June 30, 2013

Something must be done about lightning


Some people think that they can avoid lightning with one simple ploy: Stand on a spot where lightning has previously struck, because it never strikes twice in the same place. This unfortunately, is not true. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year. Former Virginia park ranger Roy Sullivan was struck seven times.

Tip No. 3: You are safe in a car, but only if the windows are rolled up. One of Sullivan’s lightning strikes came while he was driving a car with the windows open.

Your chances of being struck by lightning in any given year are about one in 650,000. If you live to be 80, your chances of being struck someday are about one in 3,000.

What can be done to protect us from these death-dealing bolts? We can try cursing the sky when lightning shortens our baseball games and delays our tee times, but that seems counterproductive.

I, for one, am writing my congressman. In the past 50 years, how many trillions of dollars have been spent protecting us from nuclear attacks that have never come? While lightning picks off Americans, one by one. Something must be done.

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