April 12, 2011: Woman Warns Joplin, Mo About Lack of Tornado Shelters

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One woman in Joplin, Missouri envisioned the destruction an F5 tornado would cause in her town  -- long before the actual event. Colleen Bogener even wrote a short opinion piece about it for the Joplin Globe newspaper. That opinion was published April 12, 2011. Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to prove Bogener right. There weren't enough public storm shelter in Joplin. Here are her haunting words:

April 12, 2011

By Colleen Bogener

Liberty, Mo. — Why doesn’t a city the size of Joplin have tornado shelters throughout the city for all of us who can’t afford to build our own storm shelters?

Greensburg, Kan., now has shelters for its residents. Why not Joplin? That should be done before an F5 strikes and wipes a two- or three-mile wide path, killing a lot of people. Our neighbors talk about this. There’s no place to go.

I’ve seen what an F5 tornado did in Grandview, Mo. All that was left was just the flooring. Closets don’t help, bathroom tubs don’t help.

So why doesn’t Joplin have places for us to go to be safe close to the neighborhoods? I guess city officials will wait until Joplin is severely damaged. City officials better stop spending the city’s money to make Joplin beautiful, and think about the Joplinites who don’t have places to hide during a severe storm.

Colleen Bogener


A few reader comments:

DAVE wrote: Coleen, you are egg zact lee right. The U S Constitution says it is Government's job to 'provide for the common defense.' Therefore, it is government's job to build storm shelters as a 'common defense' against storms.

Kyjimbo51 wrote: And just what are you going to use to pay for these shelters, more taxes? Maybe a grant from the Federal Govrenment? Perhaps the richest Americans will feel sorry for Joplin and build them for you!

Local Boy wrote: There would be nothing wrong with a government providing shelters for its citizens, if that is what they want. And, that plan will apparently work well for Greenberg. The questions are, as always, how much does it cost and who pays? Greenberg is a small community and if they paid for their own shelters, I've got nothing against that. However, Joplin is a much larger town, with a population that swells to more than 200,000 on a busy day. It would cost a lot to provide a storm shelter for each of those people. What is really implied in the author's comment 'for those who cannot afford them' is the desire to get something for nothing. I've lived here for a lot of years and have only seen a tornado in real time once. It would be an unconscionable waste for our government to build shelters that will probably never be used. On the other hand, if the author feels strongly about it, there is nothing preventing you from building your own shelter.