California Children Sentenced to Die!
By Raoul Lowery Contreras
The world watched with horror as a monstrous fire killed 47 children in a government sponsored childcare center in Hermosillo, Mexico, a few days ago.
This disaster highlights two areas of responsibility to us. First, children must be protected by all means necessary, for they are otherwise defenseless. Secondly, we as a society and body politic must be certain that government protects children universally.
California has been doing that for over a quarter of a century by requiring: “that all mattresses manufactured for sale in this state and all seating furniture sold or offered for sale for use in this state be fire retardant…” Notice the word “all.”
California also required that: “all other bedding products, other than mattresses and mattress sets, that the bureau determines to contribute to mattress bedding fires to comply with specified regulations adopted by the bureau… Again, notice the word “all.”(The Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Act)
The number of deaths by fire dropped dramatically in California when it made this law. California’s fire death rate is almost half of the national average. In fact, following adoption of those regulations in the 1980, fatality rates fell by more than 64 percent according to the California Bureau of Home Furnishings. Most saved were children.
Given this tremendous record for California, why would anyone want to change this positive safer-than-national environment?
Environmental fanaticism by San Francisco Democrat State Senator Mark Leno plus social and racial elitism have motivated him to continue a fight he lost while in the State Assembly.
His means, Senate bill 772 in which he wants to outlaw the use of required fire retardant chemicals in the manufacture of bedding and upholstered products Californians are protected by. Cleverly, he wants to back door this prohibition by first exempting from the law “juvenile products” such as cribs, crib mattresses and other juvenile furniture products. In other words, lift protection for children because they don’t have a voice; they can’t vote.
When one examines who actually dies in fires, Leno’s elitism and racism is clear beyond doubt.
Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States, according to the federal Center for Disease Control. They are the third leading cause of fatal home injuries and numbered 82 percent of civilian home deaths in a recent study of 2005.
So, who is at risk? “Virtually every study of socioeconomic characteristics has shown that lower levels of income are either directly or indirectly tied to an increased risk of fire.” In other words, the poor and the working class. Source: (Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Fire Administration, National Fire Data Center, “Socioeconomic Factors and the Incidence of Fire,” FA 170 / June 1997, p. 2.)
Who dies? “Race and ethnicity, lower educational attainment, and poverty, all tend to be highly correlated with fire death rates. Family structure (parental presence) also tends to be highly correlated…” In other words, poor black and Hispanic children are at huge risk, especially those in one-parent households. Source: (Hall, John R. Jr., “Characteristics of Home Fire Victims,” National Fire Protection Association, July 2005, p.141.)
Mr. Hall in clearer words has written, “The most statistically powerful predictors of fire death risk are, in order, race, education, and poverty…”
For clarification, if a child is poor, if a child is in a one-parent home and if the child is black or Hispanic that child will have less protection from fire and the probability of dying by fire in the home is greater under Leno’s bill than not.
California is the only state in the U.S. with fire safety regulations for upholstered furniture sold for the home. Nonetheless, the Senate has passed Leno’s bill and it is now before the Assembly where 41 votes are necessary to approve this potential child killer.
Senator Leno would lessen protection by lifting protection for children and cause more children to die in California. It’s just that simple.
We know that those children in lesser circumstances and those of black and Hispanic communities are more likely to be negatively affected by Senate Bill 772, so why is Senator Leno potentially sacrificing the lives of these children? If, as a group, white middle class children were endangered, would he offer his bill?
The California State Assembly with its large percentage of Hispanic and black members must defeat Leno’s Senate Bill 772 and if it doesn’t — the Governor must veto it. Not one child must be allowed to die at the altar of Leno’s environmental fantasies.