Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Am Angry!

I am angry. I have relatives in Texas, Indiana and a friend in Iowa. I am angry because it has become obvious that these states and others have no clue as to how to protect their citizens, and when disaster strikes, have no idea how to respond to that emergency. I don't quite know where to start.

First, where the hell are the building codes in states firmly planted in the tornado zones? Why are homes allowed to be built without shelters? Why are mobile home parks allowed here, where the only thing mobile is when the next storm strikes. Yes I am angry. With government over regulating in so many ways, they seem to have forgotten how to regulate the one thing that counts. Saving lives. With mobile home parks, codes should have required a sheltered building be available to all residents to use.

In homestead days, every farmhouse had a root cellar. One use for that cellar was to dive in to avoid being killed by a tornado. In flat country, the only save place is under ground. Before you die, not after. Every area has it's risks. The west coast has earthquake dangers. Modern building codes have provided some safety for those that purchase homes in those areas. The Southeast has it's hurricane risks.

But it's not all government's fault. Stupidity, as one wag recently said, is not curable. Folks that are fully aware of the danger, fail to provide an underground safety spot, where the family can dive in and shut the lid. The example, as sad as it is, of the father and son driving home after high school graduation, having their son sucked out of the sun roof, (open) without a seat belt fastened. How many more ways can you screw up when heading into a serious thunderstorm than that?

In that case, carelessness, stupidity cost a young man his life and his family a lifetime of regret. Just some common sense, a bit of teaching by the parents could have easily avoided this, the only death in the car. Does CNN talk about this? No. Just the sobbing parents of children missing when in many cases the deaths were avoidable. Television news is not the only safety net, but apparently the only one many families follow.

A combination of ignorance, lack of community education and no family memory of past disasters has dumbed down both families and government entities who are responsible for basic public safety. Then we have The "public safety officers." Blocking parents from viewing where they expect to find their children, in some cases when neighbors already told them they witnessed the child dead, and are told they won't be able to view and identify the deceased for at least two weeks.

All of this suggests that building codes need to be re-examined, updated and while some codes tend to be odoriferous, others are necessary for the safety of those ignorant of local conditions. Personally, I'd be very wary of living in an area that has poisonous snakes, fire ants and hungry reptiles, without some education as to the dangers and the methods of avoidance. The same applies to those moving into the tornado alley areas of our country.

The bottom line is that our emergency services don't have a clue as to handle the emergencies they are paid to handle, and unfortunately, many citizens are too ignorant to protect themselves. On the other hand, there have been many deaths and injuries that were not preventable. To those I feel great sympathy. The others? Perhaps natural selection is at work.

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