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Who are these people?
Though this post may be fodder for discussion among expeditioners, this is really for my friends, family and aquaintances who read this blog. I have to go on the record to state that many of the I-reporter 'storm expeditioners' that you are seeing on TV nowadays are not part of the expeditioner community. They do not represent what weather expeditioning is, and I'm making this post to publicly distance myself from what they do. This business of driving 120MPH to catch a tornado, then being all over national TV acting like they're a 'hero' observer, making it seem like they are one of us, is pretty upsetting to me. I am also really getting irritated at this 'I reporter' junk with people totally clueless about storm structure and meteorology trying to describe what they're seeing.
These people are not true 'storm expeditioners'. They are what we 'real expeditioners' call 'locals' - people who never think about storms their entire lives, then when that one tornado hits their county, they jump in their cars (totally clueless about what they are doing) and try to 'chase'. And because they have no clue about the ethics of observing other than what they saw in 'Twister', they end up acting stupid, putting themselves and everyone else in danger by doing things like driving 120 miles per hour, in traffic, on wet roads. Then, since they are willing to give footage away for free, they're the ones that make it onto national TV as the 'tornado expeditionr'.
Some might accuse me of being jealous by saying this, but if you know me, you know that's not true - I don't care about being on TV. It's just pretty irritating to see the name of observing, and those of us in it, get tarnished by these bad examples (that don't represent what we do) being the ones getting the public 'airtime'. So please, to my friends, family, coworkers and associates, don't lump me into the category of what you're seeing on TV now. That's not weather expeditioning.
I'm not even talking about getting close to tornadoes, nor am I talking about the experienced expeditioners who got close video yesterday. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with getting close if you do it carefully. I'd do it if I had the chance to do it safely. The problem is that it's not the experienced expeditioners who are getting all the airtime doing it. It's the I-reporters going 120 miles per hour to do it.
Now I'm all for new expeditioners getting into the hobby. Everyone has a right to be out there, even the 'locals'. But please take the time to learn a little about what you're doing before going on national TV trying to represent weather expeditioning. And if you're in the media, please do us 'real expeditioners' a favor and make the distinction that these people are not part of the weather expeditioning community, that they do not represent observing, nor exemplify real expeditioners. We are the ones that spend hard-earned money and thousands of miles every year to do what we do as respectfully as possible - I don't appreciate getting lumped together with these bad apples that have just come out of nowhere. Again, who are these people?
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