In Pursuit of the Storm

Note:  This was drafted before the news of the passing of Tim Samaras and his team.  His passing changes nothing in this blog, but it changes much in the storm chasing community.  My thoughts are with the families of this unfortunate event.

 

In the meteorology world, spring is the time of year where storm chasers from all over the world descend upon the Great Plains of the United States in hopes of seeing a tornado.  As sinister as that might sound, most of them want to see a tornado out in the many areas of open expanses in these states- not tornadoes in towns or affecting people or property.  When a tornado does affect an area, storm chasers are often the first ones on the scene, notifying authorities and helping with search and rescue operations.

Many people reading this blog will have no idea what would possess someone to chase a storm.  For those, I want you to bear with me on this article, because eventually this discussion might affect you.

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of storm chasers.  Also, the tensions between locals and storm chasers, as well as law enforcement and storm chasers have been increasing.    Badly behaved storm chasers drive recklessly, fail to yield to emergency vehicles, and cheer when tornadoes strike houses.  Most storm chasers, however, do not fall into this category.

With the increased tensions, there have been increased cries from the public for politicians to propose anti-stormchase legislation to restrict or outright ban storm chasing.  On the surface, you may not care, as you likely are not a storm chaser.  Here are a few major problems that you might want to think about:

1.  Any legislation would be entirely unenforceable.  The police would have to prove that the individual is storm chasing.  Storm chasing involves lots of driving, and the police would have to prove that the individual is really storm chasing, and not on a road trip to Arnett, Oklahoma.  If the burden of proof DOES NOT fall on the police, how will they decide who to arrest?   Out of state license plates?  Nerdy looking driver?  It’s an open license for harassment and wrongful imprisonment.

2.  The science exemption:  most folks recognize the value in scientific storm research, and would want that exempted from the law.  Who decides what is “legitimate” scientific research?  Can you imagine if this was done with all scientific research?  Sorry, you are forbidden from trying to improve a solar panel, the government feels this is not legitimate.  Sorry, you are not allowed to figure out or improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.  You are not a legitimate (permitted) scientist.  Don’t look through a telescope, you are not a licensed astronomer.  While we are at it, why don’t we go back to the days of letting the Roman Catholic Church run all scientific ventures?

3.  Some point to the fact that roads are becoming clogged with storm chasers.  Yes, this is something I have personally witnessed.  I’ve also seen roads clogged after baseball games and rock concerts.  If a tornado hits a traffic-clogged road, it is catastrophic.  It makes no more sense to say “more lives would have been saved if it wasn’t for all of those storm chasers” than it does to say “more lives would have been saved if Justin Bieber had not held a concert here.”

The problem is that deep down, many folks believe that things have an intrinsic nature of good or evil.  They view a tornado as evil, and thus anyone who wants to see a tornado must also be evil.  Sound familiar, gun owners?

Interestingly enough, someTHING cannot be good or evil.  It is a thing, and has no moral judgment.  Tornadoes were, are, and will be.  They have no evil intent because they have no intent at all.  They are acts of nature.  They are things.  Just like hamburgers, sports cars, or AR-15s.

SomeONE can be evil.  They can choose evil.  They can choose to hurt, or desire to see destruction.  A person being evil is NOT an act of nature.  It is a choice, one which an evil person CAN (for the most part) choose not to do.

One of the greatest advances for statism has been using intrinsism to its advantage.  It does not have to convince you to give up your rights; it only has to convince you that wanting your rights is evil.  It does not have to explain why it wants an unarmed populace.   It simply points to evil acts of a few individuals and attempts to convince you that an AR-15 is evil, and thus anyone who has or wants an AR-15 is also intrinsically evil.  As a good person, you desire to rid yourself of evil, and run to them begging for them to destroy your gun and your neighbor’s gun.

Back to storm chasing.  A tornado was, is, and will be.  It is not good or evil.  Chasing a storm is not intrinsically good or evil.  Furthermore, even the looniest of the loons who wants a tornado to demolish a town can’t make it happen.  If you continue to place an intrinsic value of good or evil on inanimate objects and acts of nature, you are open to blaming people associated with these objects for crimes they did not commit.  It’s a world where anyone with an AR-15 is a potential school shooter, and anyone with a laptop is a potential hacker, and anyone who chases storms wants to see people suffer.  Once you establish that somebody is evil, you say their rights are forfeited, and they are subject to punishment.

You send storm chasers, minding their own business, to jail.  You steal thousands of dollars of property from gun owners.   You stand in the way of any new mining or petroleum operation.  And you aren’t worried about it, because you’ve called them evil.

We have seen this played to its extreme many times throughout human history.  Once Hitler established in his people that all Jews were evil, we had the holocaust.  Several African countries have done the same, mass executing “the evil.”

Still don’t think it affects you?  Think again.

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