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Fake News

If Not Now, When? The Case for Allowing Hurricanes Back to Our Coastlines



One year ago, damning allegations surfaced that well known Hurricane Maria exposed itself to U.S. coastline and took the lives of 3,000 people in Puerto Rico and ruined countless more. Recently, Hurricane Florence made landfall, and showing that is was a somewhat reformed storm, shifted its course to cause comparatively less damage.

Should hurricanes be able to return to our shores so soon after they’ve been publically exposed, shamed, and shunned? Can they just spin back to the same shores, claiming they’ve changed and learned, so soon after their recent incidents? Many people were rightly upset that Florence arrived only a year after Maria, but it’s my firm, though unpopular belief, that there must be some way for a Hurricane to redeem itself.

To be absolutely clear, I believe the victims. My sister was once the victim of a Hurricane, and I went to college in North Carolina, so even I have experienced Hurricanes. With this in mind, I’m happy to see Florence attempted to show us that there is a pathway for once-disgraced Hurricanes to come out of exile and back to slam the eastern seaboard.

I understand the deplorable, violent nature of Hurricanes. I know they cost millions of dollars in damage, drown dogs, and cause unmeasurable psychological trauma, but is there no redemption for these storms that have violently and unthinkingly ruined the lives of others? Don’t they matter too, despite destroying entire communities? To me, justice is not shaming the Hurricane forever and ever until the end of time.

I don’t think what Hurricanes Maria and Katrina did was right—at all—but neither is letting Hurricanes wallow in a fetch somewhere off the coast of Florida. I believe we set a dangerous precedent if we don’t give Hurricanes a chance to reflect, think about how their actions have affected others, and give them a chance to prove they’ve grown by returning to cause only nominal amounts of damage to our coasts.

To be clear, I’m not defending Hurricanes or their reprehensible past actions. In fact, I condemn them outright. Hurricanes responsible for the deaths of thousands absolutely need to be held accountable. But all of that happened in the past, and doesn’t a year seem like enough time for another Hurricane to make landfall and kill a relatively small amount of people?

If the answer’s no, and that’s our trajectory, we as a society run the risk of lumping together minor tropical storms that stir up the Atlantic a little bit with massive category 5 Hurricanes, and that’s objectively not fair.

Serial hurricanes need to be called out. Even if they won’t listen because they’re just torrents of fast-moving warm and cold air; it’s on us to make sure a little wind and rain doesn’t turn into a headline.

Though the entirety of my words 100% sound like it, I’m not taking anything away from the victims. I’m merely pointing out that not all of the casualties are dead people. Some of the casualties are hurricanes, and it’s about time that we thought about actionable routes for these whirlwinds of devastation to make it back into our homes.

Like most of us, I’m wildly unsure of how the storm community will emerge from this, but there’s worth in giving hurricanes a chance to reflect, enact change in themselves, and come back, not take that many lives, and maybe only cause a few million blackouts.

Perhaps you think Hurricane Florence went about the comeback in the wrong way. That’s fine. Maybe you think once a Hurricane, always a Hurricane, and no amount of time away can repair victims’ years of suffering. You’re right.

I know that this statement sounds like a cheap cry for undeserved attention, and it is. However, as a man who grew up around Hurricanes, I know that not all of them are as bad as Hurricane Maria. So I’ll leave you with this question to ponder:

Shouldn’t Hurricanes, like fat, out of touch comedians be given a chance to make an unwanted comeback to bring seemingly endless amounts of pain and suffering into American lives?


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