The Edmond Sun


May 24, 2013

Oklahomans unite in tragedy; set example for country

EDMOND — Whenever we witness the type of devastation wrought by this week’s killer tornado, we naturally struggle with a host of emotions. Those of us in the neighborhood battle to control our anxieties as we gather the information we can about the storm’s strength, location and direction. We experience dismay when we hear the threat above us has touched down and become a real physical menace to our friends, neighbors and loved ones. When the “all clear” sounds, we are thankful that the nightmare is over. When we realize our loved ones are all safe and sound, we rejoice.

We are crushed by early reports that 24 grade-school children died when they were trapped in their schoolhouse. We experienced a wave of relief when we learned this number was exaggerated.

As the magnitude of the destruction emerges, we sympathize with those whose homes were destroyed and we grieve intensely with those who will forever mark this as the day they lost someone they love. In the days that follow, many of us will try to put this catastrophe into a larger perspective. Nature’s ferocious capacities are facts of life for everyone who lives on this planet.

Consider, for example, that in China’s great flood of 1931, somewhere between 800,000 and four million people died. In the 1921-22 droughts in the Soviet Union, more than five million people were said to have starved. More than 1,700 people died in the United States as a result of the Pestigo wildfire of 1871. In 2005, more than 75,000 were killed or injured when an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck Pakistan. In 1970, as many as 500,000 died in the Bhola hurricane, in what is now Bangladesh. The 1918 flu epidemic killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

As for tornadoes, the deadliest outbreak in United States history took place on March 18, 1925, when at least one F-5 storm left the longest path and spent the longest time on the ground traveling through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. In its wake, almost 500 people were dead.

As we come to grips with our losses here in Oklahoma and reflect on the ravages of the past, we realize that our misfortunes, grave as they are, might have been a lot worse with a minor turn of the circumstantial dial. This is a realization that seems to permeate Oklahomans from the souls of their steadfast feet to the tops of their wonderfully stubborn heads. No matter how hard these people get hit, they never stay down long. They are not prone to trivialize their troubles, but they don’t spend a lot of time bellyaching about them either.

My pride in my fellow Oklahomans swells almost beyond my power to contain when I see them dig through the remains of their destroyed homes to save what they can so they can get busy rebuilding. I am humbled when I see them standing on the ruins of their community and offer prayers of thanksgiving. I’m inspired when I see them roll up their sleeves and rally all their strength, determination and energy to rescue, support and console their neighbors.

I recall talking to an aid worker who came to Oklahoma City to offer support after the Murrah Federal Building bombing. “Know what I love about Oklahoma?” she asked. “When I went to California to help with the Northridge earthquake, people lined the streets to sell us bottles of water. When we got to Oklahoma, people turned out by the hundreds to give us water and food and anything else we needed — and then they pitched in to lend a hand.”

Yes, I’m proud of my fellow citizens — I’m proud of Oklahomans. But my pride doesn’t stop here. Each time Oklahoma suffers some catastrophe, we are overwhelmed by an outpouring of love, affection, support and understanding from our fellow Americans. In the aftermath of this storm, you don’t hear much chatter about red state/blue state differences. You don’t see people apportioning their efforts depending on whether those suffering are conservatives or liberals. You don’t see people bypassing the ruins of a Republican home in order to favor those who lost a Democratic home.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could bring the same sense of unity to the solutions of all of our pressing national problems? If there is a silver lining to catastrophes such as Oklahoma’s May 20 tornado it’s this: In the wake of this type of devastation, we realize we are all Americans. We’re all neighbors. When the chips are down, we can put our differences aside, join hands and rebuild. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is an Edmond resident and retired attorney.         

Text Only
  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results