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off topic open thread

Open Thread for discussion of Oklahoma Tornado

As I write this, it’s too early to know how extensive the destruction in Oklahoma is. Property damage is immense, but there aren’t any reliable reports of casualties yet. Hopefully all Man Boobz readers and their loved ones in the area are safe.

Use this thread to discuss the disaster, and anything else that’s been concerning you of late.

EDITED TO ADD: The death toll has now reached 51, and is expected to rise. now stands at 24.

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Aaliyah
7 years ago

@Aaliyah: I can’t tell for sure, but is your new Gravatar Lina Inverse?

Indeed it is.

Falconer
7 years ago

Indeed it is.

Awesome. The Slayers is radically cheesy, but we stopped watching after the tiny cleric woman showed up in the first series because we got distracted, and I’ve never seen the manga anywhere.

AK
AK
7 years ago

So I woke up to hearing reports of 91 fatalities, but as of now it’s been revised DOWN to 24, thankfully.

A friend of mine was dispatched with her search dog, and I’m waiting on word whether I’d be in the way or helpful but I may be heading over to help with the rescue efforts as well. I specialize in wilderness rescue so I don’t know yet if I’ll be useful, I have some disaster/FEMA training but not much. Word is things are extremely chaotic on the ground there, which is not surprising.

And since we’re all animal lovers, I hope you all saw this: (warning, it made me cry):

And for all the cat lovers, this obviously wasn’t Moore but a similarly bittersweet tornado story:

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

AK, I bet your skills would come in really handy in Moore. That’s wonderful your friend has a rescue dog, too. They are so useful for getting people out of rubble.

I’ve contacted Convoy of Hope and the Red Cross to see where they could use me and my husband this weekend, because my mom can watch the kids for us. I’m the same way like you are and won’t just go on my own because today’s Globe had a Red Cross guy saying

“If you are interested in volunteering, we ask at the request of the local Emergency Management in Oklahoma that you not self-deploy. This can cause delays in the current efforts which are search, rescue and recovery.”

It’s better to help with organized groups that can tell us where we are needed and where we would just be in the way. And I get all that. I remember how chaotic things were during the search and rescue phase in Joplin, and they kept everyone out of the worst areas. We weren’t even allowed back to our own property for several days without getting permits from the city, because they wanted to reduce traffic. It was frustrating at the time, but it was the right thing to do.

I enjoyed the kitty video from Tuscaloosa and the doggy one from Moore. It makes me happy to see good endings like that. The lady in Moore reminds me of one of my neighbors that survived our tornado, but she lost her dog. Before the storm hit, she yelled out to her dogs to come in but one wouldn’t. She had to give up on getting him, though, because the tornado was too close and she needed to take cover herself. Luckily both she and her girlfriend survived, but sadly she never saw the dog again. There was another guy here in Joplin that gave up his own life to save his dogs. He had used his own body to shield the dogs.

Pretty soon the Humane Society will probably be going to Moore to take in lost pets and try to reunite them with their owners or adopt them out to new owners. Tornado pets usually get adopted out pretty quickly, because people feel sorry for them and its another way to help after a disaster.

Myoo
Myoo
7 years ago

I only heard about this a while ago, my thoughts go out to the people in Oklahoma.

AK
AK
7 years ago

Yeah, I’m kind of waiting to see if they need my specific skills, because I have to weigh it against the fact that Memorial Day weekend tends to be really busy for wilderness rescue in my area, and I may not want to be gone for it unless I really have something to add in Moore. My friend is actually a teammate (she does both wilderness and urban searches with her dogs, but since I train my dogs as cadaver dogs as well as for live searches they can’t be FEMA-certified for live disaster rescue so we just do wilderness), so she’s kind of being my go-between since she knows what my skills are. I may be more valuable at home with my dog than in Moore shifting rubble, at least for the next week or so.

I think it’s great that you and your husband are going to go volunteer, and that you’re doing it so intelligently. I know how chaotic even small incidents can get, I can’t imagine trying to coordinate rescue efforts at a major disaster like that. And I’m so glad that you and your family are safe.

