On Saturday, a rooftop parking lot collapsed into a busy shopping mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. One person is believed dead, perhaps as many as 30 missing. This is shocking in a country where building codes and modern construction techniques have largely banished sudden structural collapses to the “World” section of newspapers. There is also the dawning realization that all of this may turn out to have been not just preventable, but foreseeable — reports have been emerging of structural problems with that roof going back several years.
Soon enough, we’ll have our answers — how many dead, how many wounded, what happened and if it could have been avoided. Until then, we’re left waiting for more information, something that falls hardest on the families of the missing.
Especially today. Vanishing during a disaster used to be a something that would happen even to those that survived unscathed — it could take hours or days to get word to your loved ones that you were safe and sound in the aftermath of a tragedy. That was before each of us carried a combined telephone and email device with us at all times as a matter of routine. In our digital age, when disaster strikes, we expect to hear from our loved ones right away. If we don’t, the panic sets in.
Based on what is known about the Elliot Lake collapse so far, it bears some resemblance to a disaster that struck Kansas City in 1981. The Hyatt Regency Hotel in that city was hosting a dance in its expansive lobby when two pedestrian walkways suspended above suddenly collapsed, killing 114 and injuring hundreds more. An investigation eventually concluded that engineering compromises made to keep the walkways sleek and attractive had put too much strain on critical support joints. But on the night of the disaster, as rescuers fought to dig out survivors before water from broken pipes could drown them, the only way to figure out who was trapped or dead was either to identify corpses or interview eyewitnesses who could say, with certainty, that they’d seen someone they knew crushed.
The Unsafe Child: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good 2015-09-02 0:39
The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon ...
Rights group demand police need warrant to access data 2015-09-01 23:48
American citizens should be able to rest safe in the knowledge that no one has the right to pry into their digital records, where they have been and how long they stayed there.
The Supreme Court has just received a brief from the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) stating that this should certainly be the case. However, in the case of Davis v. ...
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities 2015-09-01 23:33
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city [Milwaukee]. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this yearâ€“after 86 homicides in all of 2014.
More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ...
Bulgaria - Islamic State Terrorists Caught Crossing Into Europe Posing As Refugees 2015-09-01 23:47
Bulgarian authorities near the Gyueshevo border checkpoint detained the five men, aged between 20 and 24, late on Wednesday, Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA TV reported.
The men were stopped by a border guard, who they attempted to bribe with a “wad of dollars.” However, they were searched and Islamic State propaganda, specific Jihadists prayers and decapitation videos were found on their phones.
How This NY Mom Made the Case for Her Sonâ€™s Religious Vaccine Exemption 2015-09-01 22:27
An unidentified, Russian immigrant mother who practices the Russian Orthodox faith, has secured a religious vaccine exemption for her autistic son. New York has a bill on the table to eliminate religious exemption and to root out those who weren’t refusing vaccines on strictly devout, religious grounds. Yet, this woman’s plight goes back before talk of eliminating the exemption – two ...