Our View: Inaction will not suffice
If you’ve ever tried to cross the summit during whiteout conditions, you know fear.
Thinking you can make it before the storm hits, getting caught as traffic slows to a crawl and then sitting silently as the storm rages around you. It’s impossible to see the vehicle in front of you or know what’s going on outside the confines of your car.
That’s a far cry from sitting in a cozy home with a fire blazing as wind howls outside your windows. There might be some damage when morning comes, but it’s safe and warm, as long as you stay inside.
Winter storms bring a different sort of danger to a community that typically focuses on the threat of fire. We flee when fire comes. There’s no other choice. A January storm, however, causes us to stock up on supplies and shelter indoors.
Which, after all these months, is something we’ve become very good at.
If we take the right precautions, storms like the ones that blew through this week can be little more than inconveniences. Sticking with the theme of the pandemic — shopping locally — we can help our businesses and ourselves with some foresight. Then it’s a matter of having candles nearby, or generators if we’re lucky, in case they’re needed.
The next morning will bring a winter wonderland, as opposed to fire, which leaves nothing in its wake.
A Christmas card scene outside your window is the least of what a good snow brings. Think of the snowpack that serves as a reservoir for us. It’s always in need of more, as do the rivers that feed our county, and ultimately other communities on their way to the ocean.
And after months of fearing fire, we’re certainly not going to curse the rain, regardless of what form it comes.
If you’re lucky enough to be snug by the fireplace, be sure to think about those who aren’t that fortunate. Not everyone stuck in the snow thought they could traverse the summit before the storm hit. Law enforcement and first responders are out there no matter the weather. Somebody’s driving the snow plows so the rest of us can get to our homes and jobs.
As for our homeless population, there never seems to be enough beds in shelters and nights for warming shelters. We may be inconvenienced by heavy rain and snow, but there are many people in our community whose lives are endangered by this weather.
The ongoing pandemic certainly doesn’t help the situation. Local food banks still need our assistance.
And that’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? People need our help.
Whether it’s summer or winter, fire or ice, our community needs support. It’s easy to feel secure when we have a warm home and working heat, and sometimes we might forget about the Caltrans worker in the snow or the family living out of their car.
We can continue to donate money to the causes we care about, but also ensure our behavior meets a basic standard if we want to remain proud of where we live. The outright rude behavior that led Quietech to close its doors for days, and change to an appointment-only model, is abhorrent.
We shouldn’t need a fire, a winter storm or a pandemic to shake us up and make us realize what’s important — caring for those around us, whether it’s someone who needs a bed or the customer service rep manning the store.
Cloaking ourselves in warm homes might be great, but it won’t suffice.
The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com
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