New at Rosetta Stones: Moment of Silence

In Memory of Those Who Lost Their Lives in the May 18, 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Memorial to the people killed in the May 18th, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Johnston Ridge Volcano Obervatory, Mount St. Helens, WA.
New at Rosetta Stones: Moment of Silence

6 thoughts on “New at Rosetta Stones: Moment of Silence

  1. 1

    I remember this. I was twelve years old and I was deeply moved because for the first time, I realized who overwhelmingly powerful nature can be.

  2. 2

    I’m sure someone will call me callous for saying this, but most of thsoe who died during the Mt. St. Helens eruption were there by choice after being told to leave. They weren’t victims in the same way as those who died on Montserrat in 1995. The Montserrat eruption was unexpected in its severity and where the lava and gases went. People on Montserrat didn’t have time to evacuate, those in Washinton State did have time .

    Most of those who died at Mt. St. Helens died because they chose to stay in areas known to be dangerous. Only a few of the dead were killed in “safe areas”.

  3. 3

    I quote, from your link:

    Only four of the victims were known to be inside the restricted areas set up by federal and local governments. David Johnston was on duty for the USGS stationed at Coldwater II only 5 miles from the summit. There was the stubborn Harry Truman who refused to leave his lodge at Spirit Lake and was eventually given special permission to stay. And amateur vulcanologists Bob Kaseweter and Beverly Wetherald who had permission to take readings near Spirit Lake at their own risk. The other victims, some as far as 13 miles from the mountain, were in areas considered safe. The thick clouds of ash and raging mudflows caught many people off guard.”

    Other sources I’ve seen corroborate this.

    Harry Truman was the only person within the Red Zone without authorization to be there. The others were either authorized, there because it was their job, or were outside the Red Zone. You’re factually incorrect. So yes, it was callous – and wrong.

  4. 4

    Okay, I misread the numbers, but you missed my point. I wasn’t inferring some libertarian nonsense like “they deserved it”. I was talking about a few people who believe they can stand up to nature. And for the majority who don’t think like that, just because something is marked as “safe” or always thought of as safe in the past doesn’t mean it is now.

    Some people refuse to leave their homes during a wildfire, some refuse to leave unsafe areas during a hurricane. In contrast, some people don’t argue, they pick up and run (i.e. the Japanese in March 2011, Oklahoma when a tornado warning sounds). Unfortunately, sometimes people never learn until they learn from personal experience instead of learning from others’ experience.

  5. rq

    I’m pretty sure I’d be one of those going for personal interest. Or would be, a few years ago, before the kids. You can’t kill curiosity, but it doesn’t make the death any less meaningless or deserved or somehow justified. Learning involves risk, and some professions have a greater risk factor – say, vulcanology (thinking of Dave Johnston here). Does that make them less worthy, because there’s a higher price to pay for the knowledge? And the experience of others always comes through filtered – and as every parent knows, you can tell children what you want, but until they make the mistakes themselves, they’ll never believe you. Personal experience is the best way to learn – even if the lesson only comes at the very end of life. Without that desire for personal experience, we would all sit huddled in our homes, hoping for some bit of interesting information from someone else. No, thanks. It’s not stupid, it’s human.

    And there’s also a lot to be said about staying in your own home in times of danger – what you’ve invested in it, emotional attachments, etc. It’s tough to leave it behind, even in the face of possible death. When the world around you changes, what you want nearby is what you know. It’s not stupid, it’s human.

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