Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When Weather Terrorists Attack

Over the weekend a series of severe storms moved through Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi, killing fifteen people and injuring many more. In the wake of this tragedy, Religious Right activist Dave Daubenmire thinks he knows what is really going on. According to a webcast that aired yesterday, he speculated that the storms could be the result of "weather terrorism" unleashed by "people who'll kill babies" - which I guess is referring to pro-choice activists. But beyond that, the whole rant is pretty confusing.

Daubenmire said that while most people will dismiss this as “all tinfoil hat stuff,” it can’t be denied that “people who’ll kill babies” are capable of anything. “Folks, we’re talking about people who’ll kill babies,” he said. “They don’t even think about killing babies. We’re talking about unsaved people who will do anything for money.”

“Is it weather terrorism?” Daubenmire asked. “I wonder how many bridges were washed out down through Missouri and through Illinois and up through parts of Texas. I wonder, through the flooding, how much stuff was destroyed that they can just blame it on the weather, ‘Well, it was just bad weather that came through there.’ Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of damage that was done and is it being done through weather modification?”

To be clear, the reason this should be dismissed as "tinfoil hat stuff" is because even if somebody wanted to control the weather, there's no conceivable way that they could do it at our current level of technology. The closest we've been able to get is cloud seeding, which sometimes can make it rain - sometimes. It doesn't work at all if the conditions aren't right to begin with, which often is when a storm is already on the way. Wilhelm Reich claimed to get similar results with his "cloudbuster," but even taken at face value, they were only marginally better than the results of seeding experiments.

It also isn't clear to me how, even if you had a magical tornado machine, you could make money by using it on unsuspecting towns. Is whoever allegedly has this weather control machine a building contractor? Because that's about the only plausible scenario I can come up with where you could create tornados to make money that doesn't involve demanding a ransom or something. Otherwise, trying to create storms "for money" is just stupid - and, as I often point out here, "evil for evil's sake" isn't a motivation that you generally find in the real world.

Also, the point of terrorism is to inspire terror. If a "weather terrorist" group has this mysterious device, why aren't they taking credit for the storms? Why didn't they announce what they were going to do? Why aren't they asking for a ransom or the release of compatriots or whatever under the threat of using it again? I know that was the plot of that lousy 1998 Avengers movie and there's no way this hypothetical group is led by Sean Connery, but still, that doesn't automatically make it a bad plan - you know, if you can actually do it.

Which, to be clear, nobody can. Which is why "weather terrorists" only exist in the confused imaginations of guys like Daubenmire, and why "tinfoil hat" is the precisely correct description for his bizarre musings.

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