North Dakota Blizzard story from the LVC…

this loyal reader of the Licking Valley Courier couldn’t help but notice a story that had been submitted to last week’s paper, regarding the government’s response to a huge blizzard in North Dakota and comparing it to the tragedy in New Orleans that resulted from Hurricane Katrina.

my response to reading the story was that 1) i got pis*ed…as did my wife when SHE read it… and 2) i figured there was about a 99.99% chance that the “facts” weren’t facts at all, but instead was one of these annoying emails that we all get from people who don’t bother to check out whether the information they are sending along is valid or not.

the reason for my anger was that the story took all sorts of jabs at the people in New Orleans who suffered through Katrina and the pitiful excuse of a response from our government. the article could even be considered a bit racist in tone. in addition, it is comparing 2 types of disasters that are completely different in both their severity and their ability to be dealt with on a local level, never mind the number of individuals affected by each event (1 of which actually happened, and 1 of which was made up…but more on that shortly). by a 2006 estimate, North Dakota…the WHOLE STATE…has a population of about 635,867. the population of just the CITY of New Orleans was 484,674 in 2000, while the greater New Orleans area had a population of close to 1.4 million people…over TWICE the amount of people living in the entire state of North Dakota. it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the difference between organizing a rescue effort to pluck some people from a snowstorm or completely relocate a population approaching or even exceeding that of an ENTIRE state.

the second problem with the whole article is that the facts it claims to be based on are entirely FALSE. it took me about 25 seconds to find that out using the popular website snopes.com . i’d say that it is safe to say that about 80% of these emails we all get that make outrageous claims and sound so extreme and unbelievable are false and should be deleted. however, if you are ever in doubt, just check the internet…snopes.com in particular…before you start spreading it to everyone else you know.

it is one thing for these things to be circulated via email, but another altogether for them to appear in print in a newspaper. i know that not every item that gets submitted can be tracked down to verify whether or not it is a factual account, and things are bound to slip by. i think the LVC does a fine job in what they report, even if our political views are not always the same. it just troubled me to see such an item in print which stood out to me as more than likely being false after reading the first 2 lines.

it is a changing world for all forms of media, and folks will do all sorts of things to get their beliefs and ideas out there, even if they know what they are spreading isn’t true, and it is up to all of us to use the resources we have available to us to verify the things we read.