April 28, 2011

So many people died in yesterday's tornadoes

The devil. Ft, ft, ft, etc.
An article in the LA Times today reports that nearly 200 people died in the 24- to 36-hour span during which tornadoes pummeled the South. Doesn't that figure sound way out of line? This page states that only five tornadoes in the U.S. have ever killed more people than this. So it's happened before . . . yet somehow it feels like we're on a roll. There were 183 deaths in Alabama alone. That's insane. Are more on the way? Is this the new norm?

Floods everywhere, tornadoes killing people with regularity -- these events seem shocking to Americans. But I suspect we'll have to get used to it. Climate change has come home to roost. And yet we continue to do zilch about the problem of carbon emissions. As I often say on this blog, what's wrong with this picture?

Welcome to the new United States: powerless in the face of just about every obstacle. Heck, we can't even pick the right countries to start wars with, so I guess it's not surprising.

PS: Whenever there are reports of widespread tornado damage, I think of the loss of intellectual property. Yes, people lost their homes and communities and in many cases, their lives -- and that's awful. But no one ever talks about how many invisible items were lost. Had someone written a book or two and left it only on the computer, which was destroyed in the storm? Were a team's scientific findings and support materials lost? Was someone's physical collection of historic mementos been lost just before the person finally sat down to write that history book? I wonder why this sort of thing is never mentioned in news stories. Surely it's happened.

2 comments:

Artichoke Annie said...

"Loss of intellectual property" - what a wonderful point. And you are so correct it is never mentioned, only those possessions people hang on to. I think it would be easier to rebuild a house then to reconstruct a story or theorem.

So, Keith, you're not buying into the end times that's a coming? Since last New Year's Eve ST. Louis has had 44 tornadoes touch down, average is 14, and I don't think the 'official' T-Season begins until May. Bumpy ride ahead

writenow said...

I'm looking forward to May 21st very much, if that's what you mean. After all, how often does the end of the world come along? We should all host parties.

Maybe I should send my post to a reporter and ask her to look into the intellectual-loss angle. Or perhaps a reporter is among the hundreds of thousands who read this blog each and every day. Yoo hoo, lurking reporters. Speak up (or at least, write the story).