May. 23rd, 2011

Tornado.

May. 23rd, 2011 02:01 pm
spookyevilone: (Default)
Spent the morning helping a friend of a friend (who I had previously not met) clean up tornado debris that took a bite out of their house. Driving to the house was an adventure, because whole blocks are closed off and police checkpoints due to looters and unsafe conditions.

Part of the hazard of living in MN is tornadoes in the spring and in the fall. I lived through one in the 80's that ripped half the roof off our trailer and threw it in the street. This one was different. I don't know how to describe it, but the damage it left behind is different. The neighborhood hit is not one of MN's more affluent. It was just starting to turn around as first time home buyers scooped up and rehabbed the foreclosures from two years ago. Unlike the MO tornado, which pretty much splintered everything and left sawdust behind, the one that hit MN uprooted fully mature trees and threw them at houses, so things are smashed and crushed instead of splintered. Any tree over 10' in height is either snapped off or uprooted entirely, and usually sitting on or in someone's house. It's a very concentrated area - two blocks from the path, all looks well. And then you see the barricades, the police check points, the emergency services crews and electric company all frantically going door to door shutting off breakers/gas/water and checking for people who might still need help. The roads are mostly no longer blocked by trees because chainsaw crews worked from dawn this morning to clear some space. The asphalt is carpeted with smaller branches and roofing shingles and broken glass. Many of the cars that had been parked along the streets were severely damaged if not outright crushed. There were people standing on the corners with signs saying "Food and Water Drop Off Zone" or "Need Food and Water". Gas stations and stores were closed, if they were still standing. Police were boarding up windows and doors that had been smashed in and it was impossible to tell whether the tornado did the damage or the looters.

I am angry that there was looting. I am of the opinion that looters should be shot on sight. This is in part an opinion formed due to being inside a store as it was being looted after a crisis, when I was a teenager. I think it's one of the lowest, most vile forms of theft.

There were a lot of people out today, helping clear stuff off of houses and cars. There were also assholes driving around or walking around and excitedly taking pictures and commenting on the damage and not actually pitching in to help. There were asshole contractors going door to door handing out cards to people who can't even think past which branch to saw next. There were others who had gloves on and tools, pitching in and helping. If it was my house, I know which companies names I'd keep around. People were taking in stray animals. There were some stores open, two little cafes that I saw, that were giving out salads, sandwiches, baked goods and water that would just otherwise spoil due to lack of electricity to power the chillers. There were little kids with coolers on wheels pulling them up the blocks and offering water to the help gangs.

When I left this morning, I stopped at the store and bought a bunch of 24-packs of bottled water to bring with. All but one were given away as I drove toward the house I was helping. The other, we wound up not needing and I gave it away on my drive out.

Have let the owners of the house I was at know that I'm available all week if they need more help. I'm at home, chilling with my neck massager and some cider, waiting for the mental numbness to fade. My brain hit the saturation point of destruction witnessing on the drive out. I remember what it felt like, when it was our house, but that was different, too, because we went in with equipment and stripped everything out and put it back together. I was doing something. I was fine, today, while doing stuff - it was after, on the way home, that my brain shut down, and all I am is a witness to this one.

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spookyevilone

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