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University Fires Professor For Calling Harvey 'Karma' For Voting Trump.

Hurricane Harvey that made landfall in Texas on Friday has caused extensive damage in the state rendering thousands of people homeless while the (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/us/hurricane-harvey-storm-flooding.html?mcubz=1) death toll has climbed to 30 , according to the New York Times.

Amid the devastation, a professor at the University of Tampa, Kenneth L. Storey, triggered a controversy after he tweeted Sunday that the natural disaster was an "instant Karma" for Texans for voting President Donald Trump. Two days after the sociology professor's tweet, the university denounced the professor's comments in a (http://www.ut.edu/Statement-Regarding-Kenneth-Storey.aspx) statement . The varsity also said it had relieved him of his duties.

In his tweet, (http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Hurricane-Harvey-professor-fired-Ken-Storey-Tampa-12158818.php) Storey wrote , "I dont believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully, this will help them realize the GOP doesnt care about them." This post was captured by several conservative websites, however, Storey apparently deactivated his Twitter account after it was widely shared. 

The post triggered an outrage on Twitter with (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23FIREKENSTOREY&src=typd) #FireKenStorey hashtag trending. A user (https://twitter.com/horsesandhounds/status/902394571937660928) tweeted  Storey's comment was "sick" as young children and animals who did not vote for Trump were also affected due to the hurricane. Another user (http://twitter.com/LynnyontheFly/status/902351983868354560) called the remark "disgusting" and highlighted how thousands of Texans were suffering.

Meanwhile, Storey, while speaking to (http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/college/ut-condemns-teacher-whose-tweet-blames-harvey-on-texas-gop-vote/2335504) Tampa Bay , admitted his choice of words was not right. "I care about people. I love this country. I would never want to wish harm upon anyone," he said. 

However, what Storey suggested in his post is not something new. The connection between natural calamities and Karma has been drawn on several instances. However, there is no scientific evidence to justify the link, although many have invoked the Law of Karma to explain natural and other calamities.

In 2008, when Myanmar was hit by Cyclone Nargis that killed more than 80,000 people, many believed it was a karmic consequence of military rulers' brutal treatment toward Buddhist monks in the past, according to Ingrid Jordt, an anthropology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/16/AR2008051603347.html) the Washington Post reported.

Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian freedom movement against British rule, also made a statement in 1934, which had triggered a debate on Karma. Nepal and and the neighboring Indian state of Bihar were struck by a devastating earthquake in 1934 and Gandhi said (https://scroll.in/article/724133/suggesting-religious-reasons-for-quakes-isnt-new-mahatma-gandhi-did-that-in-1934) God had punished  the people because they practised untouchability against the lower caste.

So what is the law of Karma? "It is the law of cause and effect, an unbreakable law of the cosmos. You deserve everything that happens to you, good or bad. You created your happiness and your misery. One day you will be in the same circumstances that you put someone else in," according to(https://www.thetreeofawakening.com/what-is-karma-real-definition-meaning-of-good-bad-law/) the Tree of Awakening , a discussion forum and social network that offers non-judgmental emotional support to people all over the world.

Alexander Berzin, who served as Dalai Lama's archivist and occasionally his interpreter, has authored several books on Karma. In an interview, he referred to "collective Karma," which predominantly refers to results of actions carried out by a group and hence the entire group will face the negative consequences as well.

According to the (https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/lam-rim/karma-advanced/collective-karma-and-natural-disasters) Study Buddhism website , a site for Buddhist teachings, Dr. Berzin said: "In the case of the dominating result of the collective karma 6 the technical term is actually 'shared karma' (thun-mong-gi las) 6 of a group of limited beings, this refers mainly to their shared experiencing of environmental or societal situations or occurrences when this group experiences them."

"However, we can also say that the dominating result of collective karma also refers to the environmental or societal situations or occurrences that provide the circumstances for this group to experience them."

 
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Aug 30, 2017
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