By Michael H. Brown

Did you ever note a peculiar coincidence: that the most intense hotspots of wickedness -- of moral transgression -- are also those most prone to natural disasters? It's as if evil is drawn to danger.

Or did God simply know where the wickedness would be?

A number of cities notorious for certain conduct sit in the crosshairs of future events.

It's one reason we're doing another retreat in California. Last time, it was in San Francisco, and we all know what transpires there. The city by the bay is home to the most publicized concentration of militant homosexuals in the United States, as well as libertine sexuality in general, the New Age, genetic laboratories that manipulate what God made, and headquarters for the church of Satan.

We had hundreds of pounds of blessed salt spread on that area last winter, and will seek the same in L.A. next month.

But here's the point: at the same time that San Francisco has its notorious side, so does it also sit smack in the middle of some of the country's most dangerous earthquake faults.

While most know of the San Andreas fault, there are dozens of others that could cause severe damage, and a couple that -- if they erupted -- could create more chaos than a quake from the San Andreas.

Take the Hayward, Calveras, San Gregorio, and Concord faults, which run directly under highly populated neighborhoods (in the case of Hayward, right under the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, where it is called the Rodger's Creek fault). You know: Berkeley as in hippies, drugs, free love, and witchcraft.

Along with other faults, the Hayward also poses terrific danger to Silicon Valley.

When a famous earthquake occurred in 1906, the most severe damage, the most blatant destruction, and the highest flames were in neighborhoods rife with swindlers, gamblers, and prostitutes. In Chinatown, fire gutted subterranean opium dens while the quake itself flattened the shantytowns of ruffians. Of course, both the good and evil suffered.

But isn't it strange? It's not like those seismic fissures developed after the gamblers and prostitutes and homosexuals moved in!

Why does such an element gravitate to potential catastrophe?

Let's look at Southern California: most don't realize that the foremost seismic experts consider Los Angeles and the surrounding area as slightly more at risk of a catastrophic quake than even San Francisco.

The San Andreas runs past this city too (actually, a distance to the east), but the most concern -- again -- are lesser known and even hidden strike-slip and blind thrust faults that are alongside surrounding mountains or beneath the movie studios and sidewalks and tattoo parlors. Indeed, the film industry has perched itself on the single most precarious intersection of urban faults, one of which rises behind Capital Records at Hollywood and Vine and runs along the Walk of Fame (not far from Paramount)!

I have spoken to many seismologists and visited these sites personally.

The most dramatic fault in the U.S. passes beneath Sunset Boulevard, edges a house that once belonged to Ozzie and Harriet (a sign here?), runs into Beverly Hills, forms a scarp in front of a huge Mormon Temple, and in general and in conjunction with a host of neighboring faults endangers most if not all of the area.

Whittier, San Jacinto, Chino, Malibu, Newport-Inglewood, and Elsinore: these are the names of faults that greatly worry scientists but of which you may never have heard.

I'm not going to concentrate solely on the potential disasters in California when (God-willing) I visit Los Angeles next month (we have much spiritual ground to cover), but it certainly will be addressed and so will the need for protection. We can avert tragedy -- both in our areas and in our own homes.

I think of the recent and almost apocalyptic fires in San Diego and note again the many ways this region can be challenged. The fires spurred our scheduling this retreat and came the same week as a genetic laboratory announced the first complete creation of artificial life right there in the vicinity. We'll be taking a close look at Los Angeles.

Seattle? It's well-known as a center of the New Age and is in great danger of an offshore fault. Las Vegas? Faults there, too -- some of which are not known. New York? It sits in the way of hurricanes and has a fault running directly beneath it.

We can go on. What debauchery is Key West known for, and what danger does it face? What about Provincetown on Cape Cod in another place we will seek to spread salt: Massachusetts?

As ironic as the positioning of evil in such places is the remarkable congregation of good Catholics who fight such evil -- in Boston, in Los Angeles -- through prayer. Where evil is, grace abounds. Every city has its problems.

But evil there is.

Charleston is one of the most "haunted" cities in the U.S. and along with San Francisco has a history of great seismic damage.


We think of the drug trade, materialism, and lascivious conduct on beaches (as well as in nightclubs), and of course it has a daunting chance of being struck by the most vicious of storms.

In fact, when I polled scientists seven years ago, they generally listed Miami as the most mega-disaster-prone city in the United States, followed closely in order by Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, and either Seattle, Honolulu, or an area south of St. Louis.

Everyone knows that New Orleans is famous for voodoo, its own risque nightclubs, and drugs, and we all know what happened there two years ago.

It is another city that has been in the path of disasters for centuries and somehow also was a magnet for wickedness.

The point: the cities most would list as the top five for notorious conduct are also the top five -- or at least in the top seven -- as prone to natural disaster.

A mystery this is!

But fear?

It's not a part of the Catholic walk.

With prayer we can overcome any potential disaster -- and when coupled with fasting we can suspend the laws of nature.

[resources Sent To Earth and Michael H. Brown retreat: Los Angeles]

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