My mother-in-law lives in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, so the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami is more than just an appalling headline. It’s personal. Ditto what’s going on in Fukushima. It worries me that my wife’s mom is in harm’s way – which is why I watch tsunami videos more than most people. And, the tsunami video that I am going to profile here is very important – to you.
This video encapsulates the dilemma that you and I find ourselves in. We are hearing warnings of a terrible event that will destroy us if we do nothing. We hear these warnings from people that seem rational. We may even get these warnings from those that we have entrusted with such things. But, we’ve never experienced anything like this before, so we do nothing. Even worse, we keep the warning to ourselves, because we are worried that other people might think that we are crazy.
I understand this dilemma. I spent years telling people that Peak Oil was an event in the far future and the ravings of tin foil hat lunatics – until I was forced to look at the evidence. In fact, yesterday, I ran across a comment that I had made in a local Taiwan forum two years ago. That comment made me cringe.
How could I have been so stupid?
Well, it’s that Normalcy Bias that we all suffer from. If we have never experienced catastrophe before, it is nearly impossible for us to imagine the possibility of catastrophe now. This was how six million Jews were murdered by Hitler. This was how 1.7 million Cambodians died in the Killing Fields, under Pol Pot. This was how Joseph Stalin was able to murder millions of his own people.
Normalcy Bias. It will kill you, if you don’t pay attention.
Now, you probably have an inkling of what I mean when I talk about Normalcy Bias and tsunami warnings. You can grasp the possibility of this, intellectually. But, you need to get beyond the intellectual here. You need to get visceral.
Why? Because inaction is just another word for suicide.
So, let’s get into this video. It’s 26 minutes and 38 seconds long. You only need to see the first few minutes to get what I’m talking about, but I can almost guarantee that if you start this video, you’ll watch most of it. It is an awesome tribute to the power of God’s creation, as well as an appalling human tragedy.
But, let me set the stage. (You’ll understand why I am doing this, when you watch the video.)
Here’s the location of the person taking the video:
Here is the location, zoomed out:
Here is where the Tohoku Tsunami came from:
It took about 30 minutes for the Tsunami to arrive after the high point of the Tohoku Earthquake.
But, let’s stop here and take a moment to watch the video:
This video is an edited version of the video that you can find here.
Did you see how no one really believed that the tsunami was coming?
Some did run to higher ground early and called out to others to follow them. Others, like the cameraman, were slow to realize the danger, but they still called out to others to go to safety – while they went to safety themselves.
Many could not believe it, until it was too late.
Which one are you?
I’m embarrassed to say that I’m like the cameraman. I listened to the sirens and the warning messages, and then went out to see for myself. I recorded what was happening, but I didn’t really believe it until I saw real danger come barreling down – almost on top of me.
Lucky for me, I happened to be close to a place of refuge that I could quickly run to when I finally woke up to what was happening.
How about you?
Are you in a safe place?
Lots of people have recognized the danger and ran early to a place of refuge – places like Costa Rica, Ecuador and Chile. They probably were able to save their most precious possessions in the process. Those of us who are late to figure things out have been able to save a little bit of our lives – but not much. For the rest…
Well, for the rest… when the clock runs out and the tsunami finally comes… you might make it.
Most of you will not.
And, there’s no guarantee that OUR place of safety is truly safe. When my wife and I were watching the video, it wasn’t clear that the cameraman was high enough off the ground to escape. But, there were a couple extra floors to get to.
Be like that cameraman. Make sure that your ‘safe place’ leaves you room to escape further up.
Are you ready for what’s coming?
Here’s the Google Street view, four months after the Tohoku Tsunami:
Here is the view of where the footbridge was in the video:
Here’s the view of where the cameraman was standing, once he got to safety:
The unimaginable is coming.
Are you ready?
Here is the link to the original webpage where I saw the video:
(Why do so many people want to blame Israel for every tragedy in the world? – JL)