Many news stories come and go from our consciousness but, there are some that leave such a stark impression that they are etched in our memories. For me, the Flint Water Crisis is one of those things.
It's hard to imagine that it began close to 7 years ago. To be fair, most of us did not know about it until early 2016, because the then-current Michigan state leadership hid the truth from the public. To this day, the repairs to the water lines have still not been completed. However, what's even more unfathomable is the cruelty that it took to allow residents, particularly the children of Flint to be poisoned by lead in their drinking water.
I don't pretend to know how Michigan politics works but, it seemed pretty clear at the time that the then-governor Rick Snyder rode roughshod over a number of majority-black cities, slashing their budgets in ways that showed little regard for their residents. To add insult to injury, this was often done by overriding the leadership of local governments and installing his own "emergency managers", who make unilateral decisions on how these cities were to be run.
Arguably, the most dire of these decisions was to stop getting drinking water from Detroit and, instead, switch to using water from the Flint River. As more of the truth came out, it was clear that the risks of this switch were known by state leadership and still ignored. In short, you had the combination of poorly-treated river water, which was so bad that the local General Motors plant wouldn't it use it for fears it would corrode their engine parts, mixing with the old, lead-line pipes that consitituted Flint's water-delivery infrastructure. This resulted in lead-tainted water piped into the homes of the city's residents. Tragically, this impacted as many as 15,000 children.
Now, several years and many thousand damaged lives later, Rick Snyder is facing a potential moment of accountablity. The Associated Press is reporting that Rick Snyder has been informed that he will be receiving criminal charges for his role in the crisis. In an unsuprising response, attorneys for Rick Snyder say that such charges would be "meritless".
Rick Snyder has been able to avoid real consequences for his role in this tragedy. However, today, there is a little more hope that his moment of accountability, and some justice for those impacted, may be coming.