Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blizzard Whiteout

Eastern Montana writer John Moore alerted me to the great October blizzard in South Dakota a few days ago. I told him I would blog on it, but assumed something of such magnitude would soon get out. But nooo... apparently the actions of petty bureaucrats top any need to report the effects of the greatest storm disaster in "Flyover Country" in decades-- or ever. Do the coasts really want ignore, to write off the vital rural heart? Does Congress give a damn? Do suburbanites think they can prosper without some relation to the land? Food comes from someplace other than the market;  even urban locavores seem to be getting that much. Why haven't our so- called serious news organs reported this situation?

Annie D , who is not western but is awake and aware of many things, read and mailed me this heartbreaking link. A quote will start you off:

"The worst blizzard in recorded history of South Dakota just swept through the state. Tens of thousands of cattle are predicted dead and the much of the state is still without power. The Rapid City Journal reports, ”Tens of thousands of cattle lie dead across South Dakota on Monday following a blizzard that could become one of the most costly in the history of the state’s agriculture industry.”

"The only reason I know this is because my parent’s ranch, the setting for Meadowlark, lies in the storm’s epicenter. Mom texted me after the storm. “No electricity. Saving power on phone. It’s really, really bad….” She turned on her phone to call me later that day. “There are no words to describe the devastation and loss. Everywhere we look there are dead cattle. I’ve never seen so many dead cattle. Nobody can remember anything like this.” Author of several books and infinite numbers of articles, Mom said, “I can’t imagine writing about this. I’m not going to take photos. These deaths are too gruesome. Nobody wants to see this.”

"I searched the national news for more information. Nothing. Not a single report on any of major news sources that I found. Not CNN, not the NY Times, not MSNBC. I thought, Well, it is early and the state remains without power and encased in snow, perhaps tomorrow. So I checked again the next day. Nothing. It has now been four days and no national news coverage... Meanwhile, ranchers on the plains have been dealt a crippling blow the likes that has not been experienced in living memory."

Read The Whole Thing. 

Update: Big Media begins to react, in brief bland paragraphs that do not suggest that they find it necessary to send a live reporter to such a place (if they think like some of the commenters John mentions below, why would they bother?) It was a week ago, folks-- is that all you can do? Or is it more important for us to know every nuance of the latest pearls of wisdom from Harry Reid and John Boehner?

John Moore writes: "One local young rancher has started a campaign to collect heifers to send to South Dakota ranchers. So far he has pledges for over 100, yet the local paper hasn't even covered his efforts yet. I've never seen a situation like this. It just boggles my imagination. The worst part has been the web attacks by some urbanites on the whole situation, some calling it fabricated and others saying who cares? the ranchers are all rich and will get reimbursed by the government anyway. Some going so far as to say the ranchers should be punished for letting their livestock die... "

The disconnect between rural and urban may be greater than any time I can remember.


Gil said...

This appeared in the Oct. 7 NYT

Anonymous said...

Here's a link from today's Morning Addition:


Anonymous said...

...a friend of mine works for Southeast Electric, Ekalaka, Mt.. His crews truck needed to be moved by a Cat D9 due to the wet conditions. 4000 poles ordered for Bison, South Dakota with 1500 active linemen on the ground this's the worst thing he's ever seen.

Phil Yearout said...

Heard it on NPR this morning.

Chas Clifton said...

I passed through the edge of that storm on the 6th between Valentine, Neb., and Murdo, S.D. The wind was howling, but the snow was much less there.

Still, I saw one motor home off the road near Mission, S.D. The driver, however, was not too perturbed, because he told me that he was just delivering it from the Indiana factory to somewhere and he could call for roadside assistance.

Anonymous said...

Another urban bias?


Reid Farmer said...

The disconnect between rural and urban may be greater than any time I can remember.


Can't disagree with you

Steve Bodio said...

And you are at least semi- urban (;-)

But their problem is not one you have. You know the farm and the ranch and the wilds. Those that are dismissive about rural matters are not necessarily malicious, though some of these commenters are. What they are is, mostly, bone ignorant, not even knowing how the world works, what food is, or what it is like to do hard physical work. To someone whose world is virtual, in more than the cyber sense, those that live in older ways are almost threatening in both their self- sufficiency and in their unforced natural community, in their physical competence.

COMPETENCE is threatening--remember those nouveau country dwellers in the NYT we blogged on a few years ago, with their security systems and fear of raccoons-- and deer-- and PEOPLE? They referred to their competent neighbors as "machine people", compared to their sensitive "poetic" selves...

Yeah, shame is getting them some coverage now. Until some cyber- linked rurals got the word out, they either didn't know or didn't know why it mattered. Damn near invincible ignorance.

By the way, how many rural people do you know who can find their way around in NY or LA. I know a lot more than I do New Yorkers who are not utterly provincial