Two acts of terror this week, only one terrorism investigation:
The Real Terrorists are the Corporate Execs Who’ve Bought the Regulators
The way I see it, we had two acts of terrorism in the US this week. The first took place at the end of the historic Boston Marathon, when two bombs went off near the finish line, killing three and seriously injuring dozens of runners and spectators. The second happened a couple days later in the town of West, Texas, where a fertilizer plant blew up, incinerating or otherwise killing at least 15, and injuring at least 150 people, and probably more as the search for the dead and the injured continues.
It’s pretty clear that the Boston Marathon bombing was an act of terrorism, with police making arrests and having killed one of the two suspects who had earlier been captured on film and video at the scene of the bombings.
The villains in the West Fertilizer Co. explosion can be much more easily identified: the managers and owners of the plant.
West Fertilizer was built starting back in 1962 in the middle of the small town of West, TX, a community founded in the 19th century and named after the first local postmaster, T.M. West. It makes no sense, of course, to locate such a facility that uses highly toxic anhydrous ammonia as a primary feed stock (a compound that burns the lungs and kills on contact, and that, because it must be stored under pressure, is highly prone to leaks and explosive releases), and one that makes as its main product ammonium nitrate fertilizer, around lots of people. Ammonium nitrate, recall, is the highly explosive compound favored by truck bombers like the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. It was the fertilizer, vast quantities of which were stored at the West Fertilizer plant site, which caused the colossal explosion that leveled much of the town of West.
Building such a dangerous facility in the midst of a residential and business area, and allowing homes, nursing homes, hospitals, schools and playgrounds to be built alongside it, is the result of a corrupt process that is commonplace in towns and cities across America, where business leaders routinely have their way with local planning and zoning commissions, safety inspectors and city councils. Businesses small and large also have their way with state and federal safety and health inspectors too.