Friday, August 03, 2007
Nothing Bad Happens In America!
I hate the line "this shouldn't happen in America!" It's usually used with respect to some sort of disaster as opposed to something like child pornography or murder. It was bandied about after Katrina quite a bit as New Orleans remained a cesspool for far too long for some people's sensitivities. Never mind that as a city in general they didn't try to help themselves, instead they decided to go all Lord of the Flies on everything. You can't help people who don't want to be helped. Anyway, after the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, you could hear the cry again, this time from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. I believe the exact quote was "A bridge in America just should not fall down," as though perhaps a bridge in Zimbabwe should.
A couple of bridge facts: bridges are structures that are built to transport massive amounts of weight across rivers, canyons, and so forth. Bridges will fail over time, as things like currents, natural disasters, normal wear and tear, and design flaws or inefficiencies all take their toll. People who inspect bridges are indeed just people. Sometimes they miss something or just plain screw up. In a government bureaucracy, that can only be amplified. Is it tragic? Just like all other deaths, they are. Is it something that is fundamentally un-American or unbelievable? Not in my opinion. As long as there are bridges in this world there will be bridge failures. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't work to minimize them, but bridges in America will just fall down every so often. They should, and they will.
Speaking of the bridge collapse, can the cable networks stop with the wall-to-wall bridge coverage already? Give me an update on the half hour or hour and shut up about it. You're just saying the same thing over and over again. I would say more, but that's another blog.