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Who’s Responsible for the West Explosion?

Someone, some agency, might have prevented it, right? Or at least kept homes from being built so near the fertilizer plant?

Gov. Rick Perry and the mayor of the West say there’s nothing that they could have done. Tod Robberson at the Morning News doubts that’s true:

In essence, everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else. No one wants to declare: The buck stops here.

This is a Republican-controlled state. And if I’m not mistaken, Republicans put enormous stakes on the notion of personal responsibility. That is: I made choices, and I have to live with the consequences of those choices. Well, someone made the decision to build houses, apartments, schools, etc. next to a ticking time bomb. Others in positions of power knew exactly what the explosive potential of that time bomb was. Others in positions of power knew it was their responsibility under federal law to warn local residents of the dangers.

Many, many people failed to execute their jobs properly and, worse, failed to embrace the full spirit of public safety by sharing information so that hundreds or thousands would not be placed in harm’s way. They failed, and now they don’t want to own up to it.

Very impressive, Texas.

  • Dalstar99

    Public safety is not a GOP priority as evidenced by their philosophy to erode government oversight. However, threaten corporate profits and then you’ll get action.

  • Tim Rogers

    I take issue with his “ticking time bomb” analogy. It suggests intentionality. Or at least inevitability.

  • CSP

    And Democrats control Federal agencies in case any Federal regulations were not properly enforced. But, hey, as Mike says, don’t let inconvenient facts get in the way of the chosen narrative.

  • Dubious Brother

    Mike – That was the Democrat party that hated blacks and loved war before they switched and became the party of the blacks and peace or so it has been explained to me.

  • Dubious Brother

    “Many, many people failed to execute their jobs properly and, worse, failed to embrace the full spirit of public safety by sharing information so that hundreds or thousands would not be placed in harm’s way. They failed, and now they don’t want to own up to it.”

    It is too bad that West wasn’t serviced by a newpaper that had an investigative reporter that was old enough to remember the Oklahoma City bombing of the Federal building that was blown up using a truck load of this same fertilizer. Robberson is just like all of those he accuses of not taking responsibility for what happened when in fact his profession is just as guilty but now he is acting like the concerned lawyers that are driving up and down 35 to get at the truth.

  • dallasboiler

    How can we assign blame with regards to this explosion when so much is unknown as to what caused it? Ammonium nitrate by itself is not a ticking time bomb. Several things have to happen to make it explode the way that it did in Oklahoma City (as it was intended to do in that case) and West (as it accidentally did). To have this happen accidentally, many things had to go wrong; and we don’t have enough information yet to know if it was the result of negligence, human error, poor regulatory oversight, fraud, or some combination thereof. It’s irresponsible for Tod Robberson or others to begin the finger-pointing until the facts are known.

  • Edward

    Maybe a better way to put it is “How is our Republican-controlled state going to respond to West?”

    If Governor Perry continues his messaging that “no oversight is good oversight”, then we’ve learned exactly what we need to know.

  • Harvey Lacey

    I think the population of West is about 2,700. Their volunteer fire force I heard was thirty. That means 1/10 of one percent think they have the stuff to run into a fire when everyone else is running away from it. 1/10th of one percent have the stuff to handle a kid being killed in a traffic accident and then being ready to roll on another call just like it the next day.

    Almost half of these heroic people were killed because common sense regulation wasn’t in place and if in place, wasn’t enforced.

    Common sense screams that those who have the most to lose should be informed of the risks involved. Even if Texas believes less rules rule it shouldn’t mean ignorance is king.

  • Neal K

    I haven’t heard any complaints about the response.

  • Dubious Brother

    It is a little premature to decide if this was a regulation problem one way or the other. A point well taken about the fire fighters but your math is off.

  • Bushwood Smithie

    “Well, someone made the decision to build houses, apartments, schools, etc. next to a ticking time bomb.”

    You ignore the reason why those houses and apartments were built there: because people wanted to live there. The developers were only responding to demand. If there weren’t a demand then they would not have been built, or only a handful would have been built and sat there empty.

  • Rojas

    The chemical used at Oklahoma City was ANFO. ANFO is a blasting agent. A key ingredient in ANFO is prilled ammonium nitrate which is commonly used as a fertilizer.
    They are not the same and those who refer to them as though they are have a bridge they are trying to sell you.
    Home Depot or Lowes do not sell ammonium nitrate fertilizer. They sell pre-mixed bags that may contain AN with other soil amendments.

    West Fertilizer was a custom mixer. A farmer has a soil analysis done. He takes the results and a custom mix of fertilizer was prepared by West with the proper ratio of other amendments.

  • Harvey Lacey

    I’ve always wondered why people lived in single wides in the middle of nowhere or in the slums in the cities.

  • Harvey Lacey

    It’s Frontburner, a little math mistake is expected…….

  • Cissy Aberg

    “Wood ticks, politics, dog ticks, they are all the same”. As told to me in or about 1977 by the late John Connally. Were he alive, he could probably straighten us out about the Democrats for Republicans switch-out in Texas, since he did, too…switch, that is.