In the Absence of Muslims to Blame, Texans Will Prefer Not to Use the Mirror
At least fifteen people in West, Texas are dead following that phenomenally large explosion at what is being called a fertilizer plant, but should really be called a chemical plant*.
It is not a question of whether or not the cause of the blast was human error, it is only question of how egregious the undersights and mistakes were, how long they had been going on, how much the owners knew about them and whether or not there will be any action taken by the authorities. The answer to the last question is that there will either be no action taken on the part of regulators, or that any action taken will be a slap on the wrist. Because this is Texas, the state that prides itself on its lack of inconvenient regulatory oversight.**While Governor “Rickhead” Perry is out soliciting businesses in Illinois and California to come on down where business and industry are top priority, and the low use segment of the population that makes it all possible. Because Texas spends as little money as possible on education, support structure or safety (to name a few), the Lame Star State manages to wave around a balance sheet that looks good if you just don’t think too much about it. And that’s the way they like it down there.While corporate media has reported the event, there has been almost no commentary from that front on this incident of self terrorism, in which five times as many people died as the Boston Bombings. Of course there are no Islamists to hate in the Texas self-bombing, so that kind of takes the fun out of it. Now this doesn’t mean that that respectable online commentary has been missing. Indeed, the same things we have noticed were mentioned by lots of people. And that gave rise to outrage that anyone could dare to be so distasteful as to mention that a crime was committed in Texas, albeit a moral crime. The reason it will not be a criminal issue is that Texas has no laws to make it so.
There is a slight anomaly here: much as Texans seem to like to talk, the owners of the chemical company don’t seem to feel like talking.
West Chemical and Fertilizer Company had not had an OSHA inspection since 1985, despite the fact that everyone knows fertilizer can blow up big time. Timothy McVeigh knew it. There was a partial safety inspection in 2011 resulting in a whopping $5,000 in fines. But it wasn’t just the pretend Texas regulatory agencies that failed to prevent the tragedy. It was any number of Federal agencies with overlapping jurisdictions that didn’t do what they didn’t have to do. In particular, the company was storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate over the threshold allowed by the Department of Homeland Security without notification. Although Texans seem to have had any sense of irony removed from their DNA, or they would talk less, this is a state that is big big big on Homeland Security and patriotism issues, except when they are threatening to secede from the Union.****
Whatever the cause of the explosion itself, the situating of homes, apartment buildings, a middle school and a nursing home right next to the plant is insane. Also insane was the fact that firefighters who responded to the initial call did not understand the danger they were in. This kind of thing happens elsewhere in the country, but it happens more in Texas.
*Fertilizer is that sort of benignly smelly stuff that used to be comprised of cow manure, that is no longer what is being applied to our vast agricultural fields, especially those planted in GMO crops, which is most of them.