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In case you missed it, yesterday’s post was a thorough one on John MacArthur’s biblical thoughts about the current protests.

It’s worthwhile reading that, if you haven’t already, before moving on to recent protest scenes in the United States, where young and old are railing against each other while the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Our first stop is The Villages in Florida, a conurbation of retirement settlements for the well-heeled middle class. In 2008, many residents supported John McCain. In 2012, many went for Mitt Romney. In 2016, many supported then-candidate Donald Trump.

This was the scene late last week, as Trump supporters and Democrats waged a shouting war against each other. Strong language in the second video. I’m glad she’s not my mayor:

This is our future. Remember, these people have grandchildren, who are young adults.

In a sense, it’s amusing for some onlookers …

… but there can be serious problems, such as STDs among this age group. Coronavirus could be there as well:

Hmm. How many of these people were politically active back in the 1960s?

Let’s leave Florida and travel a few hundred miles north to Raleigh, North Carolina, where a BLM protest took place with 100% white people. Two black conservatives turned up by chance as spectators:

I really wish there had been more interaction here. I’ll get to that shortly.

One wonders if it would have gone like this:

Well, when you’re in your 20s, you know everything. I know I did at the time, like this woman’s niece:

Yet, many of us in our 40s and beyond (I’m at the latter end), were raised to be colour blind and adopt the teachings of Martin Luther King on character. I remember the civil rights era. My parents and many others were shocked at what went on in the South. Yet, that has now been forgotten. Millions had sympathy for the plight of American blacks who could not truly vote (without jumping through hoops, figuratively) until … 1965, with Democrats being the main objectors to that legislation. Once again, Republicans led the way to equality. Since then, further legislation has helped to bring different races to further equality in unemployment and housing.

No one who lived through the civil rights era ever forgot it, so it is unclear why these protesters are so angry. One would have thought the lessons of the recent past would have been transmitted to the next generation. Perhaps not.

Interestingly, Benji Irby’s friend on the day, Shemeka Michelle, filmed a much longer video of the protest:

She said that it seemed the whites protested in order to feel better about themselves.

Perhaps it is some sort of atonement.

Oddly, only one of the protesters there to support black lives bothered to speak to her:

After the protest, she says the other whites avoided her and Benji Irby and went on their way.

Maybe the protesters have never lived amongst people of another race? Maybe they feel bad about it. Well, that’s no reason to take it out on everyone else:

Perhaps it is about control.

Our last stop is across the country in the Pacific Northwest: Portland, Oregon.

Protesters want to take down the monument to the Oregon Trail:

Precisely.

If missionaries had not organised the Oregon Trail after Lewis and Clark’s expedition to the Pacific Northwest, someone else would have. The British tried it and were unsuccessful.

The move westward had been laid out by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803. From Wikipedia:

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson issued the following instructions to Meriwether Lewis: “The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by its course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado and/or other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce.”[1] Although Lewis and William Clark found a path to the Pacific Ocean, it was not until 1859 that a direct and practicable route, the Mullan Road, connected the Missouri River to the Columbia River.

As I remember learning about it in history class more than once, it was a big deal in terms of trade. To begin with, there was fur. Later there was gold.

The plan was called the Manifest Destiny, as History.com explains:

By the 1840s, the Manifest Destiny had Americans in the East eager to expand their horizons. While Lewis and Clark had made their way west from 1804 to 1806, merchants, traders and trappers were also among the first people to forge a path across the Continental Divide.

A merchant, Nathan Wyeth, led the first group of missionaries who settled in Idaho in 1834.

Marcus Whitman, a Methodist missionary from the state of New York, made the first successful crossing to what we know as the state of Washington in 1836. His wife, Narcissa, kept a diary of their perilous journey:

The party made it to the Green River Rendezvous, then faced a grueling journey along Native American trails across the Rockies using Hudson Bay Company trappers as guides. They finally reached Fort Vancouver, Washington, and built missionary posts nearby—Whitman’s post was at Waiilatpu amid the Cayuse Indians.

Whitman’s small party had proved both men and women could travel west, although not easily. Narcissa’s accounts of the journey were published in the East and slowly more missionaries and settlers followed their path which became known as the Whitman Mission Route.

In 1842, the Whitman mission was closed by the American Missionary Board, and Whitman went back to the East on horseback where he lobbied for continued funding of his mission work. In the meantime, missionary Elijah White led over 100 pioneers across the Oregon Trail.

Whitman led another expedition of settlers in 1843, destined for what we know as Oregon:

The group included 120 wagons, about 1,000 people and thousands of livestock. Their trek began on May 22 and lasted five months.

It effectively opened the floodgates of pioneer migration along the Oregon Trail and became known as the Great Emigration of 1843.

Unfortunately, the settlers brought measles with them, infecting the Cayuse. Whitman did try to help cure those infected:

After a measles epidemic broke out in 1847, the Cayuse population was decimated, despite Whitman using his medical knowledge to help them.

In the ongoing conflict, Whitman, his wife and some of the mission staff were killed; many more were taken hostage for over a month. The incident sparked a seven-year war between the Cayuse and the federal government.

