Mr. Watkins, president of the San Joaquin Valley Farm Bureau, has written an op-ed titled Agriculture: Fight or Die. Those are not actually the choices. The choices for members of the San Joaquin Valley farm bureau include suing, retiring, moving their farms, drilling expensive wells, possibly getting government grants or collecting from insurance policies. But they are not water “warriors” who kill people over water. Nor do they enter battle over water with the risk of dying from weaponry. If legal remedies do not supply water to them, they will only die if they take their own lives. Otherwise, they may retire. They may not have a valuable farm to leave to their descendants. Neither of the two choices framed in the title are the actual choices that farmers face.
I wrote about this in the last drought, too. This rhetoric narrows people’s perceived choices, keeps their limbic system activated and postpones mutual solutions. Responsible reporters and editors should stop using it.