This week delivered calamities both unavoidable and avoidable. In the former category was the devastating series of tornadoes that swept through Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, killing 24, including 10 children. In the latter was the collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington. The bridge's breakdown should come as no surprise, as it had been labeled "functionally obsolete" by the Federal Highway Administration. And we can expect more such tragedies, since one in nine bridges in America is considered "structurally deficient." The week also brought discussion of another avoidable calamity -- the negative impact civilian deaths from drone strikes is having on our national security. Unavoidable disasters will always be with us, which is why it's all the more important to avoid those we can, instead of pretending there's nothing to be done to prevent them.
Some weeks, not much happens in political news, and other weeks it seems like almost too much happens. This was one of the latter types of week.
As we help Moore, Oklahoma, recover from this tragic event, we should also be looking for opportunities to spare the next town, by advocating and implementing safer building, planning and emergency strategies before disaster strikes.
Children need a place to recover, and their parents need a safe space for them as they take on the many tasks needed to rebuild their lives. That, along with rebuilding the community itself, will take time.
There we were: 15 people -- members of the neighborhood, many of us strangers until that moment -- and my two dogs, crammed together in a small in-ground storm shelter. We listened to the radio: "The tornado is approaching 4th and Bryant." We were located off of 1st and Bryant.
Think about what it is you want your donation to accomplish and then make sure you select the charity that is doing that type of work.
If we are willing to build gymnasiums and ball fields for our children to play in, shouldn't we be willing to invest as well in their safety and welfare? We shouldn't stop at building safe rooms in areas like Moore.
It was as bad as it gets. The places we consider safe suddenly looked like a war zone. Teachers used their own bodies to shield students, keeping them safe from falling debris as an entire school collapsed upon them.
Moore, Oklahoma, is in the middle of what is known as Tornado Alley -- an area where cold, dry air from Canada and the Rockies meets warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to create the unstable conditions that cause tornados.
May the bereft find comfort. May there be a healing of body and soul. May acts of kindness and memory inspire us to draw out our best selves and to strive to mend a broken world.
Along with making a donation to agencies supporting those affected by the tornado, a really good thing for all families to do is to make some disaster plans of their own.
I understand fully the abusive theology of Piper because I used it and I have had it used on me. This abusive theology comes from a rather dark place in each of us. Some of us have learned to control it or ignore it or overcome it. Others use it for gain.
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Lately, does it feel like we are on a treadmill running from disaster to tragedy, while reacting to situations unimaginable? The news of the devastating EF5 tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., came via Facebook in a Monday evening panic.
With every weatherman on local TV screaming, "Don't get in your car," how could I possibly save my mother when I live 15 minutes away in OKC? The short, gut-wrenching decision was simple: I couldn't. Dear god, I couldn't.
Oklahomans accept that we live in a vulnerable place geographically. Moreover, we know with such geography come some very hard times. We've become good at repeating the cycle as often as necessary. We're prepared and good at it. The sum total of all this is resiliency.