Revere Tornado: Was Reaction Overblown?

by Bill Brenner on July 30, 2014

Someone on Facebook complained about those who compared the damage done to Broadway in Revere after a tornado tore through on Monday to a war zone.

Soldiers who’ve seen battle wouldn’t appreciate the comparison, he said, and the damage was nothing like what people experience regularly in the Midwest, where entire towns are wiped from the map.

Mood music:

Normally, I’d agree with a statement like that. I spend much of my blogging time pointing out all the hyperbole and manufactured panic I see daily, and people certainly made a big deal out of what happened in my former hometown.

But accusing people of hyperbole is unfair.

Consider the following:

  • This was the first tornado to hit Massachusetts’ Suffolk County since 1950.
  • The tornado may have been small compared to those Midwest monsters, but after 64 years, any tornado is going to be a big deal around here.
  • Small as it was, the funnel still did a shitload of damage. It tore brick and concrete from City Hall and Revere High School, flipped cars over and demolished several roofs.

If your street is shredded, the scene is going to resemble a war zone in your mind, because you have no prior experience to compare it to. Also, if you tell someone they’re overreacting after their home has been rendered uninhabitable, you’re bound to get an earful or a punch in the face.

The city will get back on its feet in short order. The people of Revere are of sturdy stock. They’ve overcome devastating coastal flooding, fire, street violence and other big problems over the years.

But this event was different. Cut the residents some slack.

They’ve experienced a shock, which may make some hyperbole inevitable.

Let’s let them process this disaster in whatever dramatic verbiage they feel the need to use right now.

Funnel cloud in Revere on 7/28/14 (Photo courtesy Doreen Dirienzo)Funnel cloud in Revere on 7/28/14. Photo courtesy of Doreen Dirienzo.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bert Knabe July 30, 2014 at 10:45 am

A tornado may not be similar to a warzone, but the shock and terror can be. When the places you feel safest are no protection, that shakes you to the core. And the phrase, “like a warzone” is used so often in those situations, I doubt many soldiers would be offended – though they might disagree.

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