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Tue Jan 31, 2012, 06:22 PM

 

Talk of 'tornado tourism' stirs anger in Joplin

http://news.yahoo.com/talk-tornado-tourism-stirs-anger-joplin-212203767.html

Eight months after a tornado laid waste to much of this city, Joplin is wrestling with an emotional question: Should the community market its devastated neighborhoods to tourists?

When the convention and visitors bureau recently discussed offering guided bus tours and even a smartphone app, storm victims bristled, imagining that their shattered homes could be put on display for legions of curious sightseers....

Still, the backlash highlights the challenges faced by many communities that have endured major disasters: They cannot ignore interest in the events, but calling too much attention to the scarred landscape and human suffering could be seen as exploitative, insensitive or cruel.

It's a debate that resonates from New Orleans, where tour companies continue to offer Hurricane Katrina bus tours, to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which is expected to attract visitors from the many soccer fans attending the Euro 2012 tournament later this year in Ukraine.


Ewwwwwwwww. At least city officials are trying to get the looky-loos to bust out some donations.

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Reply Talk of 'tornado tourism' stirs anger in Joplin (Original post)
KamaAina Jan 2012 OP
tanyev Jan 2012 #1
Bosso 63 Jan 2012 #2
Logical Jan 2012 #3
KamaAina Jan 2012 #4
laundry_queen Feb 2012 #5
fishwax Feb 2012 #6
flexnor Feb 2012 #7
chrisa Feb 2012 #8

Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 06:46 PM

1. I declare, just the thing to round out a Branson trip.

Tornado devastation, the Bass Pro Shop, casinos and a cheesy show. Heck, if they schedule the tornado damage tour before the casino stop, they might just get a few donations out of them.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 10:21 PM

2. Its pretty awful.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeitlosimagery/5752305060/in/set-72157626664666247/lightbox/

My moms house and cabin were destroyed by a flood from the same storm system. That was, (and is) bad, but Joplin is something else.
I guess I'm more concerned that people will just forget and move on to the next distraction in the media. Its a fine line.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 10:32 PM

3. I will admit I went out of my way to drive through Joplin....

 

on the way back from the Lake. I wanted to see it. It is a major event. And a major natural disaster. I do not think I made anyone feel bad and didn't hurt the city by doing it. I also donated money to the Red Cross to assist them in helping in Joplin. We also ate in the city. So I am not sure how me bypassing Joplin would have made anything better.

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Response to Logical (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 11:19 PM

4. I think most Joplinites draw the line at the guided bus tours and so forth

 

also, good for you!

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 12:13 AM

5. Ugh.

I'll admit I want to go on a tornado tour - to see a tornado in the middle of some field NOT to see destruction. I cannot fathom how people who don't live in the area would want to sight-see such destruction. When a strong F4 hit a half mile from my house, and went on into the city where my mom worked, we toured around the next day to see the damage. A lot of it was to see if there were people we knew that had been affected and to see if one of the offices my mom worked in was damaged (it was). It was really shocking and sad and unbelievable. Bus tours are really, really exploitive. ick.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 12:56 AM

6. I can't imagine going on a bus tour, though

I admit when I've been near places with big disasters I have explored on my own. We passed near Joplin on a road trip this summer, and so decided to drive through town. We ate and shopped there, putting money in the local economy, and donated to relief efforts that were still ongoing. We didn't drive block to block looking for damaged houses, or anything, but one of the main roads from downtown to the interstate was in the path, and there was block after block of destruction and the path of the tornado was quite clear. Having lived pretty close to a similar storm (the May 3, 1999 F5 in Oklahoma), it brought back many memories for us.

In New Orleans, too, I've gone out to look at the lower 9th and other areas devastated by the storm. Again, I try to spend money in those communities when I can, and it's a reflective experience for me. I didn't gawk or stop to point and take pictures of people's shattered dreams--but I also wasn't willing to limit myself to the French Quarter or the Garden District and not try to get some more direct sense of what the thing actually means, or to get a sense of the scope and scale of suffering.

I don't think I could do a bus tour, though. That would feel very crass to me, personally. There was a scene in the second season (I think) of Treme where a tour bus pulls up to some of the locals and asks for directions to some of the ruins, and (naturally) the locals are pissed and horrified.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 12:44 PM

7. encouraging gawking and rubbernecking?

 

a thoughtless gesture toward those who perished

not to mention an incredibly stupid liability gesture, in a landscape full of twisted sharp metal and bent nails to step on

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 01:11 PM

8. My first thought when seeing this was

A flurry of idiots wearing Hawaiian t-shirts pulling up, making stupid / insensitive comments in the stereotypical "ugly American voice," and dropping wrappers and crap all over the place. Death and suffering once again become a theme park-esque attraction.

On the other side, if this could help the town rebuild quicker, it would be helpful.

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