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It's too darn hot

It's really hot here in Philadelphia. It's hot all around the country.

In a recent article in Slate, Eric Klinenberg asks "Why don't Americans sweat over heat-wave deaths?" More Americans die from heat waves than all other natural disasters combined (including tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods).

The answer is simple: those who succumb to the heat are predominately old (without the physical strength to withstand the heat), poor (without the financial ability to pay for air conditioning), and scared (they stay inside their homes because they are scared to go outside into the crime filled streets of their neighborhoods).

The old, poor, and scared don't vote nor do they line the coffers of the major political parties. It's better political policy to make sure those who own hurricane-prone ocean-front property are well taken care of then elderly women in the Ida B. Wells housing project in Chicago. (Not to attempt to rhetorically minimize the pain engendered by hurricanes, but it is better politics).

Klinenberg notes that there are "simple and relatively inexpensive measures that could prevent future heat deaths," and that "it's just a question of whether we value the lives of poor city dwellers as much as the property of wealthy coastal developers."

I have another suggestion to add to Klinenberg's. When a heat wave rolls in, FEMA is called up. If it can respond to tornadoes and hurricanes, why not heat waves?


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