The odds of being struck by a tornado in the Great State of Kansas are 1 in 4.5 million.
As I’ve said before… when you live where the Twisters live, you MUST be prepared! It’s a matter of LIFE or DEATH.
When I was a younger man, I had a friend with a pickup truck. When the sirens would sound, we’d try and chase down the path of the tornadoes as they rolled through Olathe. We never got “lucky” enough to see one, but we saw more than our share of extreme weather events. Massive hail, rotating straight-line winds, fallen trees… mild, compared to what we wanted to see.
Some years we would chase down one or two storms. Some years, it was one storm every 3 or 4 DAYS. We even crossed paths with the “professionals”. A little pat on the back for ourselves, knowing we were close.
Understanding how these systems work is key when doing something so dangerous. Being able to read the radar and satellite returns accurately, then taking that information and applying it to events unfolding on the ground in real time, is crucial. Miss one piece of data, and you end up right in front of the storm.
As random and chaotic as they are, to a certain degree these storms are predictable; and living in this State means we are ALL required to have a degree in meteorology! Well… at least, an intimate knowledge of how the weather works.
The tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, changed all that for me. That one was a beast of another kind. The speed at which it traveled. The speed of the winds within the system. The trail of destruction it left behind and the suddenness with which it appeared… they only had moments to react.
These systems were starting to Change.
Understanding this, I had to consider not only my safety, but the safety of my children. It was obvious a simple ‘hide in the basement’ strategy would no longer be sufficient. Had that storm dropped over my home… there would have been nothing left.
I had to act as if it would happen again. So we constructed a storm shelter in our basement, based on FEMA designs, that could withstand an EF5 tornado.
THIS TIME it was Joplin. Next time, we might not be so fortunate.
“On the night of August 24, 1814, British troops led by Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn marched on Washington, D.C. and set fire to most of the city. Dolley Madison famously saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington and a copy of the Declaration of Independence before she fled to nearby Georgetown.
The British didn’t stay long, though; their occupation lasted just 26 hours. What happened?”
“George Robert Gleig, a British soldier on the scene, detailed what happened next in his memoirs as the severe thunderstorm rolled into the city in the afternoon.
‘Of the prodigious force of the wind it is impossible for you to form any conception. Roofs of houses were torn off by it, and whisked into the air like sheets of paper, while the rain which accompanied it resembled the rushing of a mighty cataract rather than the dropping of a shower,’ Gleig wrote.”
This isn’t about Donald Trump or Joe Biden. This isn’t about Republican vs. Democrat. This is about the FUTURE of our Nation, and what it is we want that future to BE.
RIGHT NOW, before all the nuance and intricacy. The endless debates over the delicate balance between our individual Liberty and the necessity of the government to defend itself from ALL enemies, both foreign and domestic. Before the political posturing and deliberative delays, we have a chance to declare exactly where we STAND.
Do we now support those who would incite violent actions for political gain? That is a slippery slope, and we all know where it will lead us in the END.
We have come SO FAR! And the only way we keep moving FORWARD is by taking a STAND. After having been within that majestic building, I can’t imagine how anyone would allow these actions to stand as precedent for a future President.
Had those people stopped and looked around them, they would have seen the scars from the LAST TIME our Capitol was taken by force. In such a hallowed hall, in the People’s House, it’s not about who resides within that building…
It’s about the ideals for which those hallowed halls continue to STAND.
… and may they STAND for another 207 YEARS without this happening again.