There is No Such Thing as a Professional Chaser

A lot of the storm-related narrative so far this year, at least in the Wichita TV market (i.e. most of Kansas) has been chaser hordes. There are many reasons we try to avoid them. The real problem is not the number of chasers…it’s the hangers-on who fancy themselves chasers because they have a cell phone and a radar app. There are some chasers who have a legitimate purpose on the road, and an order of magnitude more who do nothing but make it more dangerous for everyone.

Have you ever driven in rush hour? What a horribly mis-named time of day. I’m not talking about what we Wichitans claim is bad traffic…but real “rush” hour in Dallas, Houston, Denver or Chicago. If Wichita traffic makes you nervous you probably should not venture behind the wheel in any of those places.

There are days . . . not all of them, but a few a year . . . where some two-lane road with no shoulder, somewhere in Kansas — or Nebraska — or Oklahoma — resembles “rush” hour in Wichita. And at least two Kansas sheriffs have gotten a public shaming in the chaser community for calling it what it is — a situation that WILL get someone killed someday.

I overstepped last week in my expression of frustration at “chaser” hordes I’ve previously experienced, which have resulted in my being unable to make the correct decision for my own safety because of a two-mile line of traffic (as just one example). Here’s the initial post, then the responses when a chaser/police officer friend reposted with his support:

Original Post

Seriously, those of you who follow the page and are amateur chasers…please STAY HOME today. If I get baseball hail thru my windshield because I’m in a traffic jam and can’t turn around, it may get physical.

(A small clarification after chaser drama ensued based on the last phrase….I am not threatening anyone. But tempers being what they are….if i were to bow up on someone, I’m the likely loser….fat, out of shape old guy, c’mon…)

Posted by Storm Chaser Scott Roberts on Friday, April 24, 2015

Before I go any further: I should have left out the not-so-veiled threat. Where it came from should be clear later in the post as I explain my true message.

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36 Comments

  1. I’m sure the flame war will break out because parts of this will get shared, etc. out of context. I will not be responding to comments, pro or con, unless it is obvious to me from what you say that you’ve read the article in its entirety. I also will not be responding to any ad hominem….and the other page admins are going to let me handle the response to this all on my own…so when you see my name in the response you can be sure it is me, not someone else acting as me.

  2. I’m sure the flame war will break out because parts of this will get shared, etc. out of context. I will not be responding to comments, pro or con, unless it is obvious to me from what you say that you’ve read the article in its entirety. I also will not be responding to any ad hominem….and the other page admins are going to let me handle the response to this all on my own…so when you see my name in the response you can be sure it is me, not someone else acting as me.

  3. I’m sure the flame war will break out because parts of this will get shared, etc. out of context. I will not be responding to comments, pro or con, unless it is obvious to me from what you say that you’ve read the article in its entirety. I also will not be responding to any ad hominem….and the other page admins are going to let me handle the response to this all on my own…so when you see my name in the response you can be sure it is me, not someone else acting as me.

  4. I’m sure the flame war will break out because parts of this will get shared, etc. out of context. I will not be responding to comments, pro or con, unless it is obvious to me from what you say that you’ve read the article in its entirety. I also will not be responding to any ad hominem….and the other page admins are going to let me handle the response to this all on my own…so when you see my name in the response you can be sure it is me, not someone else acting as me.

    1. Steve,I saw this about the time I’d posted. I’ll reserve comment on it for after I’ve done an adequate job of verifying the videos prove what he says they do.
      I do know that on Medicine Lodge night we followed a mile or two of tail lights back into Wichita, about half of them from out of state, half local. It was much like the cited headed home from a small town ball game.

    2. I go out and shoot photos, but I stay away from the areas of lots of “red dots” because of traffic as well as dents/broken windows from the storms.

    1. Steve,I saw this about the time I’d posted. I’ll reserve comment on it for after I’ve done an adequate job of verifying the videos prove what he says they do.
      I do know that on Medicine Lodge night we followed a mile or two of tail lights back into Wichita, about half of them from out of state, half local. It was much like the cited headed home from a small town ball game.

    2. I go out and shoot photos, but I stay away from the areas of lots of “red dots” because of traffic as well as dents/broken windows from the storms.