We can say what we like in the 21st century, but travelling from coast to coast involved a lot of planning and expense:

Emigrants had to sell their homes, businesses and any possessions they couldn’t take with them.

They could not take a lot of possessions, because they had to ensure that their covered prairie schooner wagons could accommodate their families and their food. There weren’t any real settlements at the time, so everything had to be purchased in advance. There were no restaurants, cafés or grocery stores along the way. Wives had to make every meal from scratch. The most common meat was bacon. Imagine how limited their meals were day to day for five months. How awful.

So they put up with that. Then they had to endure a) the weather and b) the terrain:

There were slightly different paths for reaching Oregon but, for the most part, settlers crossed the Great Plains until they reached their first trading post at Fort Kearney, averaging between ten and fifteen miles per day.

From Fort Kearney, they followed the Platte River over 600 miles to Fort Laramie and then ascended the Rocky Mountains where they faced hot days and cold nights. Summer thunderstorms were common and made traveling slow and treacherous.

It’s a wonder anyone was able to make the journey. The major landmark along the route was in Wyoming at Independence Rock:

The settlers gave a sigh of relief if they reached Independence Rock—a huge granite rock that marked the halfway point of their journey—by July 4 because it meant they were on schedule. So many people added their name to the rock it became known as the “Great Register of the Desert.”

After leaving Independence Rock, settlers climbed the Rocky Mountains to the South Pass. Then they crossed the desert to Fort Hall, the second trading post.

From there they navigated Snake River Canyon and a steep, dangerous climb over the Blue Mountains before moving along the Columbia River to the settlement of Dalles and finally to Oregon City. Some people continued south into California.

There was also a lot of disease, possible conflicts with native Americans — and death:

According to the Oregon California Trails Association, almost one in ten who embarked on the trail didn’t survive.

Most people died of diseases such as dysentery, cholera, smallpox or flu, or in accidents caused by inexperience, exhaustion and carelessness. It was not uncommon for people to be crushed beneath wagon wheels or accidentally shot to death, and many people drowned during perilous river crossings.

Travelers often left warning messages to those journeying behind them if there was an outbreak of disease, bad water or hostile American Indian tribes nearby. As more and more settlers headed west, the Oregon Trail became a well-beaten path and an abandoned junkyard of surrendered possessions. It also became a graveyard for tens of thousands of pioneer men, women and children and countless livestock.

With the advent of the railroads in 1869, covered wagons gradually became obsolete.

The westward migration continued — more comfortably. You can read more here.

So, one wonders what these protesters in Oregon are angry about. Perhaps they should live elsewhere?

As John MacArthur says (see yesterday’s post), these protests are built on lies, helping no one.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, it is worth remembering how dreadful other hurricanes have been.

On March 26, 2018, Philip Gerard, a creative writing instructor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, contributed an article to Our State about the Deluge of 1940, which brilliantly documents how that violent storm left a swathe of death and destruction in the mountains.

Reading the article will make you feel as if you were there.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

The southeast hurricane barrels into Beaufort, South Carolina, on August 11, 1940, as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. It moves inland into Georgia, then unpredictably hooks north along the Appalachians and churns into North Carolina from the west, bringing five days of unrelenting rainfall.

The hurricane is the latest in a series of storms that have already dumped more than 21 inches of rain on the mountain region during the month of August. Downtown Boone is submerged in muddy water after eight inches of rain fall in just 48 hours. Elsewhere, the water comes all at once in torrents.

Just east of Boone, and southeast of Deep Gap and the partially completed Blue Ridge Parkway, water is sluicing down steep mountainsides into the two prongs of Stony Fork Creek — toward the home of Zeb Greene, one of many Greenes living in the small, scattered community of Stony Fork. Here, houses perch on stone foundations, often with small gristmills along creeks in the low, flat ground between hills. Zeb’s two-story wooden house was built by his father, David, in the 1850s on a foundation of chestnut logs laid on creek and pasture rocks. Zeb’s brother Elster lives within hailing distance.

At home with Zeb are other relatives who are stranded there by the rising creek as night falls: Worth and Lucy Greene and their 1½-year-old daughter, Betty, and Lucy’s first cousin Nina Todd, 15. Just last night, Nina harmonized with her cousin Beulah Greene, singing the hymn “I Would Rather Have Jesus” at the Stony Fork revival, which was cut short because of the violent storms.

The howling early darkness is split by eerie flashes of lightning along the course of the flood and a weird, low, electric light. And over the slamming rush of the rain can be heard another sound: a rumble like thunder, first erupting in punctuated bursts, then sustained in a long, trembling roar. It is the sound of mountainsides falling — great landslides hundreds of feet wide, the overburden of soil saturated by continuous rain and loosened by the big timber outfits that have clear-cut the old-growth forest, whose roots once held soil to bedrock. Now the ridges break away in massive avalanches of earth, rock, and timber weighing thousands of tons and moving at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

Because the slides erupt out of the darkness, their victims can’t see them coming; they can only hear the earth-shaking roar when it’s too late.

