You know what strikes fear in people's hearts? It's not white supremacists, it's not rising fascism or even the zombie apocalypse. Oh, no. It's your voice—your opinion—and how dare you express it. We, like everyone else, are talking about the inland port protests. You know, the noisy ones where someone was accused of peeing in an office and our blushing Gov. Gary Herbert ranted about "borderline terrorism." The unedited YouTube version of the protest was exhausting, what with all the screaming. But no, that didn't make the point. Terrorism? Wait. Let's talk about the attacks on a black church, on a synagogue—deadly stuff. This doesn't "border" that. The pee? Facebook commenters have lots of theories—a setup, or someone emptying a water bottle, or pee. In case you still don't get the point, it's not to close the doors.
At least there's discussion. Of course, it's not in official meetings of the so-called inland port board. It's online at nextdoor.com. While talk sometimes veers into disagreement, Nextdoor's members are fiercely protective of the site's non-political mission. Enter the inland port demonstrations. Here, the talk was about "Wearing masks in public." In other words, it's about Antifa and the growing fear of the loose and secretive anti-fascist cabal. While Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke says he'll look into other cities' laws, many neighbors chimed in that they don't want government telling them what to wear. Best comment among the dozens who had opinions: "Assaulting someone is against the law. Wearing a mask is not against the law. What happens when a group of people wearing Hawaiian shorts protest and assault people ... do we make wearing Hawaiian shorts illegal?" Maybe they should ask if Tiki torches should be banned.
Soak It Up
That last gasp of air is hard to give up. That's the way it is with the extractive industries. There must be more we can soak up from the ground. Besides the effect on the air and land, there's the sticky water issue in dry Utah. Most of it goes to agriculture, some goes to California and now some might go to a fracking project in Kane County. Because there is money involved, Kane has become the poster child for leasing water rights. It leased to the water-guzzling Blue Castle-Green River nuclear project and now wants to lease to a start-up mining company, according to a KUER 90.1 FM story. Despite pushback, the Kane County Planning Commission gave the go-ahead while awaiting other approvals. Residents are concerned it will deplete the aquifer. No one yet has mentioned the earthquakes that often accompany fracking.