People are now asking why it was such a disaster was allowed to happen at the Indiana State Fair this past week end. The band, Sugarland, was about to go on stage. The crowd was awaiting their performance. While all this was going on, storm clouds were on their way, Indiana officials were seeking out advice regarding the weather, and people were admittedly concerned about the looming storm.
So, why was it, then, that people didn't leave?
I'm sure there were people who decided to head out. I'm sure some people looked at the sky and said "No, I'm not hanging around for this storm." I've been in situations where storms were looming as well.
Peer pressure is a powerful thing. If some people don't start the gradual flow, nobody leaves.
People came to that concert to see a show. They stand there waiting. They expect a show. Even when a severe storm stares them in the face, they stare right back at it and hope no rain comes. They still think everything is going to be okay. They think there will still be a show.
On the 4th of July this year, in Shreveport-Bossier, a healthy storm system moved its way across East Texas and Southwest Arkansas. I was watching it on the radar, wondering if the fireworks would be cancelled or delayed. Live footage of the celebratory events were being broadcast on one local television station. From their perspective, skies were clear. The weatherman was on tv, telling us that everything looked good and he hoped things would go off without a hitch. Nothing was further from the truth. I was staring right at the radar. I wasn't going to leave the house just yet.
But as the threat of rain loomed, I decided to hop in the car and head out. As I drove into town, lightning flashed around me. Skies were dark. Rain was pouring down. Streets were soon flooded, at least in one lane, sewer drains overwhelmed by the rush of water. Word spread that people at the Boardwalk were leaving. The crowds were thinning. Rain had scared everyone off. The show had been either delayed or canceled. Nobody really knew.
After the storm passed, people were still on their way out. I was stranded in traffic, but after 30 minutes of waiting in bumper to bumper traffic, the fireworks began going off. I was able to enjoy the show, but at what cost? My legs were still damp from getting drenched by the rain. It was really a mess I should have avoided.
But people in our area have taken this one step further.
When bad storms are approaching, in the past, our local news really didn't throw up a fuss. Over the past two years, the weather teams have improved their coverage of severe weather, complete with early warnings and detailed coverage. They still don't compare to other weather teams I've had the pleasure of knowing, but it's better than nothing.
Sounds great, right?
Well, they interrupted an LSU game and all hell broke loose on the internet. People were extremely unhappy that their beloved LSU Tigers were being blotted out by severe weather coverage. They wanted to see the game. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to this complaining.
So apparently, we'd rather sacrifice our own safety in the name of entertainment. We care more about being entertained than using our better judgment. We don't have the sense to realize bad weather can kill. We'd much rather watch a football game or some fireworks.
Because we value entertainment more than our own lives, we will continue to see sad stories like the one in Indiana.