The ensuing destruction isolated many communities:

In southeastern Watauga County alone, more than 600 landslides sweep down into creeks and across roadways, burying houses and other buildings, destroying railroad tracks, cutting off entire communities from the outside world, and killing 12 people. As many as 200 more slides descend on southern and central Watauga.

The aforementioned Nina Todd died, along with Zeb Greene:

The onrushing wall of water catches the three by surprise, and carries away Zeb and Nina. From his front porch, Elster Greene can hear his brother’s panicked cries, but he is powerless to rescue him

the baby, Betty … is reminded of that calamitous night her whole life. She recalls, “Mama felt guilty the rest of her life that Nina, her first cousin, died, because she and Daddy had gone to get Nina to come sing at the revival at Stony Fork Baptist Church.”

Nina Todd’s body is found, half-buried in river mud and sand, more than 20 miles away, not far from Zeb’s body — both carried clear across the Yadkin River by the force of the flood. She is identified by the belt she was known to be wearing and her wristwatch.

Philip Gerard’s article documents other families’ death and suffering during the Deluge of 1940. It concludes:

The disaster goes down in history as the Great Flood of 1940, but it’s really many floods: of the Watauga, Yadkin, Little Tennessee, Tuckasegee, New, and French Broad rivers. Of Stony Fork Creek and Linville Creek and Swift Ford Branch and a hundred other creeks in Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Haywood, Caldwell, and other mountain counties.

It is a great deluge not just of water, but also of earth, as if the mountains themselves are dissolving into a cold lava clotted with boulders and stumps and green trees and the wooden bones of broken barns and houses — and too many bodies of innocents caught unawares in the dark of night, carried off from their homes by this rampaging creature of storms, this devastating legacy of clear-cut mountainsides, this nightmare come true.

Those of us who do not live in these storm-prone regions often do not realise how terrifyingly powerful and deadly these natural disasters are.

My prayers and thoughts go to those — including my reader(s) in the Carolinas — affected by Hurricane Florence.

This 11+-minute video is a montage of what occurred in North and South Carolina on Friday, September 14, 2018:

The video description is as follows:

Hurricane Florence and Flash floods in North Carolina, USA 2018. Amazing footage tropical storm Florence today. Hurricane Florence hit North and South Carolina as a category one hurricane early Friday, and already many residents are struggling to cope with the storm’s life-threatening forces.

Sixty-five mile-per-hour winds are blowing across the region, and some areas are projected to see as much as 40 inches of rain. As of Friday afternoon, some parts of the state had already seen 14 inches of rain. Hurricane Florence is slow, large, and intensely rainy. Its relatively slower speed means it will likely hover over coastal regions for longer than it would have if it were moving faster.

The last alert on Florence from the National Hurricane Center on Sunday, September 16, reads in part:

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive
rainfall in the following areas…

Central and western North Carolina into far southwest Virginia…

An additional 5 to 10 inches, with storm total accumulations of 15
to 20 inches in western North Carolina. These rainfall amounts will
produce catastrophic flash flooding, prolonged significant river
flooding, and an elevated risk for landslides in western North
Carolina and far southwest Virginia.

Southern North Carolina into Northern South Carolina…

An additional 4 to 6 inches, isolated 8 inches. This rainfall will
result in additional flash flooding while also exacerbating the
river flooding. Storm total accumulations of 30 to 40 inches in
southeast North Carolina.

West-central Virginia, north of Roanoke and west of
Charlottesville…

2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches. This rainfall will result in
flash flooding and potentially lead to some river flooding.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes remain possible across North Carolina
and eastern South Carolina today and tonight.

SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions
of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas.
These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip
current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather
office.

The storm is a boomerang shape and will be going northwest into the Ohio Valley on Monday before swinging northeast, reaching Maine this week:

President Trump tweeted:

FEMA employees have been working hard …

… along with emergency crews going in from around the United States …

… including the Marines:

Critters, such as snakes and alligators, are on the loose:

Benign animals have also been displaced:

This North Carolina man has his kitten with him:

This lady and other volunteers are rescuing dogs:

See more at #FLORENCE.

Forbidden Bible Verses will appear tomorrow.

On Monday, September 11, 2017, I listened to the Howie Carr Show, broadcast from Boston.

Howie’s poll question was about media coverage of Irma. Fifty-nine per cent of his listeners thought it was overkill. Forty-one per cent thought it was just right.

Howie, whose property in West Palm Beach is fine, lamented that the 41% who were interested in Irma either a) had homes in Florida, b) visited the state or c) knew people there. I fit two out of three categories — not a), I hasten to add.

I very much appreciate getting updates, so please feel free to comment. Thank you to my two readers who have sent in reports!

If this had been the worst case scenario, the US would have had an historic humanitarian disaster on its hands. As it is, there is still much clean up and restoration to be done.

I have heard and read that there is much criticism for the ‘lack of response’ in the Caribbean by the British and French governments in British territories and Saint Martin, respectively.

