Just days after our state was devastated by the tornado in Moore, I read two very insensitive comments on social media by what I would construe to be above-average intelligent people. The first one that I read about had posted some disparaging remarks wondering how the people in Moore would still stay in a place like “Tornado Alley” where there had been multiple tornados in a relatively short period of time.

 According to Bubba and Billy Bob, (my research assistants) Texas had just over 8,000 tornados from 1950-2009 while Oklahoma had just under 3,500. He is making fun of us? Maybe he forgot that the area where he works is less than 200 miles from the area that he was making fun of. That is definitely still in so-called “Tornado Alley.”

According to social media, he was fired for his comments.

The next Einstein was from the Houston area. He said, among other things, 

“I have a hard time buying into the pride of Oklahomans being so amazing for overcoming a tornado two miles in diameter. My heart goes out to those affected and those who lost loved ones. But tornados pale in comparison to the Hurricanes that span almost a hundred miles in diameter, that have winds as powerful, or even more so, than tornadoes, … Hurricanes are tornado factories. They wipe entire land masses off the map….They render millions homeless and cause billions upon billions of dollars in damage… Bounce back. Be resilient. Take pride and rebuild. These are all good things for Oklahoma. But I don’t understand the sudden idea that has come about recently that  people from Oklahoma  are tempered by the greatest of natural disasters, one of which happened recently. Forgive me but after, Rita, Ike and Katrina, I can honestly say that I would have much rather preferred a monstrous tornado.”

The thing that really stands out to me is that both of these people are relatively young. Now, if someone’s elderly grandpa had posted something like this it wouldn’t have struck me as unusual.  Gramps probably doesn’t realize that things can go viral in less time than it used to take him to milk Ole Bessie the cow. These two young men’s  livelihood has to do with technology. The fact that these two made these comments literally while people were still recovering bodies just left me shaking my head and at a loss for words.

This last young man was infuriated that so many people were calling his work. Some of them were even threatening him. A radio station actually called his place of employment to speak with him.

He responded to a private message that I sent him. He seemed rather irritated that I thought his boss should know what he had posted on his Facebook page. We jousted verbally back and forth a few times. I decided that I would not convince this man that he was wrong, his adjectives kept getting more colorful and the old “Don’t wrestle with a pig” adage kept coming in my mind.  I ended with the words, “Again, I wish you no ill will.” He responded with “Again, I say, what right do you have to say such a thing? Absolutely none! It is between my employer and me.” 

 What I would have liked to conveyed to this young man is that perhaps I didn’t have a right to talk to his boss and it may not have been any of my business, just as he had no right to take shots at people who were affected in one way or another by a terrible tragedy. Oklahoma is a small state. I have family that live and work in the area. Some are in law enforcement and nursing. You can bet that they have been affected, or know someone that has.  The people in this state are often maligned as hicks (and sometimes with just cause I might add). Many of the news people were suprised at the positive attitudes many of the victims had. Yes, we are proud of our state. Are we superior to residents of any other states that have had disasters? Absolutely not!  If he would have volunteered to don a pair of gloves and pick through the rubble, counsel, console, help load or unload a truck of supplies, sort, and label, make phone calls or dozens of other things to contribute positively to the effort, then he may have had a right to make his statements. Something tells me that people of that caliber aren’t going to take cheap shots and try to compare “ours is bigger than yours.” He started out his post with this line: “I may be a cold-hearted B@$+@#d.”, but

I hope it’s just that he’s young, arrogant and uniformed.