On November 8th, the White House Oil Commission’s Chief Counsel, Fred Bartlit said, “To date we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety.” On November 16th, the interim findings of a report done by the National Academy of Engineers and the National Resource Council said, “Many of the pivotal choices made for the drilling operation and temporary abandonment of the well were likely to result in less cost and less time relative to other options.”
So, British Petroleum designs a well, constructs a well, runs tests on their well, concludes all is safe because the company would never ever, ever sacrifice safety for profit, and the well blows up, killing eleven people, trashing an ecosystem and resulting in economic and physical sicknesses effecting five states…okay, what might we conclude from this?
British Petroleum isn’t criminal, they’re just stupid?
British Petroleum doesn’t make bad decisions for the intent of saving money and maximizing profit, they just make bad decisions?
The fact that the bad decisions they made, they seemed to not only save them money but also decreased safety on the well, this connection should be ignored?
Perhaps, a metaphor then?
If I know that the brakes on my car are going bad, but decide putting the brakes in myself is more cost-effective, and then I don’t run the proper tests to ensure the brakes are working correctly because I’m short on time, when I do get in the car and the brakes fail resulting in my car killing some kid on the sidewalk, do I get to claim stupidity?
Well, why the hell not?
I never meant to kill that kid. I determined the brakes were put in right and I deemed my car safe. Perhaps this was a bad decision, but I certainly meant to do no harm. I certainly didn’t leave my house that morning with the intent of finding some kid on the sidewalk to run down. These were simple, technical errors. Maybe in my household, the climate of safety isn’t what it should be. Don’t worry, I’ll change the CEO, and I’ll institute a new climate and a new safety panel, one that will still answer to me of course, but it’ll change the climate, which is what is truly at fault here and you can’t prosecute a climate. I’ll give that kid’s family a few bucks too, so we’re all good right?
Look man, I just want my life back…
Oh, but you better let me still drive because if I can’t get to work I certainly can’t afford to give that kid’s family shit. The old CEO? No worries, he’s been properly punished, we made him relocate to Orlando and he took a substantial pay cut. Oh, did I mention I got a new car and I’m making profits again?
What do you mean vehicular manslaughter?
Well hell…do you have Bob Dudley’s phone number?
Maybe he’ll help me post bail.
Have a nice day.