Archive for July 26th, 2011

Joplin, Missouri: America’s Global Warming Dilemma

posted by Jael Ever @ 10:42 AM
July 26, 2011

 Labeled as “one of the most ferocious tornadoes in American history,” the May 22nd EF-5 storm that hit Joplin, Missouri, killed 159 people, destroyed over 7,000 homes in a city with a population of 50,000, damaged the main hospital, flattened grocery stores and other businesses, put over 5,000 people out of work, turned some 18,000 cars into junk, and made the educational infra-structure inoperative as the high school and elementary school and two other schools were totally destroyed––all leaving millions of tons of debris to be cleared away.

 A quick read of the journalist, Terry Greene Sterling, who labeled the storm’s ranking in the nation’s history, easily illustrates that Joplin is, or was, an idyllic, politically conservative, typical American middle-class community.  The question now is, can, or should, this peaceful, independent town with its thriving business community, be put back together in exactly the same way again––and that with the help of a federal government which it had always avoided as distastefully wasteful.

 Calling Joplin “a national tragedy,” President Obama promised “a national response.”  Unaccustomed to accepting federal handouts or the paperwork needed to get aid, Mike Woolston, Mayor of Joplin, working with FEMA for some kind of temporary housing, said: “It’s difficult right now to project how long it will be before we get back to ‘normal,’ if we ever do get back there.”

 But, as Alan Scherzagier of the Associated Press reports, the question now is was “normal” good enough, or should the leaders of Joplin use this opportunity to make the city and its structures safer and more ecology-friendly. Scherzagier explains: “City officials, neighborhoods and families are beginning to confront decisions that involve trade-offs of cost, speed, quality and uncertainty: whether to strengthen building codes to produce better houses, but also some delay; to plot out more parks and amenities [requiring] detailed planning; to require new storm safety features that would balance peace of mind against more expense . . .”

 Anxious residents may not want to wait for a better city.  Moratoriums on new construction, as well as snail-paced federal response, adds to their angst.  Five years ago a former fire chief told the city to build badly-needed public storm shelters.  If his advice had been heeded many of those 159 citizens would be alive today.  The situation in Joplin is a perfect picture of America’s dilemma––knowing what should be done but unwilling to pay the time, price and political compromise needed to do it.  Global Warming will bring even worse storms to this nation’s cities, but national leadership gives muted if any response to its presence.  Bible prophecies warn: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14: 8).  Joplin was not prepared to battle.  The question now is will the nation be ready for Global Warming’s next attacks?

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