The Rescue Boat and the Airplane

Every burned town is tragic. But Newsom needs to lead with science, not sentiment. If he does, he’ll have little to worry about.

Newsom’s Town of Dreams

The sun is just above the horizon and the clouds are breaking on the blue-gray of the California coast. The beach is quiet and still. The waves roll gently off the shore, leaving a fine film of salt behind them in the cooling air. It’s a beautiful spot on a beautiful day.

In that moment, I am standing on the beach, enjoying the peaceful scene and the beautiful sunshine. Suddenly, a small plane flies right over the ocean and rams into the water three times. The plane drops vertically, then immediately angles down, crashing into the water about 10 feet to the east of where I’m standing. In the ensuing maelstrom, the pilot hits the water, only to grab at the wheel just before it hits the water with no more than a few inches of clearance. The plane continues down, hits the water again, then turns right and noses up, continuing down and crashing into the water again before it spins over, hits the water perpendicularly with more than a foot of water splashing from the right wing and comes to a stop just behind me.

A few seconds pass before the first of the rescue boats appear, and I remember the two young men at the water’s edge who were watching the plane crash into the water. I run to them to see what’s going on, then turn back to the ocean and stare at the small pool of water on the beach.

One of the two men says, “Are you okay? You look a little scared.” I tell him I’m okay, as he lifts me up in his arms and I sit on his head for a brief embrace as he takes off toward the rescue boat. The second of the two men says, “I’m going this way.”

As the two men race to their destination, I continue to stare into the water, trying to absorb the enormity of what just happened, and trying to make sense out of it, even as I am told to get in the boat and be carried back

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