The Gulf Oil Spill

Let me say unequivocally that I believe this is a catastrophe of epic proportions.

Now, having said that; let me ask a question which might put your response to this disaster in a different light:

Which would you consider a worse: This oil spill or your most precious loved one being killed in an auto crash?

If you said the death of your loved one, why are you not immediately going to get and lock up everyone’s car keys? Or why not propose a ban on new driver’s licenses or car registrations?

After all, the odds of someone you know having a serious or even fatal car wreck is at least as great as that of you being personally affected by an oil spill.

My opinion of why this is so is because the banning the offshore oil drilling will produce only minimal (or so we believe) effects on our personal daily lives. Whereas, any kind of restrictions on our driving will have a personal cost which is higher than we want to bear.

So think about it: We are willing to jump up and down and demand also sorts of actions for an admitted lesser problem as long as it won’t cost us too much inconvenience. However, we are willing to live with the risk of a much, much greater (and in the case of young drivers, much more probable) problem if the cost of rectifying that problem is personally too high for us.

What does that say about us and our reactions to this and other problems?

Now, I am not saying that we should ignore the problems of off shore drilling the way we ignore the problems of automobile safety; but, there is a disconnect that occurs for problems where we have to pay a price vs, problems where others have to pay the price.

I am saying this is wrong. What should be done has to be decided using the same standards regardless of whether we have to pay or not. If we wish to set our standards low, then they should be low across the board. If we want them high, we should be willing to pay the price to keep them high.

I can’t answer the following questions for you; but, you should be able to answer these for yourself:

1: How many dead birds equals a dead human?
2. How many dead turtles equals a dead human?
3. How many dead fish equals a dead human?
4. Is your number the same for each of the questions above? If not, why?
5. How many of any combination of the above equals the lives of one human being