Sunday, 28 August 2011

Hurricanes and Harrumphs

Hurricanes can be very dangerous.  Hurricanes can be deadly. The combination of extremely high winds and severe rainfall with widespread flooding, (and with the possible “spawning” of tornadoes) can cause great damage to beaches, woods, roads, houses and commercial buildings.  Those conditions can be deadly to both man and beast. 


The case in point is Hurricane Katrina (2005).  At least 1836 people died as a result of that storm, and there was an estimated $81 billion worth of property damage. 


No one has every estimated the damage to hopes, to dreams, to ambitions, or to family and community life after Katrina. That damage was greater than we could imagine, and six years on, it is far from being repaired. 


I do not minimise the possibly catastrophic effects of any hurricane.


But it’s also true to say that Hurricanes “have a mind of their own”. 


1. They can form, un-form, and re-form.

2. They can “come in like a lion and go out like a lamb” as they churn over the ocean - but never reach the land. 

3.  They can change trajectory and speed. 


All this is basic science and meteorology. But you’d never know this if your only source of information was from radio, T.V. or the internet. 


Case in point.


I rarely, if ever watch T.V.  (‘tis true).  But I turned to CNN at about 7:30 a.m. today to “get the latest” on Hurricane Irene. 


CNN’s reportage was distressingly short on facts and information.  


But it had an abundance of speculation.  Breathless, melodramatic, and over-excited “reporters” rarely told us what had happened, or even what was happening. 


Instead they nattered incessantly about all the awful possibilities if “this, that, or the other” might happen.


It seems that many T.V. reporters have become “drama queens”.


They are ill-informed speculators in the markets of disaster.  They prostitute their skills in favour of drama. 


They do not report on what happened. 


Instead they major in the speculative “information stock exchange”; and trade in a “news casino” in which opinions and prognostications trump the facts.  


Harrumph again.

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