Profits Before People

Surveillance StateIt looks as though the fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company near Waco, Texas was not intentional—no terrorist act as I feared. It seems to be just another tragic industrial accident. And as such, it makes for a good comparison with the Boston Marathon bombing. The bombing killed 3 people and wounded 183. The Fertilizer explosion killed 12 and wounded more than 160. Human suffering and the unnecessary loss of life is always tragic. But I’m mathematically inclined, so I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the Waco explosion is more tragic than the Boston bombing.

But as a country, we won’t treat it that way. It is very likely that the bombing will lead to changes in our privacy and even immigration policies. I don’t think we will see any such “action” as a result of the fertilizer explosion. For example, it just isn’t likely we will increase funding of OSHA, which last inspected the West Fertilizer Company facility in 1985. Because that’s just how we roll. There was no long term limit to deep water driller after the BP oil spill. There are never any laws at all passed after the almost weekly mass shootings. Why would we care if workers or the public at large is safe from exploding manufacturing facilities?

Don’t think that these are very different. The three tragedies I mentioned all have one thing in common: doing something about them would hurt corporate profits. But the ever increasing surveillance state? Why, that’s a corporate opportunity! Look at those x-ray machines at the airport: they don’t make us a lick more safe, but they sure as hell made some people rich (or richer).

And that’s about all you need to know about America: we only care about people in as much as they can be profited from.

Update (18 April 2013 5:27 pm)

According to USA Today, the death toll in Texas is now up to 14 and those wounded is stated as “about 200.”

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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