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I 've read somewhere Rick Perry is offended by the "tasteless" political cartoon that points out Texas is lax in enforcing common sense hazardous materials regulation. Perry missed the boat. West, Texas isn't the first time ammonium nitrate blew up a section of Texas. On April 16, 1947 the SS Grandcamp exploded at the docks in Texas City, Texas. Wow, 66 years later and Texas has Ground Hog Day. Same chemical, nearly the same situation. At least this time it's a lot fewer lives lost. Sixty-six years ago, Texas lost over 500 lives, a port and a lot of jobs to an ammonium nitrate explosion.  Sixty-six years later West, Texas repeats the lesson not learned. But, hey! This isn't personal, this is just business.

Rick Perry is offended that Jack Ohman sees the West, Texas explosion for what it is? He's offended that people draw a line from lax business regulation to dead people, demolished homes, no running water and job losses? He's upset that someone dares hold government accountable? Perry is upset that Ohman calls bullshit on Perry's approach to government? Too, bad. Maybe he should back up and try and learn something from this tragic explosion.

Jack Ohman's brutal assessment in his political cartoon doesn't paint a pretty picture. Corporations may indeed be job creators, but that's a small comfort if these same corporations blow up the town. It's an ugly truth. Perry says it's a distortion to say Texas wants to be the home of corporations that pursue profits at the expense of public safety. Perry needs to get over himself.  Jack Ohman is a political cartoonist, not a diplomat.

The very fact that West Fertilizer Co. wasn't inspected since 2006, flouted federal regulations and blew up killing 14 people and destroyed over 100 homes, a retirement home and a school speaks volumes about Texas values. Jack Ohman should reply to Rick Perry, "Hey, man. This isn't personal, it's just business. Writing brutal social commentary is what I get paid to do".

I've been waiting to see if some Texan prosecutor is going to do their job and bring charges against the owners of the West Fertilizer Co. The investigation is at the beginning. Prosecutors may be waiting this out (with some official encouragement). Waiting for the major media players to move onto the next sensational story when few will notice if no one is held accountable for 14 cases of manslaughter.

Rick Perry should be offended. He should be offended that the Texas government allows businesses to exploit and plunder Texas treasures of people, environmental resources and their land. Rick Perry should be asking his state government why they didn't inspect that plant since 2006? Why weren't they required to have sprinklers? Why wasn't there a better safety plan for West Fertilizer Co? Will there be consequences for West Fertilizer's inadequate safety plan? Rick Perry should be asking why West Fertilizer Co. didn't report their inventory of ammonium nitrate to Homeland Security like they were required to do. He should be asking why there weren't serious consequences for this lack of compliance. Rick Perry should be telling West Fertilizer Co. "This isn't personal, this is just the business of governing".

Rick Perry needs to remove the scales from his eyes and see Texas for the state that allowed a company like Enron to flourish. Looking forward, Rick Perry should be asking his government how they plan to deal with fracked up water after energy companies are done with Texas.

Rick Perry promotes a business environment that allows corporations to trash people's lives. He needs to own his environmental position that is poised to allow other energy companies to destroy Texas' drinking water. He needs to own the concept that finds regulation so deleterious to their economy that they allowed a Texas company to blow up a town without consequence (so far) to the business owners. Texans shouldn't be offended by Jack Ohman, they should be offended that Rick Perry gives businesses unencumbered opportunity to trash Texans and Texan land, water and property.

How can Rick Perry lament the loss of life in West, Texas and seemingly condone manslaughter perpetrated by West Fertilizer Company? This two-faced approach isn't working for me. It makes no sense to decry callous political satire without decrying the West Fertilizer Co.'s callous lack of respect for public safety. Or, maybe Mr. Ohman has the right of it. Maybe Mr. Perry isn't lamenting the loss of life as much as he's lamenting the loss of credibility. Why prize personal responsibility without holding the owner's of West Fertilizer Co. responsible for this tragic, but preventable explosion?

Rick Perry needs to get with it. Businesses that blow up people's lives isn't just about business, IT'S PERSONAL.

1:58 PM PT: Whoa! I post this. Check on it now and then. Go out to the garage and throw out stuff for next week's bulk pickup, come back to do a quick check and I'm on the Rec list. Thank you.

Originally posted to JDWolverton on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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