(Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)
I intended to write more about Bibi Netanyahu and Israel and the POTUS’s speech to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) yesterday. But I can’t.
I can’t stop thinking about a certain city in Jasper County, in the southwestern corner of Missouri, right smack dab in Tornado Alley.
When I went to bed last night, one person in Joplin had died because of fierce tornadoes. When I woke up this morning, Anita told me the death toll was around 90; a local hospital and many homes and schools were damaged, too.
I signed into Facebook and saw that one “friend” felt it necessary to point out that Joplin was the site of a number of meth labs when he lived in Missouri, as if Joplin’s criminal element brought nature’s fury down upon the community and it got what it deserved. If there’s suddenly a correlation between the crime rate and the occurrence of severe weather, I know a lot of places where residents need to head to the basement posthaste.
My favorite poet, Langston Hughes, was born in Joplin. So were Hale Irwin, one of the greatest golfers of all time, actor Dennis Weaver – who will always be Marshal Sam McCloud to me – and jazz saxophone player Charles McPherson, who was raised in Detroit and played with the great Charles Mingus. Back in 1933, Bonnie and Clyde spent a few months in Joplin, robbing businesses and taking photographs. Joplin has a typically bombastic motto: “Proud of our Past...Shaping our Future.”
Every place is noteworthy to someone, for some reason.
I wish I could do more than just send best wishes, Joplin.