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Denial makes you senile 

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Houston and the surrounding coastal areas of Texas are drowning thanks to Hurricane Harvey, which very well could be the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Louisiana's next.

Western Montana's forests have been burning for months.

California is in the middle of a crazy heat wave that's supposed to end with thunderstorms in the mountain areas. Fire season is in full swing.

Why, in the name of everything that's environmental, are we still debating climate change? It doesn't care about your political beliefs. It's something you are actually experiencing right now, Al Fonzi. You—the "conservative" columnist for this paper—for some reason I can't possibly fathom, don't believe climate change is all that scientists have said it is.

Even the scientific facts you pull to support your arguments, such as the one about polar bears this week ("Look through the telescope," page 20), are part of a bigger explanation that talks about—drumroll please—CLIMATE CHANGE! You only use a sliver of the polar bear package presented by expert Susan Crockford, who's written several books about the species and its growing population.

One of her books is titled Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change. It almost seems blasphemous that you would take facts she's spent years studying and understanding and use them to support an argument that she wouldn't make! It's almost like winning the argument is more important than the actual facts.

And because of your unwavering belief that you can interpret scientific facts better and more correctly than the actual scientists, people like you will continue to stagnate the conversation about the best way to deal with threats from climate change. For example: floods that severely damage one of the most populated cities in the U.S.

Did you know Santa Barbara County is hosting a series of public workshops to try and address the effects that rising sea levels will have on the county's shorelines as part of the county's Coastal Resiliency Project? Do you think that should happen in SLO County, where thousands of people live in the coastal zone? Well, as long as the SLO County Board of Supervisors is made up of a majority of politicians who'd like to ignore climate change, it's never going to happen. If we could find a way to convert all that denial into an energy source, we could ditch fossil fuels!

Speaking of partisan craziness, threats of violence—and actual violence—over political and social beliefs are on the rise in the United States of America. Blame the media if you want to, but we don't create the events. Our job is to cover them ad nauseam until you pull your head out of your ass and finally pay attention.

Racism is yet again starting to show itself in a way that can no longer be ignored (Wonder when that will finally happen with the climate? After we lose our ritziest coastal cities?). Racism didn't go away after the Civil War or after the Civil Rights act was passed 100 years later. It's never gone anywhere.

And the fight to snuff it out is up against an enemy who's not afraid to use or threaten violence as a combatant. Yes, we live in a country where speech is as free as a naked man at Pirate's Cove (Why is it always a middle-aged white dude?). But there are limits. Exposing yourself on Higuera Street, for instance, can get you arrested. Using your words to incite or threaten violence can also get you arrested.

That red line may be too far away for some people, but it does exist.

And fanatics like the recently arrested racist, tree-hugging (I know, I don't get it either), 45-year-old professional lawn mower Daniel Joshua Phares are really putting it to the test. This middle-aged white dude from SLO has been in this column before. It was only four months ago. He posted an angry Facebook comment about an April 27 New Times story about Muslims in SLO County.

He apparently doesn't like them. He advocates for "the destruction of all mosques" on his Facebook page, calling it a "moral imperative." And he apparently doesn't like liberals, either, who he said deserve "to be dragged out of their homes and shot." Not white or "pretty"? He thinks "militarized cops" should "relentlessly harass mixed race and mixed attractiveness couples" and "generate rivers of blood from every lowlife ghetto."


But those posts aren't why he was arrested. Those only "kind of condoned violence," according to SLOPD Sgt. Chad Pfaar. They weren't specific enough.

Phares was arrested for something he posted (it's since been deleted) on the Facebook event page for the peaceful Outshine the Darkness vigil organized on Aug. 14 in support of victims of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virgina.

He threatened the event's organizers, Women's March SLO and the Democrats of San Luis Obispo. According to McKinley Bruckner from Cal Poly's Students for Quality Education, the post said something like, "I'm going to kill you all and make you like it."

Red line, alert! Phares allegedly crossed over to the other side, got arrested, and is now charged with a misdemeanor. Just another angry, social-media ranting, middle-aged dude with white guy problems and his head up his own ass. If only we had the luxury of denying their existence, maybe Donald Trump wouldn't be president. Δ

The Shredder is in denial about his writing ability. Send comments to


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