Warning Signs Ignored In The Past – Warning Signs Ignored In The Present

On September 11, 2001 at 8:46am a jetliner crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centers. At 9:03am another crashed into the South Tower. In those intervening minutes people were being evacuated from the South Tower, when someone made the decision that an evacuation was not necessary.

Why would it be?

At the time, no one believed it to be an attack. It was an accident and the South Tower was presumed safe. We later learned, there was intelligence that “hinted” at the possibility of a coordinated assault on The United States. Sadly, that information never made it to those who needed it.

Turns out there were warnings. Warnings which were ignored.

How many lives could have been saved?
How much suffering could have been avoided?
If only people knew – If only people paid attention.

That was in the past. In the present, potentially, a similar tragedy is bubbling beneath the surface. In this case, if those impacted follow current trajectories, the lives lost will be much greater, as will be the suffering.

In the United States, amid the still first wave of an uncontrolled pandemic, children are being shepherded back into schools, colleges, and universities. Even with information of outbreaks occurring in schools that have already re-opened, in which schools have already again shut down, where one university has already sent students home; others around our nation are turning eyes blind.

The warning signs are here, yet once again, few are paying attention.

With all the many alarm bells sounding, perhaps the greatest was in Israel. From an article which appeared in The New York Times regarding school re-opening,

“Within days, infections were reported at a Jerusalem high school, which quickly mushroomed into the largest outbreak in a single school in Israel, possibly the world.

The virus rippled out to the students’ homes and then to other schools and neighborhoods, ultimately infecting hundreds of students, teachers and relatives.”

Our region’s schools are, much like the nation has employed for this entire pandemic, taking a hodge-podge approach. Some are re-opening in-person, some are re-opening with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. While others, those led by people who are paying attention, are re-opening with only remote learning.

Do we not realize that this is the year 2020, not 1920? Technology exists to manage and protect our citizens. Why are we so reluctant to utilize it?


Northeast Pennsylvania is a place which former newspaper columnist and talk show host Steve Corbett affectionately called hard coal country.  Back in the old days, when anthracite was king, miners would bring a canary with them into the coal mines. If there was dangerous gas, the canary would die, and the miners knew it was time to get out. It was a warning which they, those miners with little formal education, heeded with great haste and well-deserved seriousness.

It is sad to realize that those who work in and manage the field of education are not seeing, nor hearing, nor heeding the warnings which are blaring and blinking with screeching loudness and blinding brightness.


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