When Clinton Speaks for Us All

"Our hearts and prayers are with everyone who lost loved ones, home, and businesses." President Clinton said it for all Americans as he announced he would visit tornado-torn Arkansas today. His words could apply to Ohio Valley flood victims, too, and those in other countries struck by what seemed a weekend concentration of weather calamities. TV viewers of leveled trees and buildings in Arkansas saw how Gov. Mike Huckabee could describe more tornadoes in one day than in all of 1996 as "apocalyptic."

But practical compassion and everyday heroism shone through. Progress toward limiting future tragedy should be made in the current International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. It stresses careful thought about warning systems, construction codes, and land use. The storm is not the disaster, the disaster is that foresight and planning of that kind have not already occurred.

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