“A tornado watch has been put in place for x county. Listen to this station or some other local radio station for more information.”
Who hasn’t heard something like this when listening to the radio? Of course more information is typically given, but the idea is the same.
You may live in a part of the country where this sort of thing is extremely rare, if it happens at all. Perhaps, rather than tornadoes or hurricanes, it’s some other thing, like a flood watch.
The point is, between weather watches, amber alerts, and other things of that sort, there are a potential plethora of items we might find added to our list of concerns.
Before I say much of anything else, I should make it plain that I understand these warnings and watches, to be useful when they actually talk about something significant in a person’s little world.
The problem is, too much of the time for me, that’s not the case.
In the course of my last more-than-twenty years in the great state of Arkansas, I can’t begin to tell you how many such warnings I’ve been given about hurricanes and tornadoes. If I had to guess, I would imagine the number to be somewhere around fifty or sixty. That would be two or three each year.
Of those dire cries, I’ve so far been affected in any major way, by exactly zero such events.
I get that somebody may have had their life changed forever by one of the catastrophes about which I’m talking, but that somebody has not been me.
In fact, the last serious storm that ever came remotely close to where I was, happened literally just over fifty years ago (Hurricane Camille, on around the 14th of August, 1969).
Yet I’ve just informed you that I’ve been given notice of impending disaster fifty or sixty times in a little over twenty years.
I can’t speak for anybody else, but it’s awfully hard to take such things seriously when you hear about them multiple times a year, and are affected by them not one iota. That’s still true though I’m fully aware the weather patterns and other situations mentioned are often devastating when they’re encountered by people at close range.
The problem? That those responsible for creating warnings, will make them for weather anomalies and other conditions that are nowhere near the place I find myself living or working.
To make this worse, schools will close their doors when such things are decried. That means I’ll have to stop what I’m doing and rush to my child’s school to pick him up, even if the issue being discussed is many miles away from us and not headed in our direction.
I consider what’s happened with the COVID-19 “pandemic” to be very similar.
People got spooked by a virus. They failed to look at the facts. In order to be safe, they shut down the world, totally ignoring the truth that deaths associated with the event have so far yet to reach a thousand throughout the state in a period greater than six months—an extremely small number when that state has in excess of three million people.
Yes, the infection rate is higher. True some people suffered but didn’t die of the illness.
Even still, the numbers certainly do not appear to warrant the resultant actions where I live.
I could go deeper into this, but that’s really the subject of another piece.
The point here is, warnings were issued, (in my opinion unreasonable) actions were taken, but the level of risk was exceptionally low. Based on what’s occurred to this point, one would never believe that was the case.
What makes all of this worse, is when a given tool used to purvey information about potentially terribly bad situations fails to make it known to someone in the path of danger. Though it’s rare, it does happen.
To be fair for the most part, the various alert systems are relatively good at least when it comes to indicating the county in which the potential issue may be found. I question though, whether even county level warnings are granular enough.
The system designed to deal with child abductions, often prominently displays yet another failure in such tools. For the Amber Alert system, the problem is that things like family squabbles and custodial contests can make their way into it.
So along with children who’re genuinely in danger, are lumped those where separated or divorced parents disagree on who should have the children, either in the long term, or even possibly just for the moment.
As such, that system too, can give information that’s questionable at best. And the fact is, when I see missing children on the Internet, not in such systems, more often than not by the time the data is circulated, a simple search engine query indicates the child’s whereabouts are no longer a mystery.
Of all the problems with such systems though, the pure volume one might potentially see in terms of notifications, is the one that worries me the most.
The reason this is the case is simple. When people are deluged with warnings and alerts, they tend to have a hard time deciding when to respond and when to ignore, what they see and hear.
Often, the result is, they all but completely—if not completely—ignore any such messaging.
This can make the systems in place worse than useless by helping to create two classes of people.
The first are those who consistently take action, even when none is required or even remotely reasonable, often dragging family members along for the ride. It’s more than wearisome. It may well turn folks into members of the other group.
That set of people is those who decide to totally ignore the warning systems, knowing they’re more likely to hear things that won’t affect them, than things that will.
I get wanting to have various services that keep people up to speed on impending issues and dangers. Overall though, I truly question whether they do more harm than good. I’m no genius, as such I’m not sure what can be done to make them more relevant, but it seems to me, this is something that needs to be strongly considered if they’re to be taken seriously.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.