To Sin by Silence : Introduction
To Sin by the Silence: The Introduction
( originally inspired and written2-2-05, and rewritten Sept 2005)
"To Sin by Silence, when they should protest makes Cowards out of men."
This Book is about Breaking the Silence.
It is about telling the Truth.
We are living in an era that is searching relentlessly for the Truth, through the cobwebs of corruption, deceit, and greed.And sadly my story is hinged on such a quest. I went in search of Answers, I was filled with hope of resolution. I needed Answers because people were sick and dying. I am a nurse, it is my nature to take care of people, it is a part of me that does not shut down because I am not at work. Many nurses have Medical Empathy, it improves theri diagnostic skills and heightens their observation skills. I have this said skill, it is a gift and a curse. I call it my Radar. I have worked areas of nursing that this radar was invaluable. I have never lived anywhere that the Radar was needed to survive, all that would change in 1999.
Once the Radar is on, it is never shut off. Ever.
Intuition can be ignored by some , but not denied.
And god forbid if the Data and the Radar should match.
The implications are far reaching, and heartbreaking.
This is not an ordinary nurse tale, and certainly not an Erin Brockavitch tale with mercurial justice. Although I am grateful to her for opening the doors for Whistle- Blower moms like me. With the Hinkley case being exposed in 2000, it did for a time make it easier for small towns to fight back. As of this writing 2005, it is once again more difficult for small towns to fight back. What is sad is for the most part we really don't know what happens What happens after the Whistle is blown. What happens to the whistleblowers and the families of the little poisoned towns? Does anyone get fined? Hell, Does anyone even go to Jail? Does anyone clean up the toxic contamination ? Does anyone take care of the poisoned people?
If we had more Whistleblowers, would we have less damage ? Would we have less Criminals?
The Warning Signs that triggered the Radar would prove hauntingly accurate and lead down a path of no return. The same people that triggered the Radar, would haunt me, inspire me, and motivate me in ways that could not be measured. Sometimes it is the small subtle physical clues that one faces at a beach or a park or a cozy coffee shop. The clues become woven into the forensic landscape. Pasty white children with dull hair, and button eyes. Agitated Brittle-boned teenagers losing hair and teeth.Too many pre-maturely aged people with canes and weak tremulous hands. People of all ages frequenting dye shops every other block. These snapshots of humanity were part of a much larger toxic legacy.
By the time I started reading the Obituaries , full of young faces and vague information I realized that the Problem was not merely a coffeeshop phenomena. Within six monthes of moving to Poisonville in 1999 I realized that there was something Plaquing this beautiful Northwest Coastal Town.
The obituaries would lead to discovering Dead Children's Mothers Clubs ( support groups), and grandmothers doing Cluster Studies. The obituaries would lead to a search for statistics. On a gut level I knew that this small rural little county should not have symptoms of such extensive illness. When I dug deeper , the statistics that could be brought to the surface, would not only reveal a distrubling picture but also reveal the "ethical" Black Hole that was devouring most of the stats and the people.
It would also illuminate the evil part of the picture, that none of the levels of the illness and lack of proper stats were an accident. The statistics were" buried" for a reason. The Obituaries do not Lie- ever. Dead People do not lie- ever. The Truth does lie in the Obituaries.
It ain't no Mayberry, Ozzie and Harriet would have been long dead had they lived in Poisonville. They would merely have been part of the buried statistics. I wrote this book because I actually don't believe people should become mere statistics ensared unknowingly in a Web of Causation.The people who suffer, and are sick, or die, should matter more than just being numbers on a graph. Families should be warned if they are moving to a geographical Hellzone.
The Statistics and the pale little faces and the Obituaries would lead to researching 50 years of Industrial Contamination.And that would mean researching data from 1000's of files and hundreds of boxes of data from over thirty different offices. I decided that laws had been created to Protect Health, and the environment , that might effect people's health. I also realized early on that local and State government offices and entities have to keep records if they want Federal Funds. I also deduced that these same documents might not only track the damage, but also prove critical to confront the powers that be. And it would not take long to start asking WHO the EPA protects.
In a very short time I would realize that people were sick because of what had been done to their lovely little town, and surrounding county ( the waters, air and soils ). I was convinced that if we could geographically track the illnesses and map out the contamination that people could be helped. That a Web of Causation could be established and connect the geographical dots. The little County had Six major Industries : A Large paper/Chemical Company, a Refinery,a Major Pipeline, An Aluminum Smelter, A Medical Waste Processor, Refrigerated Cold Storage Facility, an Energy Plant, and much trucking and rail industry, as well as a Port. This list is quite a lengthy list of Toxic Suspects.
And as you will see in a later chapter, " Surveying the Damage", the illnesses are extensive. In " Warning Signs" you will see the clues that led to the Unraveling of the town. Dead Whales, Midnight Dumping, and Infant Mortality Rates are a reality that no one should have to experience. In the "Elephant in the Living Room", you wll meet the leading suspect.
The tale will unravel, small bits and pieces, that I will slowly and carefully weave together. The science, the legal aspects, and the history and culture of of this little contaminated county is no longer meant to be invisible, hidden like a sick child in a closet. It did not unravel at great speed. It was a path of blunders, and sleepless nights, and broken hearted moments, and horrific revelations. A path littered with dead friends, a sniper, car chases, missing federal funds, and skilled lying officials, geiger counters, hidden coal mines, and boxes of data, Pipelines and Pipeline Explosions, Missing weapons of mass destruction and mass deception, Red Tankers, Fraud and smuggling, mail order brides, and questionable accidents, suicides and Fires, tapped phones, and illegal irrests, and so many other wonders. Not your average Environmental Tale.
The tale at this point in 2005 is still in many ways unraveling, and that incudes the parts that have been silenced by Executive Orders. It is up to Fates far larger than me how the tale finally ends. Regardless of How the Story ends, and who is found Responsible, the story needs to be told.
Our little Poisoned Town is not on the Toxic Road Map -yet. Becuase a wide variety of Government Entities have kept it a Secret. The past rhree years the Bush Administration has worked very hard to keep this toxic story out of the Headlines. A Very Large Dirty Secret, a truly old fashioned Coverup. ( What else can we call hundreds of contaminated acres? ) Executive Decisions were made and Orders given and followed. The Poisonville Story belongs to so many, my family, my friends, and neighbors. It remains my Truth, my Reality,and can no longer be silenced or determined by Executive Decisions. I can not be part of the Silence or the Lies.
Yet this story is not just about Toxic Legacy, the poisons , the contamination. You will learn more about Mercury, methylmercury , heavy metals , PCB"S, radioactive waste and the chemicals. But you will also learn about the People. Maybe all of us should learn about the people, the people unknowling caught in the Chemical Crossfire left to suffer the consequences. They are not merely collateral damage for the corporate greed ledgers. We all have heard of the other towns with oozing legacies: Love Canal, Anniston, Times Beach, Hinkley and Libby. We don't ever hear what happens to the people of these towns. And maybe we should.
I worry that if we keep Silent, are we just part of the Lies? The Coverup? Does that make someone like me- Complicit? Knowing , yet Silent.
For I worry that this Toxic mess is very much like a large intricate incestous family trying to hide Uncle Lester's pedophilia, and continue to invite him to be "Santa" at the familiy's yearly Christmas party. Nervously, knowingly serving him hot chocolate and unsupecting victims-our children.
It is a story that is about damage to air,soil and drinking water, and beautiful beaches. But is also a story about Damage to our Greatest Resource- Our Children.
Some People in Washington need to be reminded before anymore Children are Left Behind.
Signed the Nightingale.
*** Name of the town will be revealed in the Next chapter.
( spice container)
You may look at this photo and think WHAT does this mean?
Don't Forget the photo.
Brave People are not who you think. They sometimes are people that you would never suspect.
Invisible Heros and Angels, may you have some in your life.
A nurse who would work extra shifts to pay for Data that No One wanted to see.
( and because he hoped that it would stop his wife from chasing trucks,trains, and ships)
A Coffee Shop owner who was wise beyond measure.
A 11 year old boy who said if people were sick- we should do Something.
To the Knights who were there when the Nurse needed them most, Courage in Action.
A Grandmother from California who believed in Peace and the Hellbent nurse.
A group of College kids that believed the Data would save a town.
Neighbors taking care of each other while they battled cancer.
A Theatrical Genius that knew when to make a scene, and Film it.
A computer Geek who valued his kids and knew the water was hurting them.
Ed the scientist that knew there was Something wrong, and left a messege at a Beach.
To the Indian who said that the Beach and the Whale held the Answers.
To the Lady in the Parking Lot who said " It was Never about the Toilet Paper"
To the Grieving Moms and Widows that brought me Big Brown Envelopes in the City Hall Bathroom.
To the Audobon folks that taught me there is more than one way to take pictures of Evil on the Bay.
To a Scientist that knew the Truth, and knew Someone had to get it out.
To the journalist that knew when to listen and when to tell someone not to give up
( and he told me to carry a camera- it would save my life, and it did).
And last but not least The Townies, the Farmers, the Fishermen,The Truckers, The Indians,
and the Millworkers- dead and alive.
* Nov14,2005 The Big Evil Chemical Company Sold. ( They sold at loss of Many Billions of dollars)
And to all of those that Trusted the Nightingale this Book is the Messege.
I did what I could to shut down the Evil Chemical Plant that was making so many sick for so long.
You trusted me with your lives, and I knew your lives were worth it and depended on me getting the Messege
Out to the rest of the World. Your Leaders and Your Government failed you.
It is November 2005, so we all know what happens to Messengers.
They are considered Fair Game.