    1. Steve,I saw this about the time I’d posted. I’ll reserve comment on it for after I’ve done an adequate job of verifying the videos prove what he says they do.
      I do know that on Medicine Lodge night we followed a mile or two of tail lights back into Wichita, about half of them from out of state, half local. It was much like the cited headed home from a small town ball game.

    2. I go out and shoot photos, but I stay away from the areas of lots of “red dots” because of traffic as well as dents/broken windows from the storms.

    1. Steve,I saw this about the time I’d posted. I’ll reserve comment on it for after I’ve done an adequate job of verifying the videos prove what he says they do.
      I do know that on Medicine Lodge night we followed a mile or two of tail lights back into Wichita, about half of them from out of state, half local. It was much like the cited headed home from a small town ball game.

    2. I go out and shoot photos, but I stay away from the areas of lots of “red dots” because of traffic as well as dents/broken windows from the storms.

  5. Many of the same arguments I’ve had. But I know what you meant and were frustrated,blowing a little steam off, most of us are prone too. I guess maybe I did too saying I quit, I’ve been in a lot of fights with thrill seeking and ego stroking chasers lately and agree with you they don’t need to be on the road out there. My “I quit” wasn’t anything to do with an attitude against the nws or any county like they were taking a loss, it was reflecting on my own safety and coming back home to my family because of the added risk of the lunatics out there who can’t tell a hail shaft from a hole in the wall. May have had nothing to do with your comment I just wasn’t sure and wanted to clear it up if it was.
    I’ve caught a lot of crap because when I mention I do storm chase/spot when I have the opportunity, the junkies of… A well known “professional” who I won’t name but hate with a passion, are thumbing through my albums expecting to find pictures to give them their fix. And I don’t take a lot, they seem to think if that’s not why I’m out there,to take pictures for everyone, then “I” don’t belong out there.
    Just wanted to say you’re not alone in how you feel, and after reading what you said, maybe it wasn’t right for me to quit because of them. I don’t care if I get good pictures,or how close I get, most important thing is that the information being accurate could mean 0 deaths,or 50 in the wrong circumstances. But,I have to disagree on the existing laws,and know this won’t float well. I think they should double the fines like they do work zones for irresponsible chasers creating hazards.

  6. Many of the same arguments I’ve had. But I know what you meant and were frustrated,blowing a little steam off, most of us are prone too. I guess maybe I did too saying I quit, I’ve been in a lot of fights with thrill seeking and ego stroking chasers lately and agree with you they don’t need to be on the road out there. My “I quit” wasn’t anything to do with an attitude against the nws or any county like they were taking a loss, it was reflecting on my own safety and coming back home to my family because of the added risk of the lunatics out there who can’t tell a hail shaft from a hole in the wall. May have had nothing to do with your comment I just wasn’t sure and wanted to clear it up if it was.
    I’ve caught a lot of crap because when I mention I do storm chase/spot when I have the opportunity, the junkies of… A well known “professional” who I won’t name but hate with a passion, are thumbing through my albums expecting to find pictures to give them their fix. And I don’t take a lot, they seem to think if that’s not why I’m out there,to take pictures for everyone, then “I” don’t belong out there.
    Just wanted to say you’re not alone in how you feel, and after reading what you said, maybe it wasn’t right for me to quit because of them. I don’t care if I get good pictures,or how close I get, most important thing is that the information being accurate could mean 0 deaths,or 50 in the wrong circumstances. But,I have to disagree on the existing laws,and know this won’t float well. I think they should double the fines like they do work zones for irresponsible chasers creating hazards.

  7. Many of the same arguments I’ve had. But I know what you meant and were frustrated,blowing a little steam off, most of us are prone too. I guess maybe I did too saying I quit, I’ve been in a lot of fights with thrill seeking and ego stroking chasers lately and agree with you they don’t need to be on the road out there. My “I quit” wasn’t anything to do with an attitude against the nws or any county like they were taking a loss, it was reflecting on my own safety and coming back home to my family because of the added risk of the lunatics out there who can’t tell a hail shaft from a hole in the wall. May have had nothing to do with your comment I just wasn’t sure and wanted to clear it up if it was.
    I’ve caught a lot of crap because when I mention I do storm chase/spot when I have the opportunity, the junkies of… A well known “professional” who I won’t name but hate with a passion, are thumbing through my albums expecting to find pictures to give them their fix. And I don’t take a lot, they seem to think if that’s not why I’m out there,to take pictures for everyone, then “I” don’t belong out there.
    Just wanted to say you’re not alone in how you feel, and after reading what you said, maybe it wasn’t right for me to quit because of them. I don’t care if I get good pictures,or how close I get, most important thing is that the information being accurate could mean 0 deaths,or 50 in the wrong circumstances. But,I have to disagree on the existing laws,and know this won’t float well. I think they should double the fines like they do work zones for irresponsible chasers creating hazards.

