Thursday, April 3, 2008

[Insert Obligatory 'We're not in Kansas anymore' Joke Here]

Currently, I sitting at my computer (obviously), but with something slightly different about the situation: I am in a 30-minute all-clear before another tornado hits Searcy. After sitting in the first floor hallway of my dorm for about 10 minutes a little while ago while there was a tornado warning, they said we could go back to our rooms for a while until the sirens go off again.

This isn't a huge deal (well, depends on how you rank being crammed into a hall full of loud, sweaty, and, er, fragrant guys, but I'll deal), but it is pretty annoying to have to keep being shuffled around at this hour. Last time Searcy had tornadoes, at least while I was here, was a couple years ago, but it was during the day so we didn't get forced anywhere since we weren't in the dorms, and I actually went and looked at the tornado, along with several other Harding students. I find myself fascinated by tornadoes, though not having been directly affected by one, I'm sure my outlook in this area is a bit naive. However, there is no denying they are amazing things, at least from a scientific or meteorological perspective.

Anyways, I thought I would make a quick update and ask for storm stories. What's the worst situation you've ever been in concerning severe weather, from storms to tornadoes to hail or whatever. Go ahead and throw in earthquake stories or meteor strikes as well. Any close calls? Like I said earlier, the most a tornado's ever done to me is cause me to spend a few hours in the part of my house that is built sort of into a hill, which was a minor inconvenience. It seems that those of us here at Harding and in the surrounding areas may be in for a fairly long night, if the alerts keep happening, but as far as I know, nothing's happened yet. I'm sure there are plenty of other stories out there.


Jess said...

Hmm. "Fragrant" isn't really the term I'd use.


Probably the worst situation (which was horrible primarily because it was boring) was in fall of 2004 when we had those 3-4 hurricaines all hit central FL within a couple weeks. Two of them moved really slow, so twice for two days we were sitting in the dark playing Uno by candlelight. With no air conditioning. The first hurricaine went by in about an hour and didn't really do much damage, and the fourth one changed directions and hit the panhandle instead of us.

I don't really like Uno very much anymore.

christopher said...

I went out in the hallway for a bit, but it was just too hot out there. And my window faces the courtyard and is tucked away in the corner behind the back porch of the dorm. So I might have gone back in my room.

I posted a pic of AccuWeather's radar image of the storm at about that point.

christopher said...

"And my window faces the courtyard and is tucked away in the corner behind the back porch of the dorm."

As in, my room is probably about as safe as the dorm hallway. I would have made this more clear had I not posted my comment at 2 in the morning.

-F- said...

Well...there are two types of poopin storms. The storms that inconvenience me the most, and the storms that inconvenience my bowels the most.

I'd say in the fist category the worst was the big ice storm my senior year in HS. We were without power for over a week. Sad thing was, our neighbors had power back after the first day, so the power company put us down in the low priority list.

2nd category was probably the storm that wiped downtown Arkedelphia off the map. I was over in Maumelle at a friend's house in 7th grade when I saw that HUGE wall cloud coming and it was a big "oh crap" moment. We called parents and such, got picked up, drove the torrential rain back home only to immediately take cover in the bathroom because there were tornadoes coming down in LR. Add the fact that I had watched Twister not that long before and you've got the Perfect not the movie, I never watched it.

Jeremy said...

Jess: fragrant's pretty much the least vulgar thing i could come up with. the entire experience last night was an offense to my senses.

chris: i stayed in my room for a while after the second time we were supposed to go down (mine's in the middle of the second floor, so it's probably a bit less safe than yours was), but then they sent around the RAs to make us all come down. I wouldn't have cared, except our dorm mom was continually patronizing us over the PA system, telling us to act our age and threatening us with fines if we tried to leave, etc., as if she thought that if she didn't, we were all going to run out, find the tornado and throw ourselves inside. it was quite annoying.

james: yeah, we had power out on several occasions, namely, those big ice storms we got every few years. it can get quite annoying, but we'd always get a big fire going and cook on camping stoves and such, so it wasn't too bad if it only lasted a day or two. we never had it out for more than a week, that I can remember.

christopher said...

Yeah, I live in Keller. Our dorm mom, instead of telling us to act like adults, treats us like adults. There was an announcement on the intercom, but the RA's did not make sure we were in the hall. Also, there were people leaving as they wished. You know, since this isn't elementary school.

Jeremy said...

i really like mrs. nesbitt. she's always been great. i don't even know what our dorm mom's name is here.

Drew said...

The second tornado formed over my parent's neighborhood (Loop Road) in Sherwood and touched down approximately one hundred yards from their house. The house it touched down on had one half of it ripped clean off and destroyed. The entire landscape looks like it has been ripped apart because all of the trees have been snapped or uprooted and then tossed about by the resulting shear winds.

It is only by God's grace that my parents are still alive and that their house is still standing.

That being said, I enjoyed the storm on much better terms because of the compulsory hall-camping. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the guys in Cone because there are a lot of great people who live there who I do not get to see over the normal course of my day. Granted I was very tired the next day because my roommate and I were hitting the lights as the first announcement to go to the hall was made, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend that time socializing with my fellow students after the initial surprise.

Jeremy, tornadoes are intensely cool, I agree. I'm also sorry that your dorm mom patronized you. That is really not a good way to handle the situation as a dorm mom and still maintain any level of respect from among your dorm residents. It is completely uncalled for when her primary focus should be the safety of her residents, not belittling their respective persons.