Amazingly, one of the lefty panellists on RMC (talk radio) yesterday said he was sick and tired of hearing about it. He said that the French government was doing what it could to help. This man blamed naive people visiting the island during hurricane season. He also said that French people who moved there have a responsibility to know how to deal with hurricanes. He was annoyed that people expected the government to do everything for them.

South central Florida

I have been reading Sundance’s updates on The Conservative Treehouse. He has lived in southwest Florida for many years and goes out to help with aid and rescue after hurricanes. The media are covering only the west coast cities and Keys. Less has been said about the east coast, which suffered worse damage, and central Florida, parts of which are also flooded.

Sundance said that Lake Okeechobee (the big ‘O’ lake visible in the southern end of the state) burst its banks and is flowing into the Peace River near Arcadia. This is part of his ground report:

En route to the coast we got a ham radio call, well, more of a desperate plea for help on U.S. 17 for a group of families stuck between Wachula and Arcadia. By the time we got there… yikes, desperate homeowners and families trying to salvage anything amid chest high water actually flowing on US 17.

We were able to get about 5 families and their pets, and a few belongings, relocated about 2 miles away and called for the United Way to get there and help. It was like something out of a farm movie. These people are suffering, and they didn’t have much to start with; and they are so thankful …

The center of Florida is rural, farming, working class, and also lots of poor people. The coasts are more well-off. I think all the attention is going to the coasts. The center of the state is of Florida is FUBAR. Truth. Really bad. Those fine God-loving people didn’t have much and now they have less.

As he wrote last week, getting any kind of fuel continues to be a major problem. He thinks he will probably be restricted to helping in local cleanups for now.

This is more of what he saw yesterday near the Peace River after rescuing the families:

By the time we got them to safety, we couldn’t get back to where we came from.  We had to drive 20 miles north; to head West toward I-75 near Bradenton; to head South. On the way across SR64 there were people stuck with the Peace River flowing down the streets and driveways.  We helped who we could amid widespread downed power lines; broken power poles snapped like twigs (East to West wind); and trees as thick as cars that were blown over (North to South wind).

It took us 4 hours to cut through the trees blocking the road just to clear enough roadway to get to I-75 (West coast).  There’s massive power outages all over; made worse by flooding, that, as far as I can tell, the radio news media seemed to be overlooking.

Cell phone service is poor to non-existent. Out of frustration our team split up to check on our own situations before we lost light …

I’m writing this from a phone hotspot, which is the only source of internet access (probably because cables are down all over) and using the fuel remaining in the generator. to power up the drained laptop. I haven’t seen a second of TV (and don’t care to) and have no idea what media is saying about storm. However, if radio talk is any indicator, these pontificating doofuses are stuck in their Vichy boxes not looking past the coastal metropolitan areas.

If the media are covering only certain Irma stories round the clock, it is no wonder Americans are tired of hearing about it. Why can’t these news channels come up with additional reporting, which, surely, they could get from other networks’ local affiliates?

What follows are more videos and images I did not have the space to post yesterday. I will also give an update on Irma’s aftermath as experienced in other southern states on Monday.

Current forecast

This was the forecast late on September 11:

Later:

The NHC Atlantic Ops attention is now on Jose’s path.

Here is a map of Florida to help with the updates below. By the way:

Orlando

Dangerous creatures are lurking, even inland:

Disney World and Universal Studios reopened on Tuesday.

East coast

In the north, Jacksonville was hit in a major way:

A Pizza Hut manager in the city is in trouble for telling employees they could not evacuate early:

“We absolutely do not have a policy that dictates when team members can leave or return from a disaster, and the manager who posted this letter did not follow company guidelines,” the company said in a statement.

The company added that all stores in Irma’s path had been shuttered and wouldn’t reopen “until local authorities deem the area safe.”

These pictures were taken near St Augustine:

Going south, here’s Daytona Beach:

There was also flooding:

Going further south towards Palm Beach, here are the cities of Stuart:

And Fort Pierce:

Jupiter residents were advised to stay off the roads:

Moving south past Palm Beach, this was the scene in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, September 9 (another view of the tornado here):

On Sunday, Irma uprooted at least one tree:

Three huge construction cranes fell. The first two were in Miami and the third was in Fort Lauderdale. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Not far south from Fort Lauderdale lie Miami and Biscayne Bay.

This is what it was like on Saturday night:

The flooding from storm surge is unbelievable:

Biscayne Bay flooding:

The Keys

The Keys lie south of the Florida peninsula.

As was forecast, Irma ravaged large parts of this area, from Key Largo westward to Key West:

Residents who evacuated and want to return will have a long wait (another photo here):

Key Largo is now open. Another two opened on Tuesday:

This man says that he saw a lot of mobile homes tipped over:

Marco Island

Irma hit the mainland on Marco Island on Sunday, September 10:

How awful:

Animal rescues

Many animals were rescued during and after Irma:

South Carolina

Irma reached South Carolina as a tropical storm on Monday:

There were also tornado warnings.

