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By Fred Black

Mother Nature, Human Nature

By Fred Black Posted August 30, 2011 at 1:32 am

After this latest experience with a weather event provided by Mother Nature, it’s very clear that she has her own plans and can change them anytime she wants. In spite of the technological wonders employed by some of our most brilliant minds, Mother Nature seems always to have the upper hand. So in the absence of certainty, is anyone surprised by what happens when that certain element of human nature kicks in?
Yes, there’s that quality of human nature that reveals itself in so many ways when Mother Nature sends an event our way. How many were surprised by the people who believed the whole thing was overdone by the media? How many were surprised by the people who refused to evacuate when the order to do so went out? How many were surprised to see the people playing in the water when they were told how dangerous it was? How many were surprised by the people who were genuinely angry when their favorite shows were preempted because of media coverage of the impending storm?
It appears that every time we have one of these events we get the cries of it was over hyped and there was just too much hoopla. I guess human nature leads some not to want too much information, early warnings or constant updates until it isn’t provided, then that other aspect of human nature kicks in, anger. Then the argument is reversed and the critics say the government didn’t do enough to warn and prepare people.
Clearly Hurricane Irene had great potential to do major damage to our community and I feel blessed that we dodged that bullet. Our good fortune of only experiencing minor tree damage and some power outages was not, however, what others experienced. Irene is responsible for at least two dozen lost lives and it may go up. Millions and millions of dollars in property damage is an early estimate and surely, more and higher damage estimates are to come. Look at those pictures of the destruction on NC Highway 12.  There’s no telling how long those residents will have to deal with having no road. It’s a good bet that plenty of people out there don’t see this storm as a “non-event!”
Mother Nature also has a way of affecting politics at all levels. We have read about the elected official who was not at his or her post when Mother Nature delivered a blow, and a good number of those politicians “paid” for being absent. Human nature also means that the long knives come out when the elected officials are constantly on TV with new information and updates. Surly they are only milking the storm for political advantage, some will say. But notice that human nature as we know it means that some will have something to say no matter what elected officials do.
One can only conclude that human nature being what it is, future events that Mother Nature might bring us will mean that we will see and hear many of the same reactions. We will also hear from the political “talking heads” that will politicize whatever good faith action taken by elected leaders because that’s their nature. And human nature being what it is, some will believe whatever that hear and thankfully, some won’t. In my book, if we are to error, I want us to error on the side of caution and safety.
 
I would only hope that whenever Mother Nature might send us another major event, we would not have become so weary of storm warnings that we let the worse of our human nature overtake our good judgment. I know that’s asking a lot but the alternatives are unacceptable to me.  What do you think?
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