The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Deaths during Winter Storm Avoidable

Jan 29, 2024

There were over 90 deaths, coast to coast, during the big winter storms that began on January 14. Tennessee had the highest death toll with 36 killed. Most of these deaths were the result of hypothermia and car crashes. There were over 800 crashes and 200 involved injuries. One woman was found dead in her own home of hypothermia. A box truck driver was killed when his truck slid into a tractor-trailer.

None of these people needed to die. Yes, it’s true the below-zero temperatures and icy road conditions are extreme for Tennessee. Pipes burst, water pressure was low, making it hard to cook, wash dishes, and flush toilets. The power grid was on overload and people were asked to reduce usage because of the high demand.

But there were things that could have been done. Schools were closed. They could have been used as warming centers. The National Guard could have been called on to transport people to warming centers, which also could provide food and water and working toilets. The Guard also could have been used to make the roads passable.

In this society you are expected to fend for yourself in these conditions. The point of living in societies is to cooperate. People dying in their homes makes no sense. It doesn’t have to be this way.