|F5 Tornado - Topeka, KS. 1966|
Tornadoes are measured on the Fujita Scale, named for University of Chicago Meteorologist Tetsuya Fujita, who developed the scale in 1971 (my sweet friend Chris will be so excited that I've done some research on his lifelong obsession, even if I actually learned that from a movie long before I met him). The scale goes from 1 to 5. An F5 tornado is massive and consists of winds up to 300+ MPH. The description of an F5 (via) is terrifying:
"Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 m (109 yd); trees debarked; steel reinforced concrete structures badly damaged."
That's what happened in Oklahoma, today. "Incredible Damage." And it was. The footage on TV and on line is horrifying. As if this writing, there are no final figures, so I won't talk about casualties. I will talk about brave teachers who led their students to safety. I'll never understand why people no longer respect nor approve of teachers. It's no wonder no one wants to go into teaching, anymore.
But that's neither here nor there. In the wake of this tragedy, as with any natural disaster, myself and everyone like me is going to be blamed for it. In fact, I am certain that as of this writing, some wingnut Evangelical has said the tornadoes were 'God's' punishment for the country's sinful attitudes towards Queer people. Seriously. Don't wait too long before Shirley Phelps and her viperous kinfolk show up to blame a random act of nature on me; my friends; my family and everyone like us. And then there's Pat Robertson, whom I am sure will simply disregard actual, proven science and say that 'God' is vengeful and wrathful and wants to punish us for our sins. I have to wonder why 'God' would take his anger out on a region mostly populated by Robertson's kind of Christians. Shouldn't an angry supreme being have better targets of destruction? Vegas, maybe. L.A. and New York and San Francisco? Hello? Key West? Provincetown? Miami? New Hope? No, 'God' chooses Moore, OK, right in the middle of the Bible Belt. What kind of a-hole supreme being punishes the pious for the sins of the wicked? The Judeo-Christian God of Abraham is pretty much a dick, by those standards.
Meteorologists often refer to an F5 as "The Finger of God." This leads me think of 'God' as a petulant child, swiping away anthills and crushing those ants left behind with his thumb. Either that, or he's a psychopath. I think the thought of 'God' as a snot-nosed 6-year-old psychopath actually scares me much more than the thought of my own mortality. How cruel would it be if we were all living at the whim of a lunatic toddler?
Like any natural disaster, today's events take a psychological toll on everyone, no matter what one believes. But the great thing about humanity is this: We get back up. We fix what's broken. We move on, no matter how painful it may be to do so. Some folks turn to their faith, which is perfectly fine. Some folks volunteer, which is even better because it actually accomplishes something.
Here's some rather scary footage from today's event (via):
First and foremost, these folks need food, water, clothing and medicine. Donate to your local Red Cross or start your own drive. Uncle P was inconvenienced for a few days last October by Sandy. I don't even want to think about what these poor people are going through. Want to make a difference? Don't waste your time praying. Send a blanket, some canned food or a couple of bucks. It'll do so much more good.