The Washington Times-Herald


November 23, 2013

Chaos and community on Sycamore Street


But while I have been out there the past few days, there has been one presence that hangs over Sycamore Street and I believe brought out the worst in our city, the rubberneckers.

If you were there, you know what I am getting ready to say. It’s one thing to slow down when you see someone pulled over on the side of the road, or even at a traffic accident. But it’s another to try to drive through the scene of a TORNADO just to SEE at the damage and not get out of your car to help people who may have needed it.

I get it, the power was off and people are naturally curious. But just like the storm that damaged the city’s west side in 2006, and the tornado that ripped through Amish country, curiosity played a real problem for emergency workers the precious hours where, if people were really hurt, would have been in trouble due to all the onlookers in the way.

I watched the state police turn away rubberneckers off the highway near Meridian Street, even though there was a curfew in place Sunday night. Even on Thursday as I was filming two groups of volunteers taking time away from school to clean up, there still were those who’d rather slow down and look than get out and help. A few even drove past some barricades.

In the time it took to grab your keys, you could have grabbed a check to repair homes that don’t have the best insurance. In the time it took to drive down to S.E. 11th Street, you could have picked up a pie for the over 600 volunteers that did help. In the time it took...

I’m wasting my space. Consider this my admonishment. The time for cleanup is almost over, but the time for rebuilding for several families is beginning. They will still need our help. We will continue to share their stories and give you the information and ways to help. Please do.

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