AK
AK
7 years ago

Well, looks like I’m going to be staying home through the weekend and my friend and her dog is probably going to come home within the next couple of days…early reports are that they’ve cleared each house on a preliminary search and most of them on a secondary one. The media is saying they want to clear each building at least 3 times to make sure there isn’t anyone trapped, but they’re well on their way from the sounds of it.

They’ll still need plenty of help with salvage and supporting people who lost everything though, and I’ll probably head over after Memorial Day weekend to help with that.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

@AK

They’ll still need plenty of help with salvage and supporting people who lost everything though, and I’ll probably head over after Memorial Day weekend to help with that.

That is very good.

It is just as helpful to help with long term recovery as it is to help with short term rescue operations. Sometimes a disaster area gets a lot of money and help at first, but then as media coverage moves to something else, the help slows down even though the need doesn’t. The camera crews move on and people everywhere else kind of forget even while the victims are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.

I saw another amazing story from Moore. A woman and her boyfriend survived the Moore tornado by hiding in a storm drain. Her boyfriend used his body to cover and protect her, and luckily he wasn’t injured either. It gets more amazing because this same woman also survived the Joplin tornado. Wow, what are the odds that someone could be in two F5’s and survive both? She is a very strong woman, that’s for sure.

Woman survived two tornadoes

cloudiah
7 years ago

More evidence that feminists hate men:
http://www.shakesville.com/2013/05/photo-of-day_21.html

Warning: Photo may make you cry. It made me cry. But I am sure somehow Shakesville posted it to hate men & boys, because that is just what feminists do right? Right?

Kittehserf
7 years ago

::wipes eyes::

damn autumn pollen

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Today is the two year anniversary of Joplin, so Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will be coming to a memorial service. I’ll go with the kids, too, to show my respect for the people that died. She’ll go to Moore next to give them encouragement.

Today’s ceremony was originally going to be about celebrating how well we’ve recovered, but now that Moore is in a crisis, the mood will probably be much more somber. It doesn’t seem right any more to celebrate our recovery now that the people of Moore are in pain.

I also found a story where the dad of Will Norton tells the families in Moore not to hurt themselves by second guessing everything they did before the storm. I thought this part was really sad

Mark Norton, who lost his 18-year-old son, Will Norton, in the Joplin tornado, said people in Moore are probably doing a lot of second-guessing. The Nortons were two blocks from home in their SUV when the twister struck, sucking Will out of his seat belt from the sunroof as he returned from high school graduation ceremonies.

Mark Norton said he has thought many times that if they had been just a minute earlier in driving to the house, Will might be alive. People in Moore may be wishing they would have taken their kids from school or that the twister hit slightly later, when school was out, he said.

It’s heartbreaking to think of what those parents are going through. I really hope they rebuild their schools with storm shelters like we are doing here. I want ALL schools in tornado prone areas to have safe rooms. And anyone who has enough money but doesn’t want to pay extra taxes for it should be able to tell that directly to the faces of school kids, that they consider money more important than their safety.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Sorry, I forgot the link to that quote. Here it is

Falconer
7 years ago

Jesus, the twister struck their car?!

Excuse me, I’m going to be in the corner, exploring the new and fascinating world of pissing myself that has just opened up before me.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

@Falconer, I know it’s awful. The dad held on to his son with all his might, but the twister was just too powerful. The dad’s arms broke in several places because he never let go. It’s almost too sad to write about.

*ahem* I will tell a happier Joplin story now to lift the mood a bit. Last weekend I attended my cousin’s wedding shower, and a friend of her’s was there, too. That girl was at the Home Depot in a truck when it hit. The tornado picked up the truck and threw it several hundred feet into the middle of the store. A piece of steel rebar went through her entire body, and they had to do about a dozen surgeries on her. Her cousin had a severe head injury and had to have a few brain operations. Both of them are alive and well today, though. At the shower, she was really happy, and from a glance you can’t tell she’s been through so much except for some scars on her arms. She and her cousin are both miracle kids.

pecunium
7 years ago

bionicmommy: That is the sort of, “happier” story we tell in the Army. Many people don’t understand them. Thanks. 🙂

pecunium
7 years ago

Oh… In case I blew the tone, I wasn’t being sardonic. I meant it, that was cheery.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

pecunium,

I know, I understand what you mean. It might seem like a dark, depressing story but the ending is that she survived and she is happy. To think of where she was two years ago, and then to see her at a shower chatting about the cupcakes and gifts, it was really uplifting.