  8. Many of the same arguments I’ve had. But I know what you meant and were frustrated,blowing a little steam off, most of us are prone too. I guess maybe I did too saying I quit, I’ve been in a lot of fights with thrill seeking and ego stroking chasers lately and agree with you they don’t need to be on the road out there. My “I quit” wasn’t anything to do with an attitude against the nws or any county like they were taking a loss, it was reflecting on my own safety and coming back home to my family because of the added risk of the lunatics out there who can’t tell a hail shaft from a hole in the wall. May have had nothing to do with your comment I just wasn’t sure and wanted to clear it up if it was.
    I’ve caught a lot of crap because when I mention I do storm chase/spot when I have the opportunity, the junkies of… A well known “professional” who I won’t name but hate with a passion, are thumbing through my albums expecting to find pictures to give them their fix. And I don’t take a lot, they seem to think if that’s not why I’m out there,to take pictures for everyone, then “I” don’t belong out there.
    Just wanted to say you’re not alone in how you feel, and after reading what you said, maybe it wasn’t right for me to quit because of them. I don’t care if I get good pictures,or how close I get, most important thing is that the information being accurate could mean 0 deaths,or 50 in the wrong circumstances. But,I have to disagree on the existing laws,and know this won’t float well. I think they should double the fines like they do work zones for irresponsible chasers creating hazards.

  9. I’m surprised you even used the quotations on the other genre of chaser. I wouldn’t even go so far as to term them “chasers”, but thrill seekers. I encountered such a convergence back in 2012 without even intending to. Had several knuckleheads darting across a busy 4-lane US-81 in northeast Nebraska while I was carrying a hazmat load. I knew there was a bad storm coming, saw a tornado on the ground 5 miles west of me and these clowns were taking pictures. It’s a darn shame people like that will end up causing mass casualties. I fully support what you do for the chaser community, Scott.

  10. I’m surprised you even used the quotations on the other genre of chaser. I wouldn’t even go so far as to term them “chasers”, but thrill seekers. I encountered such a convergence back in 2012 without even intending to. Had several knuckleheads darting across a busy 4-lane US-81 in northeast Nebraska while I was carrying a hazmat load. I knew there was a bad storm coming, saw a tornado on the ground 5 miles west of me and these clowns were taking pictures. It’s a darn shame people like that will end up causing mass casualties. I fully support what you do for the chaser community, Scott.

  11. I’m surprised you even used the quotations on the other genre of chaser. I wouldn’t even go so far as to term them “chasers”, but thrill seekers. I encountered such a convergence back in 2012 without even intending to. Had several knuckleheads darting across a busy 4-lane US-81 in northeast Nebraska while I was carrying a hazmat load. I knew there was a bad storm coming, saw a tornado on the ground 5 miles west of me and these clowns were taking pictures. It’s a darn shame people like that will end up causing mass casualties. I fully support what you do for the chaser community, Scott.

  12. I’m surprised you even used the quotations on the other genre of chaser. I wouldn’t even go so far as to term them “chasers”, but thrill seekers. I encountered such a convergence back in 2012 without even intending to. Had several knuckleheads darting across a busy 4-lane US-81 in northeast Nebraska while I was carrying a hazmat load. I knew there was a bad storm coming, saw a tornado on the ground 5 miles west of me and these clowns were taking pictures. It’s a darn shame people like that will end up causing mass casualties. I fully support what you do for the chaser community, Scott.

  13. Thrill seekers is the chaser “type” I assign then I’m my safety presentation. “Chasers,” thrill seekers, wannabes, seeking 15 min of YouTube fame…cut from the same bolt of cloth.

