There are lessons to be learned from the devastation in Oklahoma

Craig Hall, Publisher
Craig Hall, Publisher

First and foremost is the fact that no matter what man can create and say is weatherproof, Mother Nature doesn’t care and will eventually prove human attempts feeble.

If we can’t even predict the weather patterns in advance of tornado, hurricane and winter storm seasons (unless it’s an average guess based on years of accumulated information, and heck, even I can do that) there’s simply no way we can prepare for every occurrence.

It’s not that we give up on trying to create barriers and buildings that protect people. I believe human nature dictates we always will for the simple reason the safety and survival of those we love and hold dear in our hearts is paramount. But I seriously doubt we’ll ever prevent nature from wreaking devastation in tragic events like the ones that have occurred in Oklahoma. The best in man is that he tries in spite of failure.

I don’t  know all of the particulars of the school where too many lost their lives. Hunkering down in the basement did save many, but not all, lives. And while I don’t think school administrators had any intent in folks getting hurt, I question why the school hadn’t implemented the best possible safety measures for tornadoes in terms of shelters. Someone will surely blame funding. And, sadly, I think they’ll be right because rural areas rarely get the same amount of state funding dollars as their inner-city counterparts.

That said, knowing the ingenuity of mankind, I expect many people will come up with better bunkers for schools. It’s my sincere wish folks in charge of education dollars put them into place instead of funding more needless programs. I’m old enough to recall a time when building maintenance, repair and infrastructure was part of a school district budget and not the aim of a special election to raise money to patch roofs (and yes, buy books). I also hope every school district gets the same amount of dollars per pupil regardless of location.

Getting back to mankind in general, what you see in Oklahoma is the ultimate in the human spirit in terms of kindness, generosity and helping your neighbors. That’s because that’s what most people do. Do I dare say folks in rural areas are better at it than those in many cities? Yup. And, no, it’s not hateful to make that statement. The folks in Oklahoma are much more self-reliant than many of the folks in New Orleans. All you need to do is look at how very few are waiting around for the government to do something.

Speaking of government, its response will be simple and predictable. The president will do the easiest thing he can do (and they all do) and declare everything a disaster area so the feds can throw money at it, all while proclaiming the government will do everything in its power possible to assist with the rescue, cleanup and aftermath of the storm. To which I always ask, “So?” Just ask the folks in the News how that worked out for them. By News I mean Orleans, York and Jersey. The feds’ care lasts as long as the photo ops. The real heroes are the volunteers, churches, charities and people who will never rest in getting things rebuilt in Oklahoma — and everywhere a disaster has occurred — and will never forget, in spite of the next storm or disaster where the camera trucks park. Because chasing the cameras is political, rebuilding is personal.

OK, call me cynical. But don’t we already have a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse, taking to the floor of the Senate to blame Republicans for denying global warming? His main concern about the victims is a way to push a liberal agenda. We also have hateful tweets from liberals, but that’s simply redundant. Last I recall, when our president went to Texas to talk about economic recovery, he then took an unplanned detour to West, Texas to make a political speech while comforting the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion. The same has been done in Joplin, Mo., and I fully expect the same to happen in Moore, Okla.

Let’s face it:  The most dangerous place on the planet isn’t the path of a natural disaster, but the space between an agenda-driven liberal and a camera.

Did I want to make this column political? No, I didn’t. The fact is others already have and some will continue to do so as long as the story works for their political benefit. You might say our president going to Moore and seeing the devastation firsthand is very presidential. I may or may not agree with you. I’ll wait for what he says first. Given his track record, I remain skeptical it won’t be political.

However, I do know, admire and praise what Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, had to say: “Our people are very strong and they will make it through this. So we’re going to need a lot of prayer and a lot of support to get back on our feet.”

Governor Fallin, may I speak for many and say you have our prayers, and may God bless your good citizens with more than they could possibly fathom in their recovery.