Falconer
7 years ago

I was in a big car accident years and years ago. I got really banged up, but I made an almost full recovery fairly quickly and the only lasting marks are scars, a slight limp, and a tendency to lecture people about how cars are not toys.

tl;dr I can relate somewhat to the Joplin girls you’re talking about.

And may I never have to be as good a father as that Joplin father was. Excuse me, I have to go hug my babies.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

@Falconer, I am glad you recuperated relatively well from your severe car accident. That must have been quite an ordeal. That’s interesting how you say the experience makes you lecture people on automobile safety, because the Joplin tornado made the same way about weather safety. And I don’t mean to scare people when I tell them about school tornado drills being inadequate or slab foundations being a dangerous way to cut costs on home construction. I just want everyone to take the risks seriously and be safe.

I hope this doesn’t sound like spam, so call me out if so, but I wanted to mention another great disaster charity to help the children in Moore with their mental health recovery. The organization is called Art Feeds Doctors and nurses do a great job tending to survivor’s physical injuries, but psychological injuries can be just as serious. Art Feeds is a group of volunteers that reach out to children after disasters and engage them in art therapy projects. I can vouch for it being helpful and legitimate because they’ve helped both of my kids. They were there last night at the 2 year memorial service helping my kids paint, and they’ve visited all of the area schools doing work. They will go to Moore once their schools begin, too.

pecunium
7 years ago

bionicmommy: I tweeted Art Feeds. Least I could do.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Thanks, pecunium! It’s not as well known so it can use the shout out. 🙂

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Oh my word. I just read what Pat Robertson said about Moore. He said it was victims’ fault for living where tornadoes happen, and also that people would’ve been safer if they had prayed more. I can’t say I’m surprised, though. He has always been this terrible.

Don’t blame God. Blame victims.

And of course the WBC will be picketing the funerals, just like they came to Joplin to upset everyone. I’ll have to ask around and see if Joplin can send our bikers and truckers to gently persuade them to stay out of Moore like they did during Obama’s address here in 2011.

pecunium
7 years ago

On the flip side, Pope Francis said everyone is good, and redeemed, and none are not of the community of the just.

pecunium
7 years ago

And yes, the word, “redeemed” is problematic; one needs to look at in the context of the opperant belief system to see what an, apparently, radical idea it is.

Little Blue Dress
7 years ago

This tragedy is a time to talk politics. I’m pissed off that republicans are gutting education and want a blank check for the military, trillions of dollars for that, but building bomb shelters and safe rooms for our children? Too expensive! Priorities in this country are so wrong in every way.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

@pecunium,

Oh yeah, almost all churches are reaching out with compassion and support to the victims, and they are mortified that groups like WBC or the 700 Club claim to speak for their religion. Even though I’m not a Christian anymore, I know that they can not gloat over people suffering and dying and then call themselves Christians. It’s not compatible with the teachings of Jesus.

@Little Blue Dress, I agree with you completely. There is “no money” for states like Oklahoma or Missouri to offer rebates so poor and middle class people in tornado alley can get storm shelters in their homes, but there is always money to cut taxes. So families have no choice but to hide in closets and bathtubs and hope for the best.

Why won’t the federal government offer grants to schools in the south and midwest to put storm shelters in public schools? Instead, struggling communities like Joplin have to pass bonds issues to get them. We barely passed the bond to rebuild with storm shelters, and that was just one year after an F5 destroyed most of our schools. What kind of hope is there for other communities to buy storm shelters, if they don’t have such a history? Probably not much. Now I bet Moore will rebuild their schools with shelters, but there are still many other schools that still have the outdated storm plans of “hide in a hallway and duck”, even though hallways become wind tunnels full of sharp debris during tornadoes. Arggh, it’s very frustrating!

Little Blue Dress
7 years ago

Very frustrating indeed. As a society we go totally ape-shit about terrorism when the threat of natural disasters caused by global warming should be what keeps us up at night, since climate and weather cause so much more damage and take more lives. Fighting climate change and implementing stringent, energy-efficient building codes to protect people should be our focus. There absolutely is money to help communities build storm shelters, if only we’d put tax dollars toward domestic social causes instead of spending billions to remodel Gauntanamo Bay, or giving GE, Apple, and Mitt Romney extra cash to stash away in the Cayman Islands.

And who are these MRA-republican dumbshits that think attacking feminism and stopping abortion will save the world? It’s all about those evil feminists, even when a tornado or deregulated fertilizer factory explosion demolishes their kid’s school. These guys are stooges. Here’s my 2 cents: if a person isn’t a progressive thinker in this day and age, they’re useless. Democrats are no prize but republicans are the ones blocking progress.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

There absolutely is money to help communities build storm shelters, if only we’d put tax dollars toward domestic social causes instead of spending billions to remodel Gauntanamo Bay, or giving GE, Apple, and Mitt Romney extra cash to stash away in the Cayman Islands.

Yes, this. Please be the next POTUS.

And if any MRA says one word about how women never risk their own safety during a crisis, then they need to explain the actions of Anna
Cannady
During the storm, she used her body to cover the students and prayed

Just take me instead because they’re the babies.

Thankfully she survived as well as the kids with her. Even though she was trapped under a car, her main concern after the twister were the kids.

pecunium
7 years ago

bionicmommy: Her actions weren’t noble though, merely what a decent woman would do, so they aren’t worthy of comment.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

pecunium – good to hear the Pope saying that!

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

I apologize if this thread is too old and if I’m necro’ing, but I really wanted to share some happy news on this subject. I just got my monthly school newsletter and found out that my son’s school safe room will be completed this coming December, with plenty of time left over before the next storm season. This will give me so much peace of mind when school is in session on a stormy day. Another benefit is that they open the shelters to the public during after school hours if there is a tornado warning for Joplin.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Great news, thebionicmommy!

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Thanks, kittehserf. I’m just on cloud nine thinking of that shelter being there just in case, so I can be assured that my children can be safe at school, even during an F5. I think I will get ice cream for the family tonight because I’m in such a celebratory mood.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Yay for school safe rooms and shelters! Ice cream for everybody!

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@thebionicmommy

Yay for safe schools!

pecunium
7 years ago

Yay for the safe room. Many Yays!

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Right now Oklahoma City is getting hit by a huge tornado. Mike Bettes from the Weather Channel said his vehicle was thrown 200 yards by it and now it’s heading straight into the downtown area where the capital building and Will Rogers airport is. There might be another tornado in northern Moore, but I don’t know if that’s in the same area that was hit on the 20th. Sorry I don’t know the details that well yet.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Saw the weather channel vehicle on twitter, I really hope no one was in it.

thebionicmommy — please keep us posted and stay safe!

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Gods, poor Oklahoma! 🙁

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Thanks, Argenti! The sky here in Joplin looks ominous, and I’m keeping a close eye on the supercells firing up in NE OK and SE KS. A few tornadoes have formed in SW MO tonight but luckily they are not hitting populated areas. I hope we stay lucky all night, and I feel awful for everyone in Ok City going through this again so soon after their last one.

And The Weather Channel crew was in the vehicle, I think, but the airbags kept them from getting hurt. And sorry if any of this info isn’t accurate. I’m getting it all from their twitter feed, and the media doesn’t always get the details right before they send out information to the public.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

thebionicmommy — looks like they were inside, but only minor injuries — http://www.szsu.com/2013/05/31/oklahoma-twister-destroys-weather-channels-tornado-hunt-vehicle/ (images of the SUV before and after, no pics of tornado or people)

cloudiah
7 years ago

I saw that on the news and came here. So scary. I hope everyone is safe once it passes.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

So far everything is okay here tonight. We had two different tornado warnings and the sirens sounded twice, but nothing bad happened. The storms were scary, though, very intense.

I don’t know too many details on OK City or El Reno, OK yet. I have heard some parts of St. Louis got hit tonight, including the St. Louis airport. I don’t know if anyone was hurt or not. Thankfully, the Cardinals cancelled their game tonight so a there wouldn’t be a lot of people out in a stadium during a dangerous situation like that.