I was in West Hollywood when the "Northridge" earthquake (epicentered in Canoga Park, I think) happened. An apartment building in Northridge collapsed, and a couple of the freeway overpasses fell down, and there was lots of damage. I forget the death toll, but I think is was under 100, which, considering the population...
My Dad watched the news, and called me several days later to see if I was okay. He said he figured I was, because the news kept showing the same apartment building and freeway overpasses, and the death toll was so low... He just figured the odds.
Sometimes I think that because the public believes the media, and the politicians also believe the media, and even if they didn't they want to make the public happy, the politicians just hype the problems.
And, of course, the media hypes everything. In southern California, they go crazy if there's a 10% chance of rain. (The news anchors there, are always surprised when the Sepulveda Flood Basin floods, and they have problems understanding why the public gives conflicting reports of how an earthquake felt--at different distances from the epicenter.
Which is not to minimize the losses. However, we're not weak, helpless, or stupid, generally, and it is events like these that build character and relationships with neighbors.
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