9 May, 2011
Rewriting the Record Books
The United States has more tornadoes than any other place on planet earth. America has a unique geography that allows cold air from the Arctic to directly interact with warm air from the tropical Gulf of Mexico. With no major east-west mountain range to block airflow between these two zones, we are the perfect stage for dramatic weather.
In the past few weeks, we have seen a level of tornadic activity that has shattered numerous records. We normally average about 1,000 tornadoes per year. We have already seen about 1,100 twisters this year--and there are still eight months remaining. The record of 1,820 tornadoes in 2004 can now be surpassed if the rest of the year just has normal weather.
April is certain to stand out in the history books. The Storm Prediction Center says there were 871 tornado reports from last month. These are preliminary numbers, so many will be dropped as investigators remove any storm damage caused by wind not directly related to a tornado. We should still easily break the old record of 543 set back in May 2003.
Another record broken is the one for the most tornadoes in a single, twenty-four-hour period. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there were 312 tornadoes during the Super Outbreak from the 27th and 28th of April. The previous record occurred from April 3-4, 1974, with 148 tornadoes.
I've studied weather all my life, and am amazed to see the 1974 record fall by such a huge gap. During the '74 outbreak, the low pressure was up in Minnesota, which allowed unstable air to stretch from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. During last month’s outbreak, the low was in central Missouri , which only allowed for unstable weather to reach into southern Kentucky. In just half the area of the 1974 outbreak, twice the number of tornadoes were generated.
Tornadoes have traditionally been a rare phenomenon, and they require the right ingredients to come together in order to form. This rule was suspended the night Alabama was hit by a swarm of twisters. I looked at the national radar with disbelief as nearly every thunderstorm in the state had some type of tornadic hook echo.
The death count from the outbreak surpassed many longstanding records. The storm system that ravaged the South killed 340 people. It was the deadliest single day for tornadoes since the March 18, 1925, tornado outbreak that had 747 fatalities across seven states.
With improvements in radar and warning systems, we shouldn’t be seeing these types of death counts. One meteorologist for theWeather Channel said, "I thought the days had long gone where I would see a tornado kill more than 100 people." Unfortunately, some of the tornadoes were so powerful, there was no safe place to hide. Many of the people who died were sucked out of their basements.
The same frontal zone that brought tornadoes to southern states is now causing record flooding along the Mississippi River. Bob Anderson, an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman based in Vicksburg, Mississippi, says that there has "never been a flood of this magnitude on the upper Mississippi." This flood is being compared to the great 1937 Mississippi River flood. That flood was so nightmarish that it changed the whole way the U.S. government approaches floods, but now this flood is surpassing the record levels set back in 1937 in many areas.
We are at a point when skeptics of Bible prophecy need to take a good look at the statistics for natural disasters. The law of averages cannot explain why we are seeing so many today.
Even the most stubborn minded would have to wonder what is going on. The month prior to this tornado outbreak, Japan was hit by the most powerful earthquake in its history. If everything came to a halt, people would someday look at the recordbooks and say, "Wow, 2011 sure was an unlucky year."
You folks in Tennessee have plenty of reason to wonder what is going on with Mother Nature. Last year, the eastern part of that state was hit by a five-hundred-year flood. A year later, we have another five-hundred-year flood lapping at the western end of the state.
The only way to make sense of all these calamities occurring at the same time is nearness of the end times. These are the birth pains that God predicted, and more of them are on the way.
Osama’s Death and Christian Reaction
Many Americans broke out in celebration when Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden’s death was announced Sunday night, May 1. The demonstrations of glee weren’t nearly as wild as the scenes from almost every Muslim nation the day the twin towers in New York fell. There was no firing of AK-47 weaponry into the air, but it was ebullient demonstration nonetheless.
President Obama was said to have turned to an aid and remarked: “We got him!”
How did you react when you heard the news? My only reaction was to think that now Osama faces not the seventy-two virgins promised to all Muslim men faithful to Allah once they assume room temperature, but that he confronts something far different. His death gave no pleasure, no sense of retribution or vengeance--but neither did I then or now have regrets that he is gone from this world.
Had I lost a family member or dear friend in the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, or the crash of the airplane in Pennsylvania that day, perhaps I would be satisfied to the point of elation at the news of his death. But, I don’t think so.
The satisfaction I receive is that of knowing that Bin Laden can no longer add his demented thought processes to those of his fellow Islamist madmen. To me, there is no joy in the demise of anyone, except in knowing that, in this case, he won’t be in on planning future murders in the name of Allah. This is indeed a significant volley in the war declared on terror by George W. Bush following September 11, 2001. Killing Osama Bin Laden, however, can’t change the fact that he and his henchmen murdered nearly three thousand people that fateful day. It can’t alter the fact that thousands of U.S. service men and women have died or been wounded in pursuit of dealing with the evil Bin Laden perpetrated and his fellow terrorists continue to carry out.
Bin Laden's death doesn’t stop the $1.28-trillion-and-counting cost of the military action against radical Islam the U.S. has and is footing. In this, he has been successful–helping achieve his vow to bring the great Satan to its knees, economically speaking. So, his being killed isn’t reason to declare victory, even though it is obviously a cause for celebration by those who are so inclined.
There are thousands, even millions, to take his place. There is little time to spend reveling in this one, demonically driven man’s death. His assassination is that sort of violence on which the jihadists feed. Violence feeds Islamist warmakers like the warm Gulf waters feed a hurricane.
Am I saying that Osama Bin Laden should not have been dispatched in this raid by the Navy SEALs? Of course not. I am saying that to vigorously celebrate his being killed should not be allowed to become, either individually or collectively within the American psyche, a visceral bloodlust to render evil for evil. Especially, this should not be the mindset of the Christian, in my view. Such action should be taken only in order to try to make civilized society safe from such beastly activity as carried out by Bin Laden and his ilk. The Bible condones such action by duly authorized governments because this is a sinful, murderous world, and such killers must be stopped to promote the general safety of peace-loving people.
Hypocrisy and worse is front and center in all of this taking down of Osama Bin Laden, while the mainstream media takes no notice. The present American president operates within a political philosophy that disdains capital punishment, no matter the crime--primarily, I believe, because he thus wins the hearts, minds, and votes of minorities who view themselves as victims of injustice. Yet he and his political associates see nothing wrong with the taking out of Bin Laden, because it was the politically expedient thing to do. Executing a man–within the American judicial system, for murdering a person--is something the liberal mindset considers barbarism. They slap each other’s backs, however, for the good fortune–or well-executed plan—in sending Osama Bin Laden on his eternal journey. Their poll numbers might benefit from the action taken.
Such duality of thought shows a trend toward the same sort of madness carried on by the fanatic Islamists. Fanatic Muslims see nothing wrong with killing, when it serves the best interest of their cause and is sanctioned by their “holy book,” the Koran. It is justice of a grossly perverted sort by which that self-indulgent mindset operates.
So, those who name the name of Christ should not find carnal enjoyment in the death of Osama Bin Laden, or anyone else. He is gone, and I am glad. He was a danger to those I love, as well as to everyone who might fall under his unalloyed evil plotting. But, I take no pleasure in his death--only a degree of solace.
The Lord of heaven Himself has set the example for what should be the Christian’s attitude in such matters: “'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!'” (Ezekiel 33:11).