North Carolina

As forecasted, Irma made it to the western part of North Carolina:

Georgia

Irma also went north from Florida into neighbouring Georgia:

Atlanta felt Irma’s wrath:

Uber suspended service Monday afternoon. Air transport posed a similar problem in tropical storm force winds.

There were also tornado warnings.

Alabama

Much of Alabama was cool on Monday. Irma brought heavy rain.

There were also strong winds in places:

There were 20,000 power outages.

Yet, other parts of the state near the Gulf were warm and sunny.

Mobile Bay had the phenomenon of its water being sucked out:

Anyone interested in tracking Irma’s final gasps can follow the NOAA satellite image which, as I write in the afternoon UK time, is showing the storm moving into Louisiana and Oklahoma and as far north as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Conus (Continental US) image from the National Weather Service is a great Doppler image worth checking out.

In other news, as Mexico is cleaning up and rescuing people after its earthquake, it will discontinue helping Texas post-Harvey:

And finally, September 11 is the anniversary of another severe hurricane — Iniki, which struck the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i in 1992.

Wow. What a time of acts of God, from Harvey to Mexico’s earthquake to Irma. We will remember 2017 for some time to come.

Hurricane Irma is on her way:

Irma means ‘war goddess’. How appropriate:

Jose, the storm behind her, means ‘God gives increase’. Jose is the ‘L’ (low) to the east of Irma:

Yes, there are indeed many possibilities, all of them awful.

Here is the situation in Florida for the southernmost tip (Keys) and counties for Fort Lauderdale (Broward) and Miami (Dade):

This is a Dade County evacuation map. Note below, from the information a local television station is receiving, that county officials are asking tourists to leave:

This is Irma as seen from space:

Someone from St Martin made this short video when Irma hit the island:

Barbuda was in the eye of Irma:

This was the approach:

This is what happened to the barometric pressure:

On Tuesday, September 5, the US Virgin Islands governor, Kenneth Mapp, has signed an emergency order allowing residents’ firearms, ammunition, explosives and property to be requisitioned as deemed necessary to protect the islands. The Daily Caller reports that this emergency order is:

subject to approval by the territory’s Justice Department.

Mapp has:

mobilized National Guard units to prepare for the massive storm.

Irma is expected to hit the islands on Wednesday, September 6:

Irma strengthened to a Category 5 storm Tuesday, with wind gusts hitting 175 miles an hour. Irma’s eye is expected to pass just north of the heart of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday and bring four to eight inches or rain and 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts.

Also on Tuesday, President Donald Trump approved Puerto Rico’s declaration of a state of emergency. Trump’s approval means that FEMA is authorised to co-ordinate disaster relief efforts:

No one yet knows where Irma could hit on the US mainland.

It could be Florida:

Or possibly the Carolinas:

Irma could also change direction:

Floridians are making preparations now.

The US Central Command has emergency information, such as this page for those living in the Tampa Bay area.

The Conservative Treehouse has useful posts on what could happen in Florida. ‘Hurricane Irma Concerns’ has excellent, detailed advice about what to do now. Generally speaking:

If we Floridians are going to successfully navigate this hurricane, people are going to have to work together and do the right thing. Based on what we know now, this has the possibility of being beyond a worst case because we can’t know which coast will be impacted, so both coasts might have to prepare.

Things were already getting frenetic in Miami today as people were trying to get ahead of the game by getting supplies. There is no reason to wait. Most hurricane food can be used in the course of life, and other supplies will work for season after season.

The best thing that can happen is that you don’t need to use your supplies, or your house or neighborhood doesn’t get flooded so you can easily go back home. It is unlikely that either will be the case for many people, so there is nothing to do but to prepare carefully and fully now.

The post also explains the danger that could well lie ahead (emphases mine):

The 5:00 PM National Hurricane Center cone shows a position just south of Key West Sunday afternoon, but there is significant uncertainty in that forecast. The average error of 5-day NHC forecasts is about 240 miles. It is impossible to know at this time whether Irma will track up the east coast, the west coast, or up the middle of Florida.

Given the amount of time it takes to move people to safe locations, decisions to order evacuation of areas that would become dangerous if the hurricane were to take an unfavorable track have to be made well before there is certainty. This situation could be a nightmare scenario where evacuations may be required on both coasts of the state and in the Keys, with everyone trying to head north on I-95, I-75, or the Turnpike. This possibility is extraordinarily concerning.

Many imaginable forecast tracks are also extremely dangerous for the Florida Keys. If Irma tracks anything like it is forecast, life-threatening conditions will be experienced over a significant portion of the Keys. Many people in Key West think they have been through hurricanes, but the last super hard, direct hit was in 1846, so obviously nobody has experience with what a big strong hurricane can do. If there was ever a time to follow the evacuation orders, this is it.

Another post, ‘Hurricane Irma Update — South Florida, Both Coasts, Pay Attention’ is excellent from the point of view in describing hurricanes past and present. Excerpts follow.

If Irma goes from south to north in Florida, something which has not happened in decades:

the difference between 10 to 20 miles east or west will be extremely important. I have led numerous Hurricane recovery teams, within multiple hurricane areas; this one is concerning …

There were probably less than two million residents in Florida the last time it happened; now there’s approximately 21 million.

