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Michelle Close Mills

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Member Since: May, 2004

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The Finger of God
By Michelle Close Mills
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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If we don't listen...

The other night my husband and I got into a discussion about the Gulf Oil Spill. Like most coastal residents, it’s something we talk about a lot.

He: I pray that God will reach down and put His finger into that pipe and plug the leak.

Me: That would be nice honey, but I think it's unlikely.

He: Why would you say that? Haven’t you ever heard of miracles?

Me: Yes of course, but are we deserving of one?

I’ve pondered that last question a lot over the past couple of days.

A few years ago, a barrel of crude oil shot up to over $140 per gallon. Everyone was feeling the pain; truckers, companies using shipping services, airlines, the regular Joe trying to fill his car with gas. I worked with a girl who cut out one meal a day so she could afford to get back and forth to work. And if we bought plastic, we bought petroleum. Any way you looked at it, we were screwed coming and going.

As much as I love Mother Nature, I have to admit I wasn’t thinking much about her when I was paying $4.32 per gallon of 87 grade gasoline. Like so many others, I wanted OPEC out of our lives. They were killing us.

I couldn’t understand why our country wasn’t tapping into the energy reserves on this side of the globe. I was convinced we shouldn’t have to roll over and take what OPEC was doling out. There were vast oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, as well as increased interest in the Alberta oil sands of Canada. The United States should be utilizing them.

I wasn't alone.

However in the midst of discussions about what to do or not do, we tuned out environmentalists who repeatedly warned us that offshore drilling was tantamount to disaster.

Though no one liked oil companies, I never believed any one of them would be stupid enough to allow a blow out in the Gulf, or even tempt one. These guys were pumping MONEY out of the earth; and lots of it. Considering how greedy the oil industry had always been, I had no reason to suppose that they wouldn’t protect their bottom line at any cost.

On April 20, 2010 I found out how wrong I was. We all did.

My grandfather used to say "If you won't listen, you're going to have to feel."

Since the BP spill, I’ve done nothing BUT feel; guilt, anger, agonizing over the fates of innocent wildlife that are dying needlessly.

Although we’re quick to blame BP and rightly so, they’re not the only Gulf polluters. They’re just the most obvious.

After some sleuthing I was able to confirm what I'd suspected for many years; the Deepwater Horizon blowout is basically sludge flavored frosting slathered on top of a very soiled cake.

The Gulf of Mexico has been a watery junkyard for decades; ships throw stuff overboard that they don’t want to haul such as garbage, chemicals. Sarasota law enforcement dumped guns out there for more than thirty years; sometimes as many as 200 weapons per month. And the United States military has been discarding unexploded projectiles, bombs and chemical artillery out there since 1946.

Many of us hadn’t even been born yet.

However the most disturbing to me was an incident in 2003 when the EPA authorized dumping of "treated waste water" from an abandoned phosphate plant at Piney Point, along Tampa Bay. The plant's owners declared bankruptcy and took off for parts unknown, leaving the State of Florida to clean up the mess. The untreated process water was as acidic, radioactive, and carcinogenic as it comes. After treatment, 700 million gallons of that crap was hauled out to the Gulf in a barge and sprayed over 2,800 square miles. They assured us that most of the bad stuff had been removed.

How comforting.

Prior to the spill scientists were warning us that there were dead zones in the Gulf due to pollution. Add a gizillion barrels of gushing crude to the mix and we can add sea birds gasping for breath, dead dolphins washing ashore with mottled burned skin, endangered logger head turtles paddling blindly through muck, ruined beaches, as well as generations of wildlife that will never see the light of day.

And there are the human faces on this tragedy; fishermen who may never again cast their nets in the Gulf, the beach tourism of five states all but destroyed along with their associated businesses: hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues.

BP has deep pockets but I doubt that they will continue to reimburse everyone indefinitely. Eventually they’re going to fold like a cheap suit.

I wish I had the courage to ask God to insert His finger into the oil leak and stop the flow. I’m too ashamed to do it. He’s there in our midst grieving with us, but He’s not stupid.

We needed to learn a real and lasting respect for the environment. To expect God to wipe the slate clean so we can go back to pillaging His creation; well let’s just say I think we’re pushing our luck by asking.

We didn’t listen. So we have to feel.

Michelle Close Mills ©

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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/15/2010
Excellent write, Michelle; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :(
Reviewed by C. J. Stevens 6/15/2010
So deeply true, and eloquently written. Thank you for this very meaningful experience.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 6/15/2010
Very informative and mind opening write...thanks for sharing Michelle.
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 6/15/2010
So very well-written is this most apt, timely, and very meaningful article, Michelle. I congratulate you. When I think of the horrific tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, I am left quite wordless. Love, hugs, and best wishes to you,


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