In the moments when the real story is told, the one about survival rather than death, about heroism rather than the politics of residential municipal code, it gets to me.
Because teachers really did lay their bodies over the children in their care, the better their skull be crushed by flying and falling debris than the children’s.
Because citizens really did begin to collect others from the rubble no sooner than they themselves emerged from it. Because, yes, government and first responders have come together to offer a clinic on how to best deal with such awful calamity and each other.
The questioning of the state’s senators’ and representatives’ plans or lack of them to vote consistently with positions previously taken in the wake of other disasters is completely reasonable, yet the bigger story isn’t political.
The great and amazing story is how far ahead of the game the community will already be when the real rebuilding begins.
It has to be in the wake of so many helping themselves and so many others, privately, helping without being asked to help. So many are laying the foundation for so many new foundations. Volunteers have been turned away because even a benevolent army can become too big to organize.
I’m tired of commentators I have previously agreed with creating a drama between culture and responsibility, as though there might have been no loss of life if only these hardheaded Oklahomans would lay down a couple of grand on a storm cellar.
It would make perfect sense if thousands had perished, a number plenty reasonable given the number of homes — more than 1,000 — destroyed. But thousands did not die.
The number remains 24, too many of them children, and still a stunningly small number given the swath and ferocity of the twister. Storm cellars or not, Oklahomans, hardheaded or not, know their way around a tornado. Drop it elsewhere and thousands might well have died.