I am upset by the deaths of three tornado chasers Friday in Oklahoma. These were people who knew how to find tornadoes. They also knew how to avoid them. Their deaths are a tragedy, but I’m not sure the word accident applies. They were where they shouldn’t have been and they knew it.
The same applies to The Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes and crew who survived after their SUV was tossed a few hundred yards and destroyed.
Here’s the problem. Tornado chasing has become an extreme sport!
In the past I’ve written about weather live shots from hurricanes. Dangerous. Foolhardy. It sends the absolute worst message to the public we try and protect.
Until now I drew an exception for tornadoes. I’d never heard of a death or accident involving a tornado chaser. Knowing where not to be is fairly easy.
Chasing was something I wanted to do. That no longer holds.
More and more, TV glorifies people doing stupid things. This goes well beyond MTV’s groundbreaking “Jackass.” I’ve seen divers in the Bering Sea getting oxygen from garden hoses while wearing wet suits held together with duct tape! Now this.
Is this behavior 100% TV driven? Probably not, but TV is certainly part of the equation.
I mourn this loss of life. I mourn our elevation of insanity as entertainment.