There's nothing tough about refusing to evacuate in the face of a cyclone.
If the eye turns away and looks for somewhere else to destroy, same deal.
But if you live on the coast and you simply wait for the blast front and the tsunami because some pissweak little storm isn't going to scare you away, you're living in denial at best.
At worst, you're a selfish idiot who will endanger the lives of everyone who has to come to your aid.
Cyclone Debbie will either smash down on Bowen in the next couple of hours or, in the undivinable way of these things, veer away, or weaken, and somehow spare the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who ignored the evacuation order.
And sure, some would have found it close to impossible to get gone. Everyone would have been inconvenienced. But there's a special sort of stupidity that revels in defying the violence of Mother Nature when she decides to get serious.
We love these idiots. We, the media. You, our readers and viewers.
We can't help but urge them on from the cheap seats, safe and dry thousands of miles away. Every doomed but noble gesture of defiance hums with the potential of a story that could go viral.
In that way we're even bigger morons and more culpable than those fools without the sense to get moving when they've been told the ocean itself could rise up and come for them.
It's a recurrence in miniature of the stupidity that powers climate change denial. The long-term trends are firming up now. Since about 1970, it seems, our local cyclone season has been changing, delivering fewer storms but of greater intensity. Elsewhere the pattern is different, and that difference is enough for dangerous idiots to deny there is a pattern to be discerned. It's all just weather, they say.
But it's not.
We can't know what Debbie will bring, not in the particular. But we can predict that it will be destructive.
We can't know from day to day what climate change will bring. But we do know that it will be ruinous.
Or we would know that. If we were smart enough to simply open our eyes and see what's coming.
John Birmingham is a columnist and blogger for the Brisbane Times. He is also an award winning magazine writer and the author of Leviathan, the Unauthorised Biography of Sydney, which won the National Award for Non-Fiction. He amuses himself in his down time by writing novels which improve with altitude.
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