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When The Roof Collapses 05/08/2009

Cowboys roof collapses

The Dallas Cowboys felt safe at
practice until the roof caved in.


Last Saturday during the Dallas Cowboys' rookie training camp, their practice facility collapsed on top of them, permanently paralyzing a scouting assistant and injuring 11 others. The other 58 players, reporters and personnel miraculously escaped serious injury. While there is sympathy for those injured in the incident, there is also a sense of relief that nobody was killed.

For me, I see it as a foreshadowing of possible events to come: a warning, if you will.

Given that it was a media event, the photos and videos coming out of the accident were both frightening and fascinating. About a minute before the collapse, videographers focused on the ceiling, where hanging lights swayed dramatically back and forth, casting an eerie light throughout the tent-like structure. Players and coaches could be seen looking around in confusion and shuffling about nervously. Then the doors shook (and reportedly sealed shut from the air pressure, preventing anyone from exiting) and people ran for cover.

As the structure came crashing down in a heap of fabric siding and aluminum poles, everyone sought shelter. But in a structure such as this, there are few safe places. Several ran for a metal staircase, upon which several people were perched three stories in the air. The ones on the ground figured that a sturdier frame would better protect them. In some cases, it did, but those staircases are little more than scaffolding. Some of the injured were on top of them when they crashed down.

There are many questions still surrounding the incident, but a few interesting facts have emerged. The engineer listed as the person responsible for the "bubble's" design is the same man listed on the records of a similar building in Philadelphia that collapsed in 2003. A Pennsylvania court ruled that the construction company was negligent in its design and construction. (The engineer is denying responsibility and was quoted in the Associated Press as saying, "I was [in Dallas] just a few months.")

The company that built it has manufactured at least two others that have also collapsed, so there is a history of failure. Also, a new roof was put on the structure just last year, but apparently "new" doesn't mean "trustworthy."

Then there's the question regarding the weather. All of us in the Dallas-Fort Worth area know how sketchy it was last weekend. Spring storms were popping up and sweeping across the area with unpredictable ferocity. One reporter's photograph may show a "microburst," or violent burst of downward wind, that could have flattened the facility. Although no tornadoes were recorded, there were straight-line winds in the 60-70 mph range. Still, no other building around the Cowboy's structure suffered harm. The area was largely untouched, but their world was devastated.

I see striking similarities between the Cowboy's facility and our nation right now. The lights are swaying and the "bubble" is in danger of collapsing. While many are gazing around in confusion, some are running for shelter where there is none. We are living among those who have forsaken a solid structure and embraced ideas that have repeatedly failed.

Just today, news wires reported that unemployment hit a 25-year high. For many people, the roof is already caving in. The "new" policies are not necessarily trustworthy, so we cannot count on politicians to save us. And those who logically bear responsibility are just making excuses.

The worldwide storm of economic instability, political unrest and terrorist activity is shaking every unstable structure. Where will we go for shelter and safety? We must return to those proven, unshakeable principles that have stood the test of time. We must run, in fact, before we are caught beneath the inevitable collapse.

Our country was built upon a solid foundation, but over the years many have undermined the moral and spiritual truths and built a flimsy façade in its place. It may look good, but when the winds come, it becomes a death trap. Call them what you wish -- Judeo-Christian values, common sense, virtues, whatever -- but never forget how America became the strongest, most affluent nation on the earth. It's was not by accident and it was not through principles that blow about with every changing wind.

These ideas, which I wrote about extensively in The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope, provide the shelter we need. This latest incident with the Dallas Cowboys is another reminder that unless we learn from the past, we will be condemned to repeat the same mistakes. The roof is rattling and the walls are shaking. It's time to run for cover to the only reliable shelter -- Almighty God and His truth.

Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 770

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.