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Who’s More Culpable? The 2 Kids Charged With Arson In Tennessee Or The Warehouse Owner In Oakland?


Okay, so if you haven’t heard, two juveniles have been charged with aggravated arson in connection to the East Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people last week and left nearly 150 others injured. Let me give you a quick rundown, via The Washington Post:

During an investigation involving local, state and federal agents, “information was developed that two juveniles allegedly started the fire,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.

Both were taken into custody Wednesday morning and are being held at the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Center.

The suspects are Tennessee residents, District Attorney General Jimmy B. Dunn said at a news conference in Sevierville. No additional information about the youths was made available, including their age and gender.

Okay, so there’s that.

Then, on the other side of tragic and horrible fires, is Derick Ion Almena, the landlord of the “Ghost Ship” Oakland warehouse that burnt down this week, killing 36. Prosecutors are trying to determine, who, if anyone, is responsible, and so far all signs point to Almena.

So the question I pose to you is this: Who do you think is more culpable? Our boy Wyatt and I had this debate and thought we should pose the question to the readers.

I’m not really quite sure where I stand on this one. On one hand, the Tennesse kids directly contributed to the start of the fire, which, to me, makes them directly responsible. However, they were just kids being kids. I used to light fires in my childhood neighborhood all the time.

On the other hand, Almena is a full-grown adult, who HAD to have known how unsafe the warehouse was and therefore that it should not have been occupied. But at the same time. it’s not like he was forcing anyone to live there: the tenants were there on their own free will. Similarly, while it happened in the building that he manages, it’s not as if he literally created the fire himself.

So, what do you think? Who’s more culpable in the loss of all these lives? Sound off in the comment section.

  • COED Writer
    A New Jersey native & Rutgers University graduate who firmly believes it's better to be lucky than good. My goal in life is to one day write a Batman screenplay. You can probably find me somewhere cooking either too little or too much pasta. contact me -