While some areas of Connecticut got clobbered last night, Greenwich received a dusting. Those of you with long memories may recall that the minimum standard for closing schools for weather reasons was six inches of snow – remember those hopeful nights when it was snowing hard, a math test scheduled for the next day, and urging on the flakes? None of that now for our intrepid New England town: everyone stays home, huddled in fear, if the sky turns grey.
Blame television. Before we invited its 24-hour a day hype into our homes, what happened in, say, Juneau stayed in Juneau. For instance, did you know that child abduction incidents, always rare, are no higher today than in 1954? We’ve whipped parents into a frenzy with “amber alerts”, lockdowns, mommies driving children to school instead of letting them walk, etc. etc. because today if a child goes missing in Tuscaloosa, the entire nation is alerted and the abduction is treated as though it happened in every single parent’s own home town.
Same thing with snowstorms. With better forecasting methodology, weather prognosticators can predict the arrival of a storm a week in advance and the media whoops it up. Of course, with nothing to report for that week they outdo themselves in hyperbole, each broadcast, each weather “expert” trying to top the competitor’s phoned-up hysteria. Remember “Snowmagaddon”? Last August, after a winter without snow in the east, the weather people were calling for a brutal Afghan winter, a return of Snowmageddon to our northeast corridor, including a fierce, snowy January.
Not so long ago, a little snowstorm in one place: Greenwich, for instance, would be just that. And if it snowed more somewhere else, a letter from Uncle Rufus up in Eastford might arrive a week later informing of that and the recipient would shrug and go about his business. Now, with the aid of television and the Internet to scare everyone, our central government applies a one size fits all “solution” to the weather and shuts down roads and public institutions across the state, just to satisfy citizens’ demand that someone in authority “do something”.
It’s also about conditioning the populous to obey the government. If Mansfield is buried under two-feet of snow, why forbid citizens of Cos Cob to drive on their own roads, which are covered with two-inches of slush? Because central authority says so, damn it, and you’d better listen up. Compliance with a stupid, illogical command from authority softens the public up for acceptance of more such orders, and more will be coming, we can count on it.
We used to be better and stronger than this.