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Keller @ Large: More Needs To Be Done To Protect Against Risk

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Cars marked with an orange 'X', denoting they had been checked for occupants, are piled up in what was the front entrance to the damaged Moore Medical Center after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Cars marked with an orange ‘X’, denoting they had been checked for occupants, are piled up in what was the front entrance to the damaged Moore Medical Center after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The news out of Oklahoma is terrible, and our hearts go out to anyone with loved ones or roots in the disaster zone.

As we know full well here in Boston, over the coming days people will rally behind the survivors and the families of those who didn’t survive. We’ll give financial and moral support and help those who need it until they’re back on their feet.

And maybe after the damage is fully understood, we’ll all spend some time thinking a bit harder about risk, and how we might want to do more to protect against it.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I was stunned to read Monday night that Moore, Oklahoma, is one of the most tornado-prone places on earth, with five major hits on the city in the past 15 years alone, including the strongest tornado ever recorded in 1999 – 318 mph.

Yet few of the homes built during a period of explosive growth in the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s included basements, the place experts say is your best chance of riding out a tornado.

Here’s a year-old story out of Minnesota, another tornado-prone state, where even fatal strikes haven’t been enough to prompt changes in the building code to require safe rooms. They recommend it, but it’s up to the homeowner to decide if it’s worth it, and at up to $10,000 a pop, many decide it isn’t.

“Is it a good idea for people to be safe in their houses? Absolutely,” says a top state code official. “How much can people afford toward that end is another issue.”

We’ve seen this same dilemma play out on Plum Island and the Jersey shore and other places where nature is a threat to residential development.

We want to chase the American dream, wherever it leads us.

But when we fail to take the risks seriously enough, it can turn into a nightmare.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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