  14. Thrill seekers is the chaser “type” I assign then I’m my safety presentation. “Chasers,” thrill seekers, wannabes, seeking 15 min of YouTube fame…cut from the same bolt of cloth.

  15. Thrill seekers is the chaser “type” I assign then I’m my safety presentation. “Chasers,” thrill seekers, wannabes, seeking 15 min of YouTube fame…cut from the same bolt of cloth.

  16. Thrill seekers is the chaser “type” I assign then I’m my safety presentation. “Chasers,” thrill seekers, wannabes, seeking 15 min of YouTube fame…cut from the same bolt of cloth.

  17. I think that is all of our general concern on the matter,that inevitably the worst will happen because of this. When,where, and the details are hidden in the clouds, but I’ll come out and say it that we all know eventually it’ll happen. Strong tornado turns towards a flock of dozens causing or caught in a camera blockade, including others not part of it, and it’s in gods hands. That’s where we all stand on the argument, but trying to get it through their heads we are concerned about their and everyone’s safety, they can’t think that far.

  18. I think that is all of our general concern on the matter,that inevitably the worst will happen because of this. When,where, and the details are hidden in the clouds, but I’ll come out and say it that we all know eventually it’ll happen. Strong tornado turns towards a flock of dozens causing or caught in a camera blockade, including others not part of it, and it’s in gods hands. That’s where we all stand on the argument, but trying to get it through their heads we are concerned about their and everyone’s safety, they can’t think that far.

  19. I think that is all of our general concern on the matter,that inevitably the worst will happen because of this. When,where, and the details are hidden in the clouds, but I’ll come out and say it that we all know eventually it’ll happen. Strong tornado turns towards a flock of dozens causing or caught in a camera blockade, including others not part of it, and it’s in gods hands. That’s where we all stand on the argument, but trying to get it through their heads we are concerned about their and everyone’s safety, they can’t think that far.

  20. I think that is all of our general concern on the matter,that inevitably the worst will happen because of this. When,where, and the details are hidden in the clouds, but I’ll come out and say it that we all know eventually it’ll happen. Strong tornado turns towards a flock of dozens causing or caught in a camera blockade, including others not part of it, and it’s in gods hands. That’s where we all stand on the argument, but trying to get it through their heads we are concerned about their and everyone’s safety, they can’t think that far.

  21. as a SKYWARN spotter I don’t take risks getting close to a tornado, like Jeremy my responsibility is to provide accurate information to the NWS about what I see. I’m there to protect life and property not to thrill seek or really even to take pictures. it is why I don’t use spotternetwork and have never streamed. I could be mistaken as a thrill seeker because I don’t use a laptop but instead a tablet and my phone due to space constraints of my car, but I much rather do that then try to fumble with getting a large mount in and out of my car every time I am needed.

  22. as a SKYWARN spotter I don’t take risks getting close to a tornado, like Jeremy my responsibility is to provide accurate information to the NWS about what I see. I’m there to protect life and property not to thrill seek or really even to take pictures. it is why I don’t use spotternetwork and have never streamed. I could be mistaken as a thrill seeker because I don’t use a laptop but instead a tablet and my phone due to space constraints of my car, but I much rather do that then try to fumble with getting a large mount in and out of my car every time I am needed.

  23. as a SKYWARN spotter I don’t take risks getting close to a tornado, like Jeremy my responsibility is to provide accurate information to the NWS about what I see. I’m there to protect life and property not to thrill seek or really even to take pictures. it is why I don’t use spotternetwork and have never streamed. I could be mistaken as a thrill seeker because I don’t use a laptop but instead a tablet and my phone due to space constraints of my car, but I much rather do that then try to fumble with getting a large mount in and out of my car every time I am needed.

  24. as a SKYWARN spotter I don’t take risks getting close to a tornado, like Jeremy my responsibility is to provide accurate information to the NWS about what I see. I’m there to protect life and property not to thrill seek or really even to take pictures. it is why I don’t use spotternetwork and have never streamed. I could be mistaken as a thrill seeker because I don’t use a laptop but instead a tablet and my phone due to space constraints of my car, but I much rather do that then try to fumble with getting a large mount in and out of my car every time I am needed.

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