Thu Jun 22 2023

Everyone on the Downtown Eastside Should Get the Same Treatment as the Submarine Billionaires

by e(Liz)abeth (Mars)ton

The world is convulsing at the news that five Very Rich People, who were the subject a wildly expensive and unsuccessful publicly-funded search, are in fact dead, having died painlessly.

“This meant something to him. He pushes the boundaries. He lives his life this way. I hope people don’t think of him as [just a billionaire]”, I just heard an unidentified voice say on the BBC Livestream.

So: the proposal is that we humanize a reckless billionaire who killed five people by negligence, including himself, who we just spent millions of dollars to not rescue.

Here’s a counter-proposal.

Re-purpose all search-and-rescue funding to rescue folks who are experiencing homelessness across Canada.

Immediately cease pulling billionaires and multi-millionaires from the depths of oceans, and the heights of mountains.

Take every of the literal millions of taxpayer dollars spent cleaning up after these cluster-headache so-called adventurers and use it to save lives that are much easier to save. Clean up the poisoned drugs. Provide safe supply. Preserve human life in large numbers.

Dollar-per-dollar, we could preserve more human lives by pulling people off the street in numbers, rather than off the sea floor in handfuls.

And all of this is ignoring the salient fact that Stockton Rush, recently drowned billionaire and OceanGate CEO, literally fired his own safety lead for pointing out that the submarine was unsafe.

People should be allowed to make terrible mistakes, even mortal ones. We should consistently apply our ethic of helping people in need of help. Or, failing that, we should admit that we are operating a meatgrinder of a civilization, and get out of rescue entirely.

Original photo by GoToVan. CC-by-2.0. Composition by Elizabeth Marston.

Calligraphic embellishment of the name 'Liz'