Shocked by Disaster

Parts of Japan were wiped off the map, with casualty estimates topping 10,000. Tragedies like this always bring out the best in Americans, who are statistically the most generous people on Earth by almost double, followed by the Brits.

A lot of people will be asking “Why did this have to happen?”

But the fact of the matter is, natural disasters happen, predictably. I’m not saying that you can necessarily predict when, but nature follows a pattern that we should be smart enough to see.

Every year, hurricanes wipe out half of the southeast US coastal towns. Earthquakes are harder to predict, but they always happen along fault lines… and we know where those are. Tsunamis are also fairly predictable, since we know where the faults are, where shock waves will send the tsunami, and where the low lying areas are that are vulnerable to such an event. We know that wildfires occur in… um…. forests. We know that volcanoes occasionally erupt. We know that rivers rise higher than normal every few years, and WAY above normal at least every 100 years.


I realize that often the areas susceptible to such natural disasters are pretty. I really do. I’ve been to San Fransisco. It’s a pretty place. I’d like to live somewhere with their view. I would not, however, like to be killed by a natural disaster if at all possible. Even if I could afford to live there, I wouldn’t. It’s simply foolish.

New Orleans was a perfect example. It’s surrounded by water and situated conveniently BELOW sea level. But we’re shocked (and apparently racists) because the ocean found a way to get into the city. To me, once burned twice shy. It’s not as if we’re running out of room in the US. Have you ever driven I-70 across the country? It’s effing empty. You could relocate the population of New Orleans to the middle of Kansas and no one would even notice. But what do we do instead? We spend eleventy jillion dollars rebuilding the same stupid city in the same stupid place. We spend eleventy jillion more dollars trying to build a better levy system, which will work great for 100 years until a REALLY big hurricane comes along, and then we’ll be shocked once again.

We are so damn stupid. And by “we” I mean “people who live in natural disaster zones by choice.” The Earth will only try to kill you if you live somewhere you shouldn’t.

  2 comments for “Shocked by Disaster

  1. livieloo
    March 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. I’m happy in Kansas where I get fair warning when there’s a tornado coming so I can run to my basement.
    I think you meant to write “places” in all caps.

  2. March 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Call me shockingly selfish, but I wish the generousity of Americans would turn inwards to the million and a half unemployed and all those without health insurance!

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