Rick Perry: Fossil Fuels Help Reduce Sexual Assault
Rick Perry says that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault:
Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested on Thursday that increasing fossil fuel use to spread electricity across Africa would help prevent sexual assaults there.
Perry, who traveled to South Africa last week to tout the Energy Department’s partnerships there, said he spoke with a young girl who wanted electricity so she could read without relying on the light of a fire “and have those fumes literally killing people. But also from the standpoint of sexual assault.”
“When the lights are on, when you have light that shines — the righteousness, if you will — on those types of acts,” he told an Axios event.
Perry was implicitly responding to a protester who yelled that fossil fuels were causing climate change and killing people in poor countries.
“Let me tell you, where people are dying in Africa is because of the lack of energy they have there, and it’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa.”
Since taking the helm at the Energy Department, Perry has said he doubted the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide was causing climate change, and he has sought to promote the use of fossil fuels, including pushing a plan to financially support coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
That access to fossil fuels that the U.S. has would also benefit Africa, he said.
“From the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role, and I wish we could understand it’s not just about us living here in the comfort and confines that we’re in.”4
On some level, I suppose one could view this generously by pointing out that electric lighting, especially in outdoor areas, does contribute to cutting back on crime by making it harder for those who would commit assault to get away with it unnoticed. Additionally, it’s beyond question that Africa as a whole would benefit from vast improvement in its electric and energy infrastructure. Perry, of course, didn’t say that. Instead, he attempted to make an intelligent comment and ended up doing so in perhaps the dumbest way possible. I guess the glasses aren’t working after all.