Most hurricanes in Florida go from east to west and vice versa.

Another consideration is what would happen if Irma hit the west coast of Florida, which includes the cities of Sarasota and Naples, along with a number of resort areas, namely islands (emphasis in the original):

Unlike the Eastern coast of Florida the South West coast (Gulf Side) is primarily made up of recently populated “shallow water” Gulf barrier Islands.  A Category 5 storm that skirts the Western coast of Florida, from Ten Thousand Islands Northward to Sarasota, and maintains inflow energy from the Gulf of Mexico, is a topography changing event.

Repeat: “A topography changing event.”

This is because (emphases mine):

These Islands, while they may not be familiarly referenced as “barrier islands”, simply because decades have past and populations have developed them, are exactly that “Barrier Islands”These shallow water gulf areas along the coast have not had severe storm surge disturbances for 60+ years.

The tenuous coastal and barrier island ‘ground‘ is crushed shell and sand, and their entire topography is subject to change as the shallow and severely churned gulf waters carry in sand/silt and excavate the same.

Just like 2004’s Hurricane Charley split an entire island in less than 15 minutes, so too could entire coastal communities be split or covered in sand within a few hours. Bridges rising from mainland on one side could disappear into the new coastal Gulf of Mexico on the other, with the barrier island completely removed.   Nature is a powerful force.

If you live in South Florida, please pay attention to Irma’s path. There are millions of people in these coastal communities and only two basic Northern Interstates available for evacuation: I-75 (West Coast) and I-95 (East Coast).

If you live in South Florida West of I-75 or East of I-95, this might be the first storm you should consider *NOT* trying to ride out.

This short video shows what happened during the aforementioned Hurricane Charley. Watch what happens to this filling station (go to the 1:30 mark):

Hurricanes can arise out of seemingly innocuous storms. Florida meteorologist Bryan Norcross wrote a book describing his tracking of Andrew in 1992. The Palm Beach Post has an article from May 2017 which summarises his experience:

It was 4:35 a.m. when the Miami radar failed.

The more than one ton piece of equipment was pulled from the roof of the National Hurricane Center, shaking the building as it fell away in the 147-mph gusts of Hurricane Andrew.

Then WTVJ’s chief meteorologist Bryan Norcross tapped into radar signal from West Palm Beach in a desperate bid to keep tabs on the unprecedented Category 5 hurricane that just two days before was a less threatening Category 1 storm.

Norcross, who spoke Wednesday at the 31st Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference in West Palm Beach, said he wanted to honor the experiences of the people who suffered through Andrew while also telling the story from his unique perspective.

Norcross, now a hurricane expert for The Weather Channel, is credited with saving lives during a storm he watched grow from a lazy wave to a monster in only a few days.

“I thought the story had not been well enough told,” Norcross said. “People don’t understand what an epic event it was, so extremely different than anything we had seen before or since.”

The conference’s keynote speaker emphasised the importance of residents following evacuation orders:

Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Brevard County Emergency Manager Kimberly Prosser, said vigilance is necessary.

Her presentation was titled; “We told you so, lean into chaos.”

Despite the call to every barrier island resident advising them of the mandatory evacuation, apparently a large majority thought that the general message did not apply to them,” Prosser said. “Thousands of people emailed me personally asking for guidance on their specific situation” …

Imagine everything, because Mother Nature taught us in 1992 that things you never thought could happen, do,” Norcross said.

Last year, the Washington Post published a great article, complete with diagrams, showing hurricane paths over the past 100 years. Of Andrew, the article says:

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew rampaged through South Florida, causing 65 deaths and more than $26 billion in damage. Destroying more than 28,000 homes and damaging at least 107,000 others, the storm would be the costliest natural disaster in the United States until Katrina in 2005.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone in Irma’s path. I hope that their preparations have gone to plan and wish them godspeed.

Reading about Andy Griffith’s demise at the age of 86, millions of Americans must have felt as if part of them had died, too. I know I did.

Although many television fans around the world connect Griffith with his later incarnation as Matlock, for Baby Boomers and their parents, Sheriff Andy Taylor represented the best father and wisest sheriff in America!

Surprisingly, Griffith never won an Emmy for his role as Andy Taylor. However, he was such a great actor that many Americans were shocked to see his promotional advertisements for Barack Obama co-starring television son Opie, director Ron Howard.

SpouseMouse (who is English) and I happened to see his campaign announcement for Obama in 2008. Our jaws dropped. We looked at each other and asked, ‘Did Opie talk him into this? Or was he always a Lefty?’

Almost every thread that allows comments on Griffith’s obituary has many from disappointed, if not angry, Americans. We had connected Griffith so closely with Andy Taylor — a modern-day Solomon — that it seemed inconceivable he would promote any political candidate. Sheriff Taylor would have said, ‘This is a free country and I’m not going to influence your choice.’

