From the beginning of human communal time, people built cities adjacent to rivers, for water, fresh water, was the source of life.
Cairo (and before it grew into Cairo, Fustat), relied on the Nile; London (and before that, the Roman colonial city of Londinium) was built upon the banks of the Thames; Paris (originally known as Par-Isis, or the House of Isis) grew from the flow of the Seine; Rome rose to become an empire along the banks of the River Tiber.
Cities feed upon, and grow from, the waters beside them.
Flint, Michigan is named after the Flint River, for the hard, dark flint stones that formed its river bed.
For decades, General Motors drew from it, and then poured into it, its chemical wastes and effluvium, until it became the corrosive, toxic brew that it is now. Indeed, after the waters became so acidic that it damaged automobile parts, GM bailed out, closing their operations there.
These are the waters that Michigan officials, under so-called emergency management powers, to save money, routed into Flint homes: waters that damaged and dissolved metals, were found fine enough to feed the population of human beings in a modern American city.
Thousands; tens of thousands of people, poisoned, for profit.
Why is that not a crime?
Why was it not a crime to poison a river in the first place?
For the same reason that it is not a crime today to order the poisoning of thousands of people for corporate and state profit.
Thousands of people – many of them children – poisoned in their brains, their livers, their kidneys, their lungs, their bones – for life, in many cases, and even the talking heads on corporate media outlets are speaking of lawsuits and civil damages – more money – that can’t cure.
When is a crime not a crime?
When corporations do it. When governments do it.
The U.S. government, through its military, committed genocide in Iraq, destroying one of the oldest civilizations on earth, based on lies, ignorance and arrogance. It tortured Iraqis in American-run hellholes, and busted a few low-life guards.
It opened up a torture chamber in Cuba, and suspended the Constitution – and called it justice. (Theirs’s actually a joint called Camp Justice in Guantanamo Bay – I kid you not).
In a capitalist society, only capital matters. It’s all about the Benjamins – bucks over bodies. Profit. Period.
In Michigan’s prisons, there ain’t a single prisoner who committed a more vicious crime than the Governor of that state.
Their crimes, no matter what, were retail. The government, for a few bucks, committed crimes against thousands –wholesale.
But these are crimes of the powerful.
They don’t count.
These are crimes of capitalism.