We're pretty sure that if someone in socalled "tornado alley" reads this column, they will have some choice words to say about northerners who don't know what they're talking about. But the events in More, Oklahoma, this week make these comments irresistible.
It's understood that we can do little to predict exactly when and where devastating weather events will hit. But there are things we can do to protect ourselves and things we can learn from past events.
We know, for instance, that tornadoes are not uncommon in Oklahoma. We also know that they can be not only devastating but deadly.
Thoughts of the nine children who died in this monster storm keep eating at us. The storm struck two elementary schools in More, neither of which had a storm shelter. We listened long and hard to hear why they didn't have a storm shelter when others schools did. Finally, we heard: It was the cost.
Newscasts in recent years have made it well known that folks in tornado-prone areas seldom have storm shelters. We really can't imagine riding out a tornado in a bathtub with a mattress pulled over our heads, and we don't understand why local, state or federal governments don't require storm shelters.
We must all do our parts to protect ourselves whenever possible from the ravages of Mother Nature. Seaside homes destroyed by flooding, for instance, should rebuild on stilts to prevent a repeat occurrence. People who live in tornado-alley should have storm shelters.
We admire the strength of the people left homeless by this week's monster storm as they vow to rebuild because they love the areas in which they live. But those who lost family members, especially children, have no such option. They cannot rebuild, they cannot replace.
Whatever the cost of those school shelters, the impact on the taxpayers must seem like pennies now. Those children were relying on the adults in their lives to protect them, and they didn't.