Monday, April 27, 2015

Shit Happens

The awful act of nature that comprises the Nepal earthquake—3700 dead and counting—causes many people to question their concept of God. As usual, Christians with no brains have linked the earthquake with “paganism” and God being angry.A former Los Angeles police officer and self-styled preacher, has sparked outcry by suggesting that Nepalis should not rebuild their “pagan shrines” and instead convert to Christianity. Tony Miano, an outspoken conservative who has previously been accused of homophobia, triggered angry responses when he posted a series of messages on social media, expressing sympathy for the people struck by devastation in Nepal, but suggesting God was angry.”

And lest the thinking Christians begin imagining that they possess the only emptyheads in the universe, it clearly is not so. In India, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi kicked up yet another controversy when she came up with her logic on the recent earthquake that devastated Nepal. Commenting the most unreasonable statement that could come at this tragic time, controversial BJP functionaries, Saksha Maharaj and Sadhvi Prachi have linked the earthquake in Nepal to Rahul Gandhi’s Kedarnath visit. Speaking to media persons in Haridwar, Sakshi Maharaj said, “Rahul Gandhi eats beef and goes to the holy shrine without purifying himself, the earthquake was bound to happen.” It may be mentioned here that the lady was in the news recently for calling the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi a British Agent.

See, every religion has its emptyheads.

Apparently, every tragedy, such as the Nepal quake, begets some idiot who has “the explanation” and it is never based on facts, reason, or science. Instead, the emptyheads of the universe almost always ascribe the event to some failing on the part of the folks affected. One could only hope that organized religion, if it won’t be helpful, then perhaps it could refrain from opening its mouth at all.  It all makes me wonder whether they would ascribe Jesus’ “problem” (that nailing to the cross thing) to some awful failing on his part—he must have committed some unspeakable act to so offend God/poppy that his nailing was ordered.

But back to Nepal. The tragedy continues to unfold, with the death count continuing to rise. Partly, the destruction is simply a result of a 7.9 quake, which is huge. By way of example, here is a quote from Wiki about that 1906 California quake: “Since the 1906 earthquake preceded by more than 30 years the development of the Richter magnitude scale, the most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the quake on the modern moment magnitude scale is 7.8, values from 7.7 to as high as 8.25 have been proposed The main shock epicenter occurred offshore about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the city, near Mussel Rock. Shaking was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles, and inland as far as central Nevada”.

So, we have a quake equaling the San Francisco quake, which really destroyed the city.  Is it any wonder that so much damage was done in Nepal? Kathmandu is an old city by any standard, with its history spanning some 2000 years. Many of its key buildings, especially its temples, are several hundred years old. As such, the building standards did not include any technology that might withstand such a powerful quake. So, it may even be surprising that the buildings survived at all. One assumes there are geologic explanations for why some buildings collapse, while others standing nearby remain unscathed.  But the ancient buildings are vulnerable, God’s wrath notwithstanding.  But for the newer buildings, we have less good explanations.  It seems clear, that building standards capable of withstanding powerful quakes exist, but have not been used throughout the country, including the capital, Kathmandu. For that we can blame, not God, but building contractors who wished to save money. These days, money is almost always a preferred explanation for disaster, and Nepal is no exception.  

So, we should think about the Nepali people who are currently sitting out in the open, or in tents, with little food or water, as disaster aid groups try desperately to reach them.  If you can, send some money to their aid—there are many private relief agencies now gearing up who can be contacted and would welcome your money. If not, then at least keep them in your prayers or your thoughts. And if you hear or see a religious emptyhead trying to blame these people, please tell them to shut up and go find a bank or a republican to blame.

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