Thank God.

How can I complain about the weather when you see what went on in Moore OK. pop 55k, these past few days. You are just bemused. You cock the head to one side and view the scythe-cut devastation and try to force empathy. But in truth you cannot. You cannot empathize simply because you need a measure. Yes, a measure. A yardstick. People laugh when they cannot get any understanding. This is not that they have no feeling, but that they have nothing to key them into the correct social response. And failing no response at all they laugh.
Truthfully, in the West(not as in “Streets of Laredo”), only the people of Joplin and the poorer areas of New Orleans hold any knowledge of what these people are going through. And what these people actually need. Yes, there are university departments and many PhD written about disaster relief. But ask yourself, who would you rather have helping you through the physical, emotional and psychological devastation. Some little un-engaged box ticker, or someone who knows what it’s like to have the trusted place, the nest where you place your precious mate and babies turn to matchwood.

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12 Responses to Thank God.

  1. Rebecca S. says:

    Very well said, Vince.
    We are all reeling from the sudden death of a friend who took his own life. It’s so strange. What you say about yardsticks is true. I’ve dealt with death before, but that was due to long and painful illness – still hard enough, but this is a completely different animal. I have a post half done on a different subject, but turning my mind to it seems impossible at the moment.
    God bless,
    Rebecca

    • V.H says:

      In that of a suicide situation I think a straightforward handshake or from a woman, a hug. They are casting about for a reason too, and they are far far nearer.

  2. Kelly says:

    I agree. People can express sympathy, but unless they’ve experienced a similar situation, they should never say “I know just how you feel” (if even then). Both of my parents died during my childhood and I can remember hating when folks would make that statement to me. In most instances, they had NO idea how I felt!

    Then again, how can we equate devastation? You mention Joplin, yet the people of Tuscaloosa were hit by tornados just weeks (days?) prior. I have a friend there who sent me mind-boggling photos of the damage that I’m not sure I will ever forget. Whether it’s dozens or just one life lost, the tragedy is there.

    As for your last statement…I think of the first chapter of 2 Corinthians. I believe we are commanded to reach out to others with comfort when we have experienced similar hardships.

    It’s all quite sobering.

    • V.H says:

      Yes, it is sobering and mind-boggling. And we truly have no idea. CAN have no idea.

  3. Kimberly says:

    It is mind blowing. And you’re right on I think about ALL the things people need to rebuild their lives after a disaster. The support they need goes well beyond dollars and supplies.
    And I have to add that this is another one that really resonated with me being that school was in session. I’m so thankful that there’s never been a catostrophic event like this while I’ve been teaching. The stories about what the teachers did despite their own fears while their school was literally leveled. Incredible.

    • V.H says:

      That school, that it was pulverised, I just don’t get. I understand, to some extent, building in timber rather that concrete or adobe for housing if the community isn’t a very wealthy one. But that township didn’t seem wealthy or poor. I don’t get building a community building like a school on the cheap. Or should I say without the ability to withstand such forces. It smacks somewhat of building a school in an earthquake zone without earthquake enhancements.
      And aid goes well beyond the practical. In fact the Amish community barn lift would probably be of greater aid than a too great reliance on disaster relief. Remember Sri Lanka after that wave, the greater destruction to the social structure was cause by excessive ill deployed giving than the tsunami itself.

      • Kimberly says:

        I would think there a numerous factors involved in why the buildings were destroyed, first and foremost it was so incredibly strong. I’ve seen conflicting reports about the strength of it (4 or 5), but most recently they’re saying 5. And we always seem to be a step behind, building codes go in after a disaster, rather than before. The cost of proofing buildings is also so prohibitive. Who can really afford those dome houses everyone is going on about this week?
        I read something where the governor made a comment about how the new schools are built with safe rooms and hopefully the rebuilt schools will have them. Again, why didn’t they have them in the first place. More than not we are reactive rather than proactive.
        We had a similar discussion after Sandy. Imagine the job creation and lives protected if we started worrying about and taking care of our (everyone’s) infrastructure before the disastors hit. It’s maddening.
        As for your earthquake comparison, that’s exactly what happened here in the Northridge quake. We now have codes for new structures, but most of the stuff built before it (that wasn’t destroyed) hasn’t been upgraded. Not everyone can afford earthquake retrofitting which is where the dependence on the relief comes in. Most don’t have any other recourse. It just seems like such a logical of a fix to me.

        • V.H says:

          I don’t buy it.That town grew since the early 60s from 1000 people. EVERYTHING IS NEW. And it was well known what was needed.
          All this 200 year occurrence, or also named the 200 year event we hear about these days is pure maths BS. They are betting on a certainty. And further since the data doesn’t go back 200 years they are shooting in the dark totally.
          I’m not disagreeing with the needs for outside aid. What I am disagreeing is where an army in numbers is parachuted down and views the people as helpless. I think the quicker the locals are on their feet and running their own affairs the better for when the outside comes in they destroy the local structures.
          Look at New O, the people that were holding the local communities together pre hurricane moved to places like Seattle. These were small people in the scheme of things but they knew who held levers and how to pressure them politically to make them pull the level.

          • Kimberly says:

            From the 60s on, the architecture in this country is of such poor quality. It IS newer and that’s part of the problem. Quantity over quality, and I’m not sure about OK, but here the ones that went down in the earthquake were built during that poorly made period of time and before the earthquake codes were made more stringent.
            But I do agree with your point, they know what is needed to move forward, although the politics of it all so often seem to get in the way.

            • V.H says:

              I am perhaps being a bit harsh. But that vision of the school flattened.
              Oh what I mean about the 200 year event. Here, roads and town flood protection are built for the average. So they build just enough. Thing is, since 2000 we’ve had 17 such 200 year events with towns flooded.

  4. Sage says:

    I remember an architect saying there is no way to build for a Category 5 storm–it has to be underground and cannot even have a room extended for the force can rip it open and suck out what’s below. It is mindboggling and sad.

    • V.H says:

      Yes I agree. But you sure as heck don’t expect the flattening that that school got. But why haven’t they got such shelters for each class. Surely if you lived in an area where such storms are certain you’d design for them.

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