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February 25, 2013
America's Indifference to Pervasive Decay
After a visiting 21-year-old Canadian student named Elisa Lam was sadly discovered in one of the metal water towers on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, one guest, Sabina Baugh, a tourist from Britain, described the taste of the water as variously "horrible... funny, disgusting," and "strange," which means Sabina had been drinking it.
It took Elisa's body drying out at the mortuary for Baugh to finally admit "When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal." Sabina and husband Michael chalked up the tar-colored, nasty-tasting H2O to being "just the way it was here."
Weak water pressure and a flood in one room are what finally elicited complaints from a resident, leading a maintenance man to climb up on the roof, where he discovered the body of a woman missing for three weeks putrefying in one of the four water tanks.
The Director of Environmental Health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Angelo Bellomo, was called in and reported that the "recent cold weather might have limited bacteria production in the tank." That must have been a relief! In lieu of a morgue refrigerator, according to the public health department's implication, a drop in California temperatures cryogenically prevented bacterial reproduction in the water, thereby making it safe for human consumption.
According to Angelo, between 10 and 14 samples all supposedly came back "negative for fecal coliforms, and total coliforms," which makes one wonder why the Cecil 'Hotel California' has put a do-not-drink order in place while they flush the whole water system.
Nonetheless, reassured that the rooftop water tank that housed a decomposing dead body did not contain harmful bacteria, hotel patrons can relax in knowing they can soon go back to gargling, washing hotel linens, and freshening up just as they did prior to the shocking discovery.
LAPD Sergeant Rudy Lopez said that although foul play or an accident has not been ruled out, the cause of Lam's death is still uncertain. An accident? What, was Elisa headed toward Six Flags Magic Mountain and made a wrong turn on the roof?
Situated in close proximity to "Skid Row," the Cecil Hotel already has a history that's right up there in the hotel horrors competition. Serial killer Richard Ramierez, aka the "Night Stalker," stayed at the Cecil, as did notorious Austrian serial prostitute killer Johann 'Jack' Unterweger. There were also many murders and suicides committed there.
Now besides jumping deaths, cockroaches, and cigarette burns on the bed sheets, the Cecil can proudly add having guests unknowingly drink and bathe in a broth of decomposing flesh to their list of attractions. But the story here is not so much a mysterious death as it is the ghoulish reality that the hotel guests and residents, regardless of what public health officials are saying, were drinking water infused with tissue and bodily fluids from a rotting corpse.
What's even weirder than that is that for 2 weeks Elisa Lam floated in a 4 ft. x 8 ft. tank that supplied a "600 room boutique hotel" with water, and only one patron bothered to mention that what they were drinking tasted funny. Then, after the grisly discovery was made, rather than move out, many of the hotel occupants chose to stay.
The sorry truth here is that what happened in Los Angeles at the Cecil seems indicative of a larger problem endemic to America as a whole.
Unfortunately, although shocking to hear, it's not so hard to believe that there were Americans living in this hotel and soaking in bathtubs filled with liquefied remains of a dead cadaver and not noticing. It's also not hard to believe that it took not getting the foul water from the faucet fast enough for someone to complain, simply because they weren't able to instantly get more of what they shouldn't have been drinking in the first place.
This is America! Nuclear tanks are leaking in Washington State, drug-resistant TB is spreading amongst the poor in LA, mysterious bright lights are streaking across the night sky in diverse locations, and a multi-generational lunatic in North Korea is testing a nuclear bomb delivery system aimed at this country with nothing being done in response. In the meantime, as the country slowly rots from within, Americans are busily checking their iPhones for emails, reading Buzzfeed, preparing to fill up their gas tanks with $5-a-gallon gasoline, and drinking corpse-water in the Cecil Hotel as if nothing is going on.
And while what's taking place in America has nothing to do with dead women floating in water tanks, in a way the situation is similar, because most Americans can discern that something is very wrong but go about their business as if everything is fine. In fact, when the nation was presented with an opportunity to fish the metaphorical corpse out of the tank and drain the water in November, Barack Obama was reelected.
More so with each passing day, much like the pipes in the Cecil Hotel, the nation is in dire need of a good flushing out. Yet there is no one willing to take the bold step needed to politically cleanse Washington DC of all the rotten politicians who've been floating too long in positions of power. Therefore, for lack of anything else, Americans are being force-fed the special Kool-Aid that Barack Obama continues to mix into the vile water he's responsible for creating. What's shocking is that there are still some who hungrily slurp it down like it's the nectar of the gods.
So while the story about the guests at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles bathing and drinking water from a rooftop tank with a decomposing body floating in it has to be, bar none, the most disgusting, disturbing, tragic story of the year, the decomposition of America is far worse.
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