“Better safe than sorry” is not a truism. In fact, it’s more often wrong than right.
Too much safety is its own danger. If you stayed in a wheelchair all the time, your muscles and bones would soon become so weak that walking really would be dangerous.
Mothers who try to protect their children from too much, of course, end up raising adults who are a danger to themselves, unable to deal with real-life situations once they’re out from their mother’s skirts.
And it’s no coincidence that our ever more “protective” government is called a nanny state; it does the same thing to us, even as adults.
But, in the case of the needlessly deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri, this burden of destructive protection caused death in a whole different way:
Another response some children, and plenty of adults, have to a needlessly smothering authority is to stop taking safety seriously, even when it matters.
In 1973, the Joplin area responded to a particularly damaging by dramatically lowering its standards to include “dangerous” rainstorms, not just tornadoes. This means that when you hear a tornado warning in Joplin, it probably isn’t a tornado.
On top of that, the standards for what to trigger a tornado warning, nationally, has changed more recently to not require any actual tornado. At one time, this was called a “watch”, but now “there might be a tornado” triggers a false alert, not just a watch.
In fact, because of such “better safe than sorry” alarmism, there three quarters of all tornado alerts are false alarms, nationally. Therefore, people have wisely started ignoring tornado warnings.
Thanks to this, plus the abuse of the system for mere thunderstorms:
When the second-worst tornado in sixty years hit Joplin, people did what they’d, quite rationally, learned to do whenever the tornado siren went off; ignored it.
A pair of national media journalists, coincidentally in town for other reasons, felt the normal east coaster’s panic at the sound of tornado sirens, but were puzzled to discover that everyone else just went about their business, as if nothing were wrong.
This has happened many times in the past decades, and the locals had always been correct to sneer at it..
But — this one time — there was an actual, deadly tornado bearing down on them.
Sadly, the Culture of Safety has turned into the fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
How many lives would have been saved without the government’s ridiculous alarmism?
Just seven years later, with warnings legalized and an siren system in place, a nearly identical tornado hit a nearly identical urban area, and only resulted in 15 deaths.
Now that progress has been undone, by the increased in government busybody mentality.
The way I see it, government alarmism is responsible for horrible, avoidable deaths of at least 100 people in Joplin, Missouri…and probably a large part of the other tornado-related deaths this year, for similar reasons.