Some things, human beings should be incapable of achieving. Of course, we aren’t exactly known to follow these rules, what with the advents of biological warfare, crystal meth and the atomic bomb. But, should we find a way to reach these forsaken grounds, we should take care to tread lightly upon them, if at all.
The idea of using atmospheric manipulation to guide a hurricane is one such instance of such. As our understanding of the meteorological machinations, from broad aspects to subtle nuances, of hurricanes increases, so too does the possibility to control them. Thus, it has come to light whether we should save major cities at the expense of endangering rural communities.
The general argument for this as yet theoretical practice tend to be remarkably calloused. The typical opinion seems to be that the hurricane is going to claim lives and leave millions in property damage anyway, so it would be best to minimize the numbers by sending it to a sparsely populated region. However, there’s a huge difference between letting someone die and throwing them over the tracks.
By leaving the hurricane to run its course, the only guilt on our part comes if we respond too slowly to aid in evacuation and recovery efforts. If we redirect it to a rural community, their lives – or more appropriately, their deaths – sit squarely on our shoulders, as we deemed them worth sacrificing for the good of the city. If controlling nature wasn’t bad enough, using it to doom a few for the good of many sits dangerously close to Man playing God. Besides, if we can move the hurricane, we would not be too far from being able to counter its momentum and simply stop it.
Furthermore, coastal cities are better equipped for facing hurricanes, generally speaking, than are the nearby rural neighborhoods. City homes are often designed to better withstand hurricane winds and come equipped with a storm shelter. Additionally, an emergency broadcast system is in place city wide, alerting the citizens as soon as an evacuation is ordered and directing them on how best to exit the city.
These precautions are less likely to be implemented in a rural neighborhood. Residences are more sparsely spread and typically are built on a lower budget, eliminating funds for additional fortification and storm shelters. Radio signals are generally weak in these areas, as the town lacks funding for their own radio tower. This would leave them to use the nearest city’s signals to broadcast emergency transmissions regarding evacuation orders, meaning that those farthest from the city would likely not receive the message.
In other words, if we leave the hurricane to hit the city, some people will probably die. If we send it to the nearest rural neighborhood, everybody will die. Do we want to play Man and save people by relocating them? Or do we want to play God and save people by moving the skies against others, deeming their lives to be of less importance?