The immediate cause of the disaster wrought on Moore, Oklahoma this week was natural in character: a massive tornado with winds that surpassed 200 miles per hour. Yet, as with so many similar events in America, the consequences were immensely compounded by social and economic conditions.
At least 24 people have been killed, and 240 more were injured. Among the dead were ten children. These deaths were entirely preventable—the direct product of the lack of adequate infrastructure and safety protection in what is known as “Tornado Alley.”
If there is any city in the United States where emergency measures should have been taken to ensure protection from tornadoes, it is Moore. Indeed, the city is perhaps best known for its repeated encounters with tornadoes. In 1999, the strongest tornado ever recorded near the earth’s surface tore a strip through the same area that was struck Monday, killing 42.
The fact that, some fourteen years later, almost nothing has been done to protect residents from tornadoes is a crime for which the entire political establishment stands condemned.