Hunker Down in the Shelter of Last Resort

Florida’s been hit by something like seventeen hurricanes in the past two years. During that time, the media’s had more than enough of a chance to come up with dramatic sounding catch phrases that were sure to boost ratings. In the past two years, the following two phrases have been the most over-used and hyped-up, and as such brought in the most ratings:

Hunker Down: A phrase propagated by every media outlet in existence, used to describe the act of taking shelter during a catastrophic weather event. Usage example:

Reporter: “People should take shelter during the storm, making sure to stay put somewhere safe where they can ride out the bad weather. There is no reason to be out at a time like this. Do not leave your shelter area, and be sure to have enough supplies in hand to last you through the event and at least three days beyond.”

Anchor: “Basically what you’re saying is that people should hunker down.”

Reporter: “Uh… yeah.”

Shelter of Last Resort: Used to describe a location which can, in case of emergencies, be used to shelter large groups of people from some type of catastrophic events. Shelters of Last Resort are usually not suited to serve as shelters, and are normally heavily damaged during the catastrophic event, to the detriment of all inside. Shelters of Last Resort offer at most a sense of security, but in the long run tend to do more harm than good. Not to be confused with actual shelters, or Shelters of First (or Secondary) resort. The phrase gained popularity during Hurricane Katrina, when the much touted Shelter of Last Resort in New Orleans, the Superdome, became the centerpiece for what was to become one of the biggest screw-ups in history. Usage example:

“Marcus D. Feinstein High School, the so-called ‘Shelter of Last Resort’ has been flooded, and all inside have perished. I guess that’s why they didn’t call it the Shelter of First Resort. Those guys are just fine, except for having to live with the shame of escaping in the stupidly named ‘Shelter of First Resort’, instead of having died triumphantly in the dramatically named ‘Shelter of Last Resort.’

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