous role was in “Halloween.” She is also known for her active role in charities.

At a women’s empowerment conference in Long Beach, Curtis was a keynote speaker. She opened her speech by holding up the front page of the L.A. Times, showing the image of the fires. She went on to blame “man” for the cause of the fires.

“We live in Southern California, we build houses where we shouldn’t build them, we’re living in the worst drought this country’s ever had and we pretend that we’re not and we water our lawns, talk about ultimate denial,” Curtis said.

“We’ve done this, we’ve created all of this,” she said. “This isn’t an act of God, this is an act of man.”

These fires were an act of Mother Nature. One of the fires in San Diego County was caused by downed power lines from the strong winds. The cause of the strong winds? Mother Nature. Everyday, southern California is on watch for fires. Yes, it is a dry place. It doesn’t get that much rain. It is southern California, after all.

I do realize that some of the fires were have said to have been set by arsonists. But we can only do so much to those people with the legal system.

Curtis blames the fact that our homes are built too close to each other. On what grounds is that true? What statistic or survey has shown that it is true?

While she sat comfortably at the conference, there were other people who were wondering if they even had a home to go to. Families wondered where their next meal was going to come from. Thousands of families spent several nights asleep on the concrete floors of Qualcomm Stadium. What did Curtis do? Probably went home to her nice, un-singed home. At least she had a home to go home to.

When a person evacuates or flees their home because of a fire, they aren’t really concerned on what caused it. They are more concerned about making sure that their homes, their family heirlooms, their children’s lives, and their own beings are safe from wall of fire that could be coming their way.

As a person who has evacuated several times, I’m not too concerned about how close my house is to my neighbors’. I am more concerned about whether I can see the flames creeping over the hills towards my home.

In 2003, San Diego had a fire that started in the mountains and by mid afternoon it had reached halfway to the ocean, 30 miles away. In that fire, I had to evacuate twice. It was one of the rare times that I actually feared for my life. I thought that my little city of Santee was engulfed in fire. I felt that there was not way out.

When the fires flared up this time, I was 150 miles away from. I had to sit by and watch and listen for any news about friends, family and my neighborhood. All fared well in the end, but I felt helpless as I watched familiar areas now burnt beyond recognition.

Curtis’ opinion only irked me because I have never heard of her running from her home in a fire. She blames “man” for the cause. Well, what she hasn’t given an opinion on was how “man” donated millions of dollars to help those who were affected by the fire. What is her opinion on that?

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