Monday, May 30, 2011

A Disconnect From Reality

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with family and friends at my Sister's house. There were upwards of 25 people there. A big barbecue occurred, along with much chaotic activity by the younger generation.

As the evening approached, the weather began to turn nasty. Thunder and rainstorms approached. Tornado sirens wailed off in the distance.

The normal response when hearing tornado sirens by any rational person is to immediately seek secure shelter, preferably in the basement of whatever structure you happen to be near or in. It really doesn't matter if a tornado will actually come. The point is that when and if a tornado comes, there's very little you can do to protect yourself once it's there. So the rational thing to do is to make sure you are already protected.

So what was the response of everyone there?


Everyone (but me) reacted like tornado sirens were something they heard every day.

Ask the citizens of Joplin, Missouri, if that's a good idea.

After the storms had passed--without incident, thank God--I began to ask myself why no one treated this incident as an emergency.

I can come up with several reasons, not the least of which is that the parents in the group did not want to cause panic among the crowd of youngsters, most of whom were younger than 6 years old.

But I don't think that was it. Arguments like that were used to rationalize George W. Bush's lack of action after being told about the attacks of September 11th, when he sat there looking like someone had hit him in the face with a shovel for seven minutes. I didn't buy it then, and I don't buy it now.

No, I think the real reason is more insidious: the people who dwell in the privileged world that my sister, her family, and her friends currently live in do not believe that anything bad could ever happen to them.

This is understandable, to a certain extent. It's been a long time since my sister or any of her friends had to realize the experience of living from paycheck to paycheck. Or worrying about which expense to put off until the next month because you can't afford it. Or being one major financial setback from living on the street.

I pray that they never have to find out what that feels like.

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