I keep wondering about the stupidity of the average foothill dweller in Los Angeles. Year after year, there are fires, and then if we have a wet winter, the fires are followed by mudslides. In the past couple of weeks, we've seen rain storms, mud, and destroyed homes. And then the people who have lost their homes are interviewed on TV and they assure their fellow Angelenos that, yes, they do intend to rebuild, and that they will not be defeated by this bit of adversity. And then some talking head on the evening news will say, "Aren't they courageous."
Courageous isn't the word I would use. I'd say stupid. Like it or not, there are places where people should not live. If it was just those who loose their homes that insist on building in fire and flood zones, I wouldn't care overly much. But, we spend millions of dollars defending homes from fire and mudslide and then spend even more millions trying to engineer mountain and canyon sides in a futile attempt to prevent the inevitable. It would be far cheaper and far more sensible to just buy these people out and turn the mountain sides into open space. It isn't viable to remove the entire city of Los Angeles as a defense against earth quakes, but it does make sense to buy out a few hundred or even a few thousand homes.