Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes

Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes

One impressive characteristic of this World we all have inherited is that whatever mortal men and women can poison or destroy through calculated intent or ignorant neglect can be totally finished off in a short span of time by natural occurring phenomena.  Forget for a moment the ineptitude of our elected leadership and their desire to serve or deny favor to chosen segments of the voting public.  The decisive destructive force of Mother Nature regardless of culpability of etiology can impact EVERYBODY be they located in the direct path of harm, have friends or relatives in that path, or have business or economic interests connected with anyone or anything subject to the imminent danger that may be present.

Tornado funnel

Regardless how over-the-top those in charge of our government have seemingly gone out of their way to command media headlines with their rhetoric, a series of natural disasters have managed to upstage them.  For some this may not necessarily be a bad thing but it is sure one helluva trade-off!

Caribbean hurricane

Hurricane Harvey flood waters

We residing here along Old Route 66 have not been exempt from being in the path of natural destructive occurrences.  It was a mere five weeks ago that an EF2 tornado touched down in Midtown Tulsa and did a fair amount of substantial damage.  Miraculously there were no fatalities and only a couple dozen people sustained injuries.  Admittedly, Yours Truly was out of town at the time but this storm however left lasting damage.  The local TGIFriday’s was destroyed along with a Whataburger and my favorite Panera Bread not to mention thousands of dollars of damage done to numerous other properties in the path of the funnel.  The majestic eighteen story high-rise Remington Tower took a direct hit from it.  It is still in question if the damage done to it is repairable or not.

Remington Tower

As if having to contend with the specter of getting wiped out by another storm at virtually any time was not enough, we living here along the Mother Road’s most conservative stretch got shaken by a reminder last Thursday evening that we are merely collateral damage to the petroleum industry’s bottom line.  I initially guessed that the Freedom Tremor that rocked my house just before 9:30 PM that evening was around a 4.4 on the Richter Scale.  It was reported on the local news within the hour that it was a 3.9 quake centered near the town of Medford in Grant County, north central, Oklahoma.  That figure was revised yesterday to 4.3.  Thankfully there was no damage reported associated with this earthquake.  Despite actions taken by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in response to the increase in seismic activity in the state, we are still feeling the earth move under our feet just over a year after the state’s strongest earthquake on record (5.3).

There is nothing like a natural disaster that compromises everyone in a community to reveal the best and the worst of humanity and above all the true metal of individual character.  As with all other crises, we have seen a lot of humbling selflessness and self-sacrifice along side of a fair amount of self-serving selfishness.  I will admit that before Hurricane Harvey that I at best possessed a strong feeling of indifference toward TV pastor Joel OsteenWhen Rev. Osteen required prompting to help with those needing refuge from the storm, it validated what I can only describe as my worst assumption about him.  At the end of the day there is only us, we the people still living on this Earth, and all we have is each other.  We can help each other with direct or indirect assistance in the form of a strong social safety net or we can kill each other through greed, ignorance and neglect.  In spite of the character failures, be they great or small, there will be successes that shine through like a beacon for all humanity.  This is our salvation and what perpetuates the human drama.  Although that sort of humanism would likely survive and continue to exist without anything resembling a state or federal government, a framework of support by such organizations would make that survival so much easier and a whole lot richer.  It would be nice if it didn’t take suffering through a disaster to remind those elected that human services require funding along with the ever present “defense.”  Here’s to hoping the next natural occurring insult is less expensive in both lives and treasure.  We are not even out of the woods yet for this year.  Presidents, Congress critters, media charlatans and misery profiteers will come and go but Mother Nature is never far away from lowering the boom whether anyone living by her kind graces on this life-sustaining rock spinning through space are ready or not for what may come from her.

Joel Osteen:  A parody song by Roy Zimmerman

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