"To Encourage the Others"

Sigh!. There's been another one. This time the fire is in the Corpus Christi, Texas, Citgo refinery. Actually is the second one this weekend that I know about. There was a fire in a bio-diesel plant in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago on Saturday

I'm done going around saying that I'm Shocked! Shocked! Apparently this is the price of doing business in the process industries and will be until we change some basic thinking. I know that not every process plant operates unsafely as a matter of course, either out of ignorance or malice aforethought, but when these kinds of stories pop up every few days (so often that they're lucky to make page 9 or 10 in the local papers), you have to wonder about just what's going on.

This morning, I was editing a letter that will appear in our August issue in response to Walt's July editorial.  The writer was in full rant, suggesting that drawing and quartering of a few executives might be in order. At the time, I thought that was a bit harsh.

Now I'm beginning to wonder.

A line from Voltaire's Candide comes to mind. In a satirization of the execution of Royal Navy Advmiral John Byng for deriliction of duty, one of the characters says, "In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others." 

 

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