You should still be angry about Flint, Michigan

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Contributor Jeff Turner urges people to pay attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Jeff Turner

The water in Flint, Michigan has registered at normal lead levels for months now, experts say. The wounds have still not healed as Gov. Rick Snyder prepares to cut the bottled water program, which allows Flint to still have clean water while their actual water was not.

This all began when Snyder chose to switch Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, citing budgetary concerns. John and Jackie Pemberton, who had lived in Flint for decades, spoke of stomach problems, lost hair and developing rashes. This was felt across the town, according to Fivethirtyeight.

There are several bad choices that the Michigan Department of Environment Quality made that led to further damage. They chose to not press the Flint water plant to use corrosion control, which was in defiance of federal guidelines. They had also thrown out samples that had put samples at above 10 percent of what’s dubbed “actionable lead.” Looking at these samples could have allowed a warning for Flint residents in the summer or earlier. Instead, people are dead. Kids have brain damage, which they will have for the rest of their lives.

At least Snyder got to save some money.

Evidence was present that there were problems in Flint in the winter of 2014, but a state of emergency wasn’t declared until Fall of 2015. The problems were public knowledge and there was fuss, but no state of emergency. CBS News talks about the long-term problems, saying that this will lead to lower IQ scores and remedial education. There’s speculation that this may not be permanent, but that’s weak consolation.

An option available for those interested in donating to Flint to aid in the recovery can go to the Flint Child Health and Development fund currently being run by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. They have raised over 19 million in funds and promise continuous care to the children affected by lead, especially those from ages zero to six.

There have been convictions, including many major department heads and Michigan’s chief medical executive. This was a Watergate-tier scandal in regards to damage done. The government is not adequate when it cannot be trusted with handling these essentials. The sheer magnitude of the incompetence in the Michigan government cannot be understated. All the same, no charges will be brought before Snyder. He has not resigned and has refused to suspend two major directors in Health and Human Services who are facing charges due to how they handled Flint. This is willful.

A government just poisoned its citizens on our own shores. It was through incompetence and those in power have largely suffered no consequences. Snyder finishes his term in January, with a lovely pension. Get mad, again. Get furious.