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When two brothers (be sure to include "of Chechan origin") committed the incredibly stupid and completely insane act of random murder in Boston, America rose up in horror, vowing to hunt the killers down. We did - killing one and capturing the other.
When the owners of a fertilizer factory in Texas deliberately ignored safety laws and overloaded the plant with tons of explosive chemical, there was no manhunt nor demand for justice - just fourteen dead people, as innocent as anyone killed in Boston. We haven't heard much about the owners of the corporation - just the fact that the factory hasn't been inspected for about ten years and once, when violations were uncovered, it was slapped with a fine of - gasp - about five thousand dollars.
So what's the reason that the Boston dead are so much more newsworthy than the ones awaiting burial in The Lone Star State?

It's part of the "Too Big to Fail, Too big to Jail" syndrome that's ripping our justice system - and our country - apart. When someone commits a crime through some strange sense of religious obligation, we rant against the religion rather than the people who twist it to suit their own interpretation. When a corporation flounts the law, resulting in the death of "ordinary" people, we understand that it's just a business decision which would hopefully save the corporation money and, well, you can't make an omelet without....etc.

Of course, in states like Texas, even if you get caught, nothing much is going to happen if you're a good, American corporation. Sure, the Supreme Court said that corporations are people, but you can't put a corporation to work cracking rocks. The worst thing you can do is give them a fine, which will be paid  by the stockholders.  Many comapanies consider these fines just part of the cost of doing business. Ask coal mine operators, oil company oil rig owners and chemical companies. We saw what punishments were meted out to the bank CEOs who brought down the millions of home owners who believed their annual reports. You can find many of them in Washington.

So fourteen people were killed by a company that put immediate profit ahead of human life and that figured it was worth a chance to make more money rather than obey the laws that wouldn't hurt them anyway if they broke them.

I confess that, as much as I'd like to see the brothers (of Chechan origin) brought to justice, I'd just as soon see the greedy slimebags who are currently standing for American morality in the shining light of the Free Enterprise system exhibiting their nice, striped suits before the public who is supporting them through the tax breaks, giveaways and revolving door politics. Both are blights on the country.

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Comment Preferences

  •  West Fertilizer Co. appears to be privately held. (9+ / 0-)

    A commentor on an Austin American Stateman article about the event posted:they hoped that the owner Donald Adair had a good insurance policy.
    John Cornyn visited West, TX and mentioned the 14 dead, numerous injured and 60 missing residents.
    Of course, Cornyn added his sympathies and prayers and praised the volunteers and the can-do spirit of the community.
    Take that to the bank, West, TX!
    This is a small community... those 60 folks are probably not just up the road visiting with family and friends.

    There is also a mystery as to what unknown chemical was filling a tankcar .
    This plant had a history of forgetting to label tanks.

    "Republican Texas (lack of) Regulation" killed these people and decimated West, TX.

    3/16/2003 Meet The Press: Dick Cheney re: Iraq: We will be greeted as liberators.

    by cosette on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 04:22:14 AM PDT

  •  Yes. This. n/t (5+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 04:25:41 AM PDT

  •  Yes. I was glad that the President (7+ / 0-)

    mentioned these victims in his statement last night.

    Oh for crying out loud!

    by 4mygirls on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 05:01:02 AM PDT

  •  bogus - it has been reported that that the plant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, efrenzy

    is owned by an 80 year old individual although a few other family members may also be shareholders. This is hardly a too big to fail corporation. The corporate owner of the plant does not have the resources through insurance or assets to compensate the injured, dead, people who have lost their homes, or the town. And that is the second tragedy.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 05:17:00 AM PDT

    •  Tragedy??? (0+ / 0-)

      You're daring to compare the "tragedy" of an 80 year-old who doesn't have enough money to compensate the victims of his own negligence to people who have lost their children, friends and possibly spouses?
      "Too big to fail" in Texas, anyway, means corporate malfeasance trumping the rights of "ordinary"people who lack the means to own corporations, even "small, family-owned" ones.
      Laws are for everybody, buddy, even sanctimonious hypocrites who rail against regulation and taxes while allowing their actions to create widows, orphans and general bereavement. As for the owner who was too careless, stupid or ignorant to know the lawbreaking was going on, tough toenails.

      Don't believe eveything you think.

      by boguseconomist on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:14:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  bogus - the first tragedy was the explosion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and the death, injury and property damage. The second is that the responsible party has few assets to pay damages and assist the people who were affected.

        I have no sympathy for the owner, and none was suggested in my first comment. My sympathies are for the victims who must rebuild their lives with no help from the corporation who was responsible.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:38:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Victims (0+ / 0-)

          As I see it, the real victims are the people of Texas who installed this pathetic excuse for a government in the first place.
          The tragedy of West would probably never have happened if adequate regulation had been observed and the plant inspected according to law. Your governor, representing what the late Molly Ivins called "bidness," decided on behalf of the people, that making money was more important than safeguarding human life. Amen. So, either kick him out or do something to create fewer victims.

          Don't believe eveything you think.

          by boguseconomist on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:33:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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