Jack Simpson


I have never lived in California, but many people say there is no better place to live. Several years ago my family and I toured the state in a camper and found it an extremely interesting and enjoyable experience.

I recall visits to the Golden Gate Bridge, Yellowstone, Redwoods, Disneyland, Death Valley and seeing homes of the rich and famous. We traveled through rich farmland and saw Mount Whitney from a distance.

Even with all this and more, I never considered California as a place for a permanent residence. Too many wildfires, weather problems, mud slides, traffic congestion, high living costs, and, yes, earthquakes.

I suppose when you live there and find it home, you have to be aware that the geology of the land may one day endanger you and your property. It is a choice. Gamble and enjoy, or choose not to reside there on a permanent basis.

People there keep waiting for “the big one.” Not knowing if all the recent earthquakes are previews for the expected “big one” must be frustrating and nerve wracking.

Quakes that occurred recently have left residents unnerved and dreading what might happen next.

Those who worry most have already planned ahead and stacked supplies and emergency equipment. From experience, these individuals have already learned of the inevitability of new threats. They have bought insurance, generators, done some retrofitting of homes and have extra water and first aid kits. Some buildings constructed years ago have already collapsed during recent quakes. They were too brittle to withstand much shaking.

There is no doubt about California being a special place to live, but as for me, I do not wish to reside where I must constantly be on edge awaiting “the big one.”

Going to sleep in a house resting on a bit of earth with pent-up seismic stress is far too upsetting for comfort.

God bless California residents. And those who are living along the Gulf Coast during recent Tropical Storm Barry.

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.

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