Through action and inaction, Hawaiian bureaucrats helped clear land in Maui

When you look at what happened in Hawaii, one of the things that stands out is that government agencies acted or refrained from acting in ways that were almost certain to speed Lahaina's destruction and end people's ties to the land (and their lives).  If you have a cynical, suspicious mind, it's remarkably easy to believe that this wasn't mere bureaucratic incompetence.

The wildfire that broke out on the outskirts of the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 8 destroyed some 2,200 homes, burned alive at least 114 people, including children, and displaced some 5,000 or more.

Although the exact cause of the fire is not yet established, it is now well known and documented that the government took four critical actions (or refrained from acting) in the lead-up to the fire's destruction:

(1) The fire crews who were initially called to the fire declared that it was "100 percent contained," although it was still burning.

One must ask who called them off.  Surely the firefighters knew that the blaze was still alive.

(2) Because of the risk of tsunamis, Hawaii has a vast network of emergency sirens.  However, the local government silenced approximately 80 emergency sirens in the area.  These sirens were never sounded as the fire drew near.

Image: Fire in Maui.  YouTube screen grab.

(3) A government official who had spoken in the past about the importance of water equity refused for some five hours to release extra water to firefighters.  He felt he first needed to consult with a farmer about water diversion. 

(4) Local government officials blocked the only paved road out of the fire area.  People were burned to death in their cars while waiting in line to leave the area.

This would appear to be a perfect storm of government incompetence.  Or was it incompetence?  Cui bono?  Who benefits?  Follow the money.  The 2,200 homes that occupied that land are now ashes.  The land only awaits bulldozers to finish clearing the land.  Here come the developers.

Were these four actions merely unintended accidents?  Is this the inevitable endpoint of an all-controlling bureaucracy made up of people with massive power, no individual responsibility, and little fear of consequences?  Let a jury decide.  That jury will likely be instructed that the law presumes that a person intends the natural and probable consequences of his acts.

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