Chris, I'm really sorry that your dorm mom didn't check up better on you guys. Without some follow up by RAs, you can run into a very dangerous situation if someone is asleep in a room alone or listening to music/playing a game/taking a shower/whatever and never hears the announcement. What happens then if a tornado really does come through? It may be possible for them to realize that one is about to hit and to take appropriate action-I personally don't know what the tornado sounds like when its approaching you from within a dorm room, so it is very well possible it could be discernible from just a normal heavy rain sound-but there is also at least decent possibility that they would not be able to tell when one was coming until a flying piece of debris had struck the dorm or a piece of the dorm itself had blown away. That is too dangerous of a situation just to be left up in the air, and she is disrespecting you as adults and residents of her dorm by not following up better on your safety.

I think Mama Cox handled it better than both of the other dorm mom situations described because she made a simple, clear, concise announcement to the dorm residents and then had the RAs check and make sure everyone knew what to do. Then, when the appropriate time came, she posted a watch on the doors to help ensure both that no one left unwittingly and that anyone who needed to get in to shelter could get in quickly and safely. There was no patronizing involved, there was merely a respect for both our dignity as adults and our safety as residents of her dorm.

This is another aside just for you Chris. Allowing someone to leave the dorm when the tornado sirens are going off is not treating them like an adult; it is allowing them act like an idiot. There is a careful distinction between those phrases, because in this situation an adult knows when it is beneficial to have an authority to respect and submit to, and an idiot thinks that they can act freely to the detriment of their own health and the health of others.

It's much the same situation as when you are swimming at a public pool and a thunderstorm arises. The lifeguards force you to leave the water so that no one accidentally gets fried by a bolt of lightning. They have to respect your dignity and safety as public citizens.

The bottom line for all of this is, tornadoes are really cool, even if they do massive amounts of damage to stuff, hanging out with random people who I don't get to see very often in the hallway is a lot of fun, and that dorm moms have to be responsible for the safety of their residents while still giving them respect as adults.

Sorry for the long comment. The events have been heavy on my mind this weekend. I hope that everyone else had a good weekend once some of the rain cleared away!

christopher said...

I think adults should be free to be idiots.

But then again, I'm a liberal.

Drew said...

I'm going to attempt to draw a syllogism from your statement; correct me where I misstep.

1) Adults should be free to be idiots.

2) Murdering another person is an idiotic action.

From (1) and (2) we can conclude (3):

3) Adults should be free to murder people.

I know that is an extreme example, but it makes a point: being an adult does not entitle you to the freedom of being an idiot, as you will come to find. Being an adult only entitles you to be an idiot as long as your idiocy does not adversely affect other people.

In our tornado situation, your dorm mom is responsible for the safety of the residents of her building in inclement weather as per Harding's policy. Therefore if she knowingly allows you to leave the dorm when there is a known and imminent threat of a tornado, and you are killed by the tornado, then the responsibility is not just your own, but hers as well.

Some of us believe that being an adult is not having the freedom to be an idiot, but instead shouldering the responsibility of being accountable to those you interact with. This belief tends to transcend labels like "conservative" or "liberal."

Just something to think about.

christopher said...

Their is a HUGE flaw with your illustration.

The right to idiocy I was talking about is the students' right to leave the dorm at their own risk. The dorm mom allowing them to do this is not her expressing her own right, but simply allowing the students their right. Students were informed of the risk, and then allowed to act as they saw fit.

Of course, when I said adults should have the right to be idiots, I meant at their own risk and not at the risk of others.

Obviously, drunk driving is an idiocy they we should not allowed. But if an adult wants to go play in a deadly storm, that's his or her business.

Jeremy said...

I agree with Chris. The murder example has really nothing to do with the type of situation we're talking about. It is not Harding's or our dorm moms' responsibility to fully protect us from every possible danger. It might be their responsibility to provide that protection, or at least some measure of it, but it's our decision (or at least, should be) to take advantage of what they make available.

It's sort of stupid to think that her position of authority/responsibility over the students in her dorm allows her full control over their actions in situations she or Harding might consider dangerous. Icy roads, fog at night? She could say students were not allowed to use their cars and would be fined if they tried. An incredibly hot day? Students are not allowed to be outside more than an hour at a time without sunscreen and a bottle of water. It's a short stretch from the doctrine of "protecting people from themselves" to totalitarianism.

I agree that people's idiocy that ENDANGERS other people should be controlled, but you can't even go so far as to say people's idiocy that just affects other people should be. It's that whole freedom thing we're so fond of here.

I'm surprised at you, Drew: I would have thought you would know that at many times, adult and idiot are synonymous. Or better yet, person and idiot. If you want to call only those people who "know when it is beneficial to have an authority to respect and submit to" adults, there won't be a ton of them left, at least, if you say if they act like and idiot they are one. If you can show me a single person alive today who's never acted like an idiot, let me know.

That said, that is why some protections are put in place, like we've all said. But still, different circumstances call for different measures. Yes, lifeguards make people get out of the pool, but they don't then say, oh and you have to stay in the poolhouse (or whatever the structures near pools are called). That is saying you can't be in one specific area that has a very high danger possibility. Saying you have to stay in the dorm is nothing like that. That restricts your movement into one small spot, which people hate. We're all used to being told there are certain areas we can't go; people hate having certain areas you can't leave, and it's insulting to our intelligence when they say not only do we have to stay, but she's going to fine us if we leave. Whether leaving is an idiotic thing or not, I think people should have been able to if they wanted, and I think that she shouldn't have threatened us with fines and such.