I don’t know who was behind those adverts, but if it was an Obama operative, it was a cynical move which probably didn’t work very well with devoted viewers of The Andy Griffith Show.  Regardless, this serves to illustrate how closely a good actor is linked with his principal role — and how much we are mistaken in drawing a conclusion between person and persona.

However, although raised early on as a Baptist, Griffith later joined a pietist denomination, the Moravian Church. Many pietists are left-of-centre in their utopian emphasis on love and harmony. And it turns out that Griffith did support Democrat candidates in North Carolina. There are a number of Moravian congregations in Griffith’s home state of North Carolina.

His obituary on Fox News stated:

Griffith was born in 1926 in Mount Airy and as a child sang and played slide trombone in the band at Grace Moravian Church. He studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and for a time contemplated a career in the ministry. But he eventually got a job teaching high school music in Goldsboro.

Moravians settled in the coastal Southern states during colonial days. Regular readers will recall Methodism’s John Wesley. Wesley became an Arminian — free-will Protestant — through his encounters with them:

The Wesleys, together with the members of the Holy Club, developed a methodical way to achieve what they saw as a sanctified, obedient life. This rigid system of holiness would become known as Methodism.  The word ‘pietist’ was initially used by those critical of the movement; and so it was with the word ‘Methodist’, used against the Holy Club by its critics at Oxford.

The Wikipedia entry on pietism describes the German influence on Wesley as coming from both the Lutherans and the Moravians:

Moravians (e.g., Zinzendorf, Peter Bohler) and Pietists connected to Francke and Halle Pietism.

However, Wesley’s first encounter with their pietism initially occurred not in Germany but on his journey to North America with Charles in 1735.

A storm broke one of the ship’s masts en route to the American colonies. The story has it that, whilst the English (Anglicans and/or Calvinists) panicked, the Moravians on board remained calm by praying and singing hymns.  Their reaction impressed John Wesley, and he befriended them …

Once Wesley arrived in the southern colony of Georgia at the invitation of Governor James Oglethorpe to head a new congregation in the city of Savannah, he maintained his connections with Moravian pastors which affected his ministry there adversely …

Upon his return to England, John Wesley continued his Moravian associations.

Moravians in London worshipped in Aldersgate Street, then at the Fetter Lane Society, which Peter Böhler established in 1738. Both Wesleys and George Whitefield, as well as other Anglican clergy and laypeople, began attending Moravian services …

The Moravian worship style at the Fetter Lane Society was typically pietistic, inducing meaningful religious experiences, surges in emotion and a subjective notion of the presence of God …

Back now to Andy Griffith’s life. Twice divorced, he married a third time and left a widow, Cindi Knight, as well as a daughter from his first marriage to Barbara Bray Edwards.  In 1996, he recorded a CD of hymns which went platinum and won a Grammy Award the following year.

Griffith was buried within five hours of his death. Fox News tells us that he was a private person (emphases mine):

Griffith protected his privacy by building a circle of friends who revealed little to nothing about him. Strangers who asked where Griffith lived in Manteo [North Carolina] would receive circular directions that took them to the beach, said William Ivey Long, the Tony Award-winning costume designer whose parents were friends with Griffith and his first wife, Barbara.

Griffith helped Long’s father build the house where the family lived in a community of bohemian artists with little money, sharing quart jars of homemade vegetable soup with each other.

[Close friend Craig] Fincannon described Griffith as the symbol of North Carolina, a role that “put heavy pressure on him because everyone felt like he was their best friend. With great grace, he handled the constant barrage of people wanting to talk to Andy Taylor.”

The Andy Griffith Show started a trend on CBS for rural sitcoms in or of the South — The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres and Petticoat Junction among them. This genre continued throughout the 1960s until the head of the network, Fred Silverman, pulled the plug on them and made a dramatic switch to purely urban comedy shows which have continued from the 1970s to the present day.

This programming switch is now referred to as the rural purge. It also affected the two other main networks in making shows more ‘relevant’:

The numerous cancellations prompted Pat Buttram (“Mr. Haney” on one of the canceled shows, Green Acres) to make the observation: “It was the year CBS canceled everything with a tree—including Lassie“;[2][3] Lassie actually survived the initial rural purge.

The first rurally-themed show canceled by Silverman was Petticoat Junction. In September 1970, The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered on CBS. All in the Family premiered in January 1971 as a mid-season replacement. Both series provided the urban demographic, cutting-edge social relevance and ratings that CBS sought.[citation needed] These ratings successes prompted Silverman and the network to cancel Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry R.F.D., Hee Haw, Lassie, and The Jim Nabors Hour at the end of the 1970-71 season. Another series, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour lasted until the end of the 1971-72 season.

ABC also was looking for younger audiences, and in May 1971 canceled shows that skewed toward rural viewers (such as The Johnny Cash Show) or older viewers (Make Room for Granddaddy and The Lawrence Welk Show). NBC also targeted rural and older oriented programs in its cuts, eliminating long-running programs such as Wild Kingdom, The Andy Williams Show and The Virginian, all of which ran nine seasons or more.

Several shows were still popular when the axe fell:

What made these cancellations puzzling were the fact that they had come prior to 1970, at a time when CBS had yet to air any of their more “sophisticated” shows and gauge their popularity with the television audience. The success of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, and newer variety shows such as The Flip Wilson Show and The Carol Burnett Show in 1970 would allow for the mass cancellations of most of the now “undesired shows” at the end of 1971 despite their high ratings and popularity. Both Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies had dropped from the Nielsen top 30 by the 1970-71 season, yet both shows continued to win their respective time slots and had a loyal following, warranting renewal for another season. Other shows that were still pulling in even higher ratings when canceled included Mayberry R.F.D. which finished the season at number 15, Hee Haw at number 16, and The Jim Nabors Hour at number 29.[7]Nevertheless, the course had been set by the networks and the shows were cancelled to free up the schedules for newer shows.

The inclusion of demographics into determining a series’ worth to its sponsors meant that high ratings alone did not necessarily warrant a series for renewal. Series such as ABC’s The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family were never truly a ratings hit; however, both series appealed to a younger demographic and thus were renewed for three more seasons.

It would seem reasonable to conclude that the shift to nearly exclusive urban and suburban settings — with certain subsequent exceptions, e.g. The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie — helped to shape the opinions of America’s viewers. The result was that ‘urban’ was seen as ‘desirable’ and ‘rural’ as ‘backward‘. I would enjoy reading a critique of this, if it exists, showing that the shift helped to denigrate the America which lies between the two coasts. My hypothesis is that the rural purge indirectly gave rise to the term ‘Flyover Country’ and explains why the South is still so despised, despite the fact that many Northerners have moved there for lower taxes or to reunite with families whom they left in the 1950s and 1960s. And let us not forget the clement winter weather and the springtime magnolias which rival England’s!

The Andy Griffith Show differed from the other rural shows, partly because it was modelled on Griffith’s home town of Mount Airy. Griffith loved North Carolina, and the show reflected this. As other journalists have pointed out, we laughed with the characters — not at them.

Griffith’s show demonstrated man’s fallibility in a poignant, instructive yet positive way. We knew that they wanted to do the right thing but, like all humans, couldn’t. Although not outwardly intended as such, the sitcom showed man’s tendency to sin and the healing which biblical values (mercy, forgiveness, obedience) produced. Every episode ended with balanced reconciliation and resolution. Griffith poured his Moravian faith into this gentle comedy, which was full of fun moments.

Viewers are still picking up on this, even if they are unaware of it, because the show has never been off the air since cancellation in 1968. It’s been running for 52 years, most of that time in syndication.

Most of the cast have now gone to their rest. George Lindsey, who played Goober, died in May 2012. Jim Nabors, who went on to star in the spinoff series Gomer Pyle, USMC, is still alive as, of course, is Ron Howard who played Andy’s son Opie.

Griffith and Don Knotts — Deputy Barney Fife — were close friends in real life and remained so until Knotts’s death in 2006. From the start of the show, Griffith let Knotts carry the comedy, for which he won five Emmy Awards.  Griffith decided to play the ‘straight man’, demonstrating fairness and wisdom. Many were the times Sheriff Andy rescued his deputy from a potential accident with his firearm!

Just as Andy Taylor treated everyone equally, he was also an exemplary father to his son Opie. The online obituary comments reveal that children from dysfunctional homes found comfort and encouragement in the programme: there really were good parental models to follow. Those half-hour episodes showed them the positive side of family life.

In 1996, NBC’s Today show featured a series on famous police shows. In this clip, presenter Matt Lauer interviews Griffith and Knotts. They explain how, although the show was set in the present-day, it also portrayed the Mount Airy, NC, which Griffith knew during the 1930s. Yet, even the small Southern town where my family and I lived for a season in the mid-1960s (job transfer for Dad), was similar to the fictional Mayberry — whilst imperfect, there was virtually no crime and many neighbourly values were evident.

Without further ado, here’s the video. Griffith explains that they purposely wanted to keep the show clean and ‘pure’, taking out any questionable jokes:

The next clip is from the backdoor pilot for The Andy Griffith Show. It was an episode of Make Room for Daddy, starring the late Danny Thomas (Marlo’s father). Thomas, travelling through Mayberry, gets stopped for speeding. He spends time in the cells. Andy Taylor is not only the sheriff but also the Justice of the Peace and the local newspaper editor. Here we see his wisdom as a lawman and shades of Matlock’s canny questioning:

In closing, some fans of the show might be unaware that the theme tune, which Griffith did not whistle, actually has lyrics. Here Griffith sings The Fishin’ Hole:

Rest in peace, Andy — and thanks for the enduring memories!

Further reading:

Andy Griffith – Wikipedia

Rural purge – Wikipedia

‘Legendary television actor Andy Griffith dead at 86’ – Fox News

‘Why People Love The Andy Griffith Show‘ – RCP

‘Andy Griffith sings original lyrics … – Zap2it

‘Andy Griffith — already buried’ – TMZ

‘George “Goober” Lindsey dead …’ – TMZ

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