Deadly (???) SNOW?

“Everything You Need to Know About Deadly Snowstorm Bearing Down on East Coast”

SnowflakeThis was the title in ABC’s fear-mongering online news of January 23, 2015.  C’mon. “Deadly Snowstorm?”  Now if the headline read “Deadly Tornado” or “Deadly Lightning” or “Deadly Flood” or even “Deadly Winds” I could understand.  But what is deadly about a snowflake fluttering in a mild breeze?  Even if there are masses of snowflakes, how deadly can they be?  If one cannot injure you, how many would it take to do so?  1,000?  1,000,000?

I love snow and usually think it is one of God’s most amazing miracles!  All the details that have to be in place to make snow requires a Mind of astounding abilities to bring it out of the LORD’s storehouses (Job 38:22).  And, like His love, it covers a lot of ugly stuff and makes the world appear beautiful (1 Peter 4:8), if only until the sun and warmer temperatures melt it all.

Please understand, I am sympathetic with any loss of life associated to bad weather, and would in no way wish to minimize the tragedies of those who die and the losses to their loved ones.  But we need to move back to an understanding of cause and effect that recognizes reality!

Hurricanes or floods or even strong winds can take people by surprise and the event itself can kill.  But “Deadly Snowstorm?”  Deaths associated to snow or cold rarely show a real cause-effect relationship between the weather we are blaming and the unfortunate loss of life.  This becomes again a tripe of blaming something other than a person’s poor choice or lack of common sense.

When the report comes that the snowstorm killed a man on I-75, shouldn’t we ask, “How?”  Isn’t it more accurate to report a man died because he drove over the reasonable speed in a foggy and icy road condition?  When the snow gets blamed for three deaths in a house, shouldn’t we ask why there was formica burning in the fireplace?  Did the snow somehow load the fireplace with toxic fuel and light it?  Even when the tragic death is of someone shoveling the walk for a neighbor with a handicap, it was not the snow nor the cold that killed the person.  It was that person’s lack of sense for what his or her body could endure and his or her decision to work beyond what was sensible.  As for my own choices, I’ve told many folks, “If I die shoveling snow, be sure to tell everyone I died HAPPY!” 🙂

“Most people don’t die in the storm, they kind of die after the storm. That’s dying on icy roads, dying because of complications from shoveling snow or heart attacks, dying because you’ve had prolonged exposure to cold air and cold temperatures.” Sam Champion, managing editor of the Weather Channel.

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A few years ago a dear friend’s sweet neighbor died when the tree branch her husband was cutting fell on her head.  This was tragic, but we shouldn’t blame the tree branch.  It merely followed the laws of physics, which are not laws in the sense that one can choose whether or not to obey.  Such physical “laws” are simply statements of the way things work.  Sadly, one has to ask why she stood where the branch could fall?

Once, driving in Romania, our hostess there commented on the “dangerous trees” that beautifully lined the roadway on which we were traveling.  The trees had been planted some 60 years ago by a bureaucrat who did not realize how large they would grow, and when traffic generally moved slower.  The saplings were originally only an inch or two in diameter (2-4cm) and a couple feet (60-70cm) from the roadway.   After 60 years though, the trunks now measured two feet (60cm) or more in diameter and were inches away from the cars on the road!  I should add, they were also very strong and would not give in if a flimsy auto was to pick a fight!  However, the trees did not attack our car, and “behaved” quite safely as long as we drove a modest 30mph (50kmph).  The danger was not inherent in the trees, but in the motorists who passed us at 60mph (100kmph)!

So the next time someone wants to blame the weather, or someone’s possession, or some inanimate object for a tragic death, read the story and ask, “What was he or she doing that resulted in the tragedy?”  And think before placing yourself in a situation, whether driving on a snow-covered road, overworking your heart without enough weather gear, or passing by a “dangerous tree.”  Who is the responsible agent?  Oh, and stop blaming my snow! 😉

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