December 28, 2013
The Siren that Cried Wolf
Picture yourself in Tornado Alley, it’s a bright sunny day, you’re at the park having a great day with your children, then the tornado siren sounds. What do you do? It’s sunny outside, you look up and there are no clouds to be seen. Do you take cover or do you continue enjoying your day at the park? Is it 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, when they are testing the sirens? No, it is 3:37 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. This is a serious problem that plagues the Midwest every spring. Sirens become common place and are often ignored, simply because most people have heard this siren more times than they can count, yet they have never once seen a tornado. Now, let us take a look at what happens when the tornado sirens sound and there is a real threat, yet people ignore it because, “Tornados don’t happen in Joplin”. (This essay will not be cited because it is all based on first-hand experience)
Joplin, Missouri: Population of over 50,000. It’s a Sunday afternoon, May 22, 2011. High School graduation had just taken place and the local MSSU. Everyone is celebrating and having a great time. As the graduates and their family exit the building to further their celebration, the tornado siren sounds. It is 5:19 p.m. Just like any other siren, most of the families choose to ignore the warning, after all, most elderly I had spoken to had only one thing to say, “I have lived in Joplin for over 50 years and I have never seen a tornado”. I was continuously reassured, “We don’t get tornadoes here”. This was reissuance enough, for most.
As for me, I was standing outside on my front porch with my mom. One of the neighbors was outside mowing his lawn. My mom and I were standing around talking when we heard the siren. She had a look of terror on her face. She was not used to hearing sirens. As for me, I was giggling at her reaction. I had been watching the weather though, and knew this could...
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