Dead men tell no tales

Tiny - Posted on 22 January 2017

Rommie Whittaker

In the aftermath of Oakland ,Ca. Ghostship fire many questions still remain. The two biggest of course are how did it happen and could it have been prevented ?

As fire investigators continue to look for clues, one puzzling question that still remains is, of the 36 people who died and in the sea of faces posted in papers and the internet, why wasn’t a single one of them black ?

After all Oakland has a much denser black population than San Francisco does and in point of fact the neighborhood that the Ghostship was in has a very high black population and surely Oakland isn’t lacking in black artist.

There certainly didn’t appear to be any symbols of white supremacy anywhere on or in the building

And in fact it otherwise appeared to be a multicultural artist collective.

The only answer I can seem to come up with in my own mind at least is the manager of the property recognized the fact that black people are consistently harassed and since he knew that there were various building and safety code violations he didn’t want the burden of having any black tenants who would lead police or other government officials to their door.

I suppose in a way that was a noble gesture towards the other tenants if in fact that was the reasoning but it is also one that helped seal their fate.

There is a housing crisis in the Bay Area and that crisis is even more compounded in some ways for artist s who don’t have an income other than the art they sell.

For most struggling artist a space they can live in and work in is a solution to both problems, especially if rent is cheap.

The younger you are the more willing you are to take chances. That’s exactly why car insurance gets cheaper for older drivers, even new ones with little driving experience.

Its not very likely that the owner or manager would have intentionally set the fire because they knew the building was full of violations and it would have been difficult for them to get insurance.

This of course includes clutter that the artist were intending on using to make art with and I’m sure got sidetracked by everyday life as most of us do.

This is not a condemnation of them or their lifestyle. Anybody can have clutter even folks who generally keep a neat and tidy home. All it takes is a prolonged illness ,extra hours at work or a number of many other ordinary things that can cause most of us to be sidetracked.

We may never find the answers to any of the reasons this fire happened, but we can create solutions for the future.

In the 70’s it was mandated that all dog and cat food in the US be made fit for human consumption because so many seniors were dying from eating it. The main reason being it was cheap, but also due to mislabeling or accidentally buying the wrong can or misreading the label.

I’m definitely not a fan of adding new laws but it definitely makes sense that all buildings that humans could shelter themselves in be shelter able with no out of date or poor wiring running water sprinkler systems and adequate accessible fire exits.

The building owners should be tracked down and fined.

The fines should be used to bring the buildings up to code not placed in the city coffers.

If the building owners can’t afford to pay fines than fines from building owners who can afford to pay fines should be combined with city funds.

We may never know all the mysteries to the Ghostship cuz dead men tell no tales.



Sign-up for POOR email!