When scientists find that they have the ability to change the course of a natural event and play God, they are going down that familiar “slippery slope.” Whether it’s predetermining the sex of a baby, the color of someone’s eyes, or changing the direction of a storm, the fact is that sometimes, “just because we can” doesn’t mean we should.
When a hurricane is barreling toward a major urban area, it makes the news immediately. Naturally, everyone is concerned when a storm is going to be impacting an area where hundreds of thousands make their homes. They are going to be concerned, first, with human life, and then with structural damage, the destruction of historic buildings, and the disruption of the city’s economy.
There is more apparent damage in the city, and more to report on. So, traditionally, the outer regions and rural areas get less coverage, even though their suffering is just as great. Unfortunately, it also seems as though urban areas, by virtue of the fact that their survival and renewal are considered more vital, seem to get the fastest response and relief after the storm is over.
Undoubtedly, recent hurricanes have proven to be devastating to cities, in loss of life, property, and overall chaos that lasts for months, and may take years to resolve. Scientifically, and, with all of the statistics in mind, it would seem better in the long run if these storms could be diverted elsewhere.
The problem with scientific and statistical thinking is that it deals with cold hard facts and figures. The less populated, and presumably, less vital, “elsewhere”, where hurricanes may be sent are also populated, and just as important to those who call it home. These areas have people, who have worked their entire lives, building their homes, businesses, farms and communities, just like the urban dwellers, and are just as concerned about their safety and the preservation of their way of life. These rural, farming, and fishing communities also provide commodities that are needed in the cities, and across the country.
No one is qualified to make a decision where there is a choice between the potential destruction of one area over another, or the danger of life and limb of one group over another. While there may come a time when hurricane strength can be scientifically altered before it makes landfall, there should never be a question as to the possibility of determining who it will strike.