God's Wrath and Natural Disasters: Whom Do We Blame?
While I worked 500 miles away from my family, I got word that my dad's office and my aunt and uncle were evacuated because the Waldo Canyon fire burned closer and closer.
Eager for up-to-the-minute news on the fire and more detail than my family gave in text messages, I scanned tweets and refreshed the newspaper's website like an insomniac on caffeine, listening to scanner traffic of firefighters setting up command centers and relaying information as each home caught fire.
Tweet after tweet with the hashtag #waldocanyonfire scrolled down my screen. Hundreds more poured out every minute. Tweets ranged from helpful: the sheriff and mayor used Twitter to ask people to stay off cell phones to keep lines free for emergencies; to overly dramatic: "watching the city burn from my porch </3"; to outright misleading, information which spread through the Twittersphere when retweeted by others. A wave of tweets promoted almost certainly photoshopped photos of the inferno. Because there was no gatekeeper, information (and misinformation) could spread quickly.
Constant updates intensified my feeling of impending doom as homes and a cherished landmark burnt to the ground. It was tempting to feel as if God had deserted or forgotten Colorado Springs (though as some facetiously pointed out, it's difficult to claim God was casting judgment on the town that houses Focus on the Family, Compassion International, Summit Ministries, the Navigators, and countless other ...1