Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth is charging an 18-year-old high school student with a felony that carries a ten-year prison sentence for spilling a vial of mercury in a classroom. Meanwhile Forsyth has refused to take any action against the Boardwalk developers who deliberately dumped at least 10,000 times that amount of the deadly metal in local neighborhoods to evade the costs of proper hazardous waste disposal.
Forsyth has accused Ryan Gorter of malicious destruction of property because on May 11th he brought to Cedar Springs High School a small amount of mercury which he spilled in a classroom. It cost the school district more than $40,000 to clean up the hazardous material, because they completely stripped the classroom to ensure that none of the dime-sized spill remained. According to Forsyth, Gorter did more than spill the material, he stepped on it and rubbed it into the carpet. For that reason and the cost involved, the prosecutor insists that Gorter must be charged with a felony.
Of course, mercury can be a toxic poison in sufficient quantity and concentration. It is an insidious substance that can build up in body until it reaches a toxic level that damages vital organs, especially in children. So let’s say that the Cedar Springs school district didn’t overreact in response to a miniscule and isolated spill of mercury in one of its classrooms. Let’s say that Prosecutor Forsyth isn’t grandstanding when he says he must throw the book at the youngster who caused the spill. That still leaves me scratching my head …
If a dime-sized spill of mercury by a boy who didn’t know of its danger means he should go to prison for ten years, why have Forsyth and his prosecutors turned a blind eye to the massive releases of arsenic, lead, and mercury into our neighborhoods by the Boardwalk developers? These polluters spread real poison among us. They did it deliberately. They know how toxic it was. They didn’t care. They plotted their removal of this hazardous waste from the Boardwalk project site on the sly. They lied to their workers about what they were digging up and dumping off-site. They perjured themselves and faked evidence to evade responsibility for their crimes. And when Forsyth had an opportunity to hold them accountable for all this two years ago, he refused to do so.
Why is that? Why does Ryan Gorter get the full brunt of the law and the Boardwalk developers who made millions in profit by dumping their poison on the cheap get a free pass from Forsyth? Well, you see, folks, when it comes election time, Forsyth gets to show you how much he cares about the children and their environment by leaning on Gorter, whereas going after the Boardwalk developers all he does is make a lot of power political enemies. It’s all about what’s good for Forsyth’s career, not the safety of the public he was elected to serve.
Remember the thirteen tons of pure arsenic, lead, and mercury Forsyth let the Boardwalk developers dump in your neighborhoods the next time he asks for your vote.