Letter To The Editor: Reader Thinks Rosenzweig Whitewashed Bhopal

Hello Mark,

I read your whitewash editorial [Grasp All The Lessons Of Bhopal].  Shame on you for that!  Tell the truth, instead of misdirection of cause-and-effect.

Bhopal was a terrorist act by a disgruntled employee who hooked up a water-hose to the tank.  There was never any direct, engineered path for water to get into a MIC tank, and it is inconceivable that in a U.S.-engineered plant there ever would be.

As for the factor of a large number of people living in a shanty-town nearby, that's the natural result of the U. S. exporting its manufacturing to third-world countries with cheap regulatory environments and cheap labor. It's nothing personal; it's just Business.

Our domestic industry needed to learn how to protect itself against terrorist acts, but in spite of Postal employees occasionally going Postal, and various home-grown nutcases and even the abortive earlier attack with a car-bomb in the basement of the World Trade center, this country and its various industries NEVER DID LEARN the LESSON of protection against terrorists until 9/11.

Now, the country is hardened moderately, but there are still a lot of opportunities...the price of an open society under our Constitution.

The confront of evil is a very difficult thing, and virtually everyone falls far short on that score, and that's why we let one nut-case after another bomb FBI buildings and so-forth, and we continue to leave ourselves open.

The lesson Industry has learned only in a few areas such as nuclear power plants is HIGH SECURITY such that even one employee can not act alone to cause a disaster.

Making every chemical plant a Very Hard Target such that even no single employee, much less an outsider, can do harm, is the REAL lesson the industry needs to learn.

Steve Smith

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  • In response to the Letter To The Editor above, Trevor A. Kletz (author of the December 2009 cover story Bhopal Leaves a Lasting Legacy) offered this response:

    Your editorial, and perhaps also my article, have certainly produced a response but it is better to be criticized than ignored.  There is a widespread belief that accidents are due to the wickedness of somebody and that the job of an investigation is to find out whom.  Some are, of course, but only a small proportion. The primary job of the safety adviser is not to prevent bad people from hurting others but to prevent good people from hurting others as a result of ignorance, poor systems, and slips and lapses of intention (inevitable from time to time).
     
    Regards - Trevor

    Reply

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