Walkerton, Ontario

     There are bacteria in the water. The chlorinator has failed. The man in charge of this is aware of the situation. He does nothing and many die. It is in fact the country's worst outbreak of e. coli in history. How do you deal with that sort of responsibility? How do you deal with that blood on your hands?
     I at one time did something very bad and hurt some people close to me. I am thankful everyday that both of these people suffered little physical damage. I know the emotional damage was quite greater. Yet I also spend every day thinking about what I did and the pain, physical and emotional, that I did cause. It was a nightmare fully realized, and now my nightmares recollect fact. But I cannot begin to understand or even guess at what the man responsible for Walkerton must be going through. He was no soldier. He was no mental case. He was a workingman, not even actually certified due to certain exemptions, and he was following the way things had been done for twenty years - my understanding is that those previously in his position conducted themselves in a similar manner. But it was in his term that things screwed up, and the blood is on his hands. I doubt his dreams are peaceful. And I doubt a day will ever go by that the number of lives he could have saved will be far from his thoughts.
     When asked how things came to be the way they are, he paused and had what I would call a beaten look to him. At length he said, "Complacency." And now I wonder, how many of our problems are due to complacency? Yes, we can find any number of reasons or excuses for why things happen, but if we really examine it, how often do things go sour just because we are too lazy to do anything about it?
     Sloth is, after all, one of the deadly sins.

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