Many suspect that a teenager playing with fireworks sparked the wildfire that has burned large sections of the Columbia River Valley to a crisp and sent so much smoke into the air that it's raining ash on Portland. The kid who allegedly lit the firework has been called every name imaginable on Facebook and Twitter.




The Willamette Week has been throwing lots of stones at this "idiot." One Portland woman told the paper that she actually saw the teenager tossing a smoke bomb into a ravine. She was horrified. She warned him and his friends (one of whom was filming it) that the area is extremely dry and a wildfire could easily start. He and his friends just laughed at her. The little beasts.

But anger directed at this teen and his friends makes no sense whatsoever. We do not live in a society that is doing much at all to deal with global warming. We have elected officials in a major political party who openly deny that climate change is happening. The man about to head NASA is a climate denier. There were no marches when the US left the Paris Agreement. These kids behaved as their society behaves. The human is the animal that imitates like nobody's business. It's not "monkey see, monkey do"; it's "human see, human do."

Even today, as ash falls on our cities, people are driving cars and burning fossil fuels. Nothing has really changed for them. Life under a thick cloud of smoke and a sinister-looking sun is much the same as life on a clear and sunny day.

Do not demonize children; demonize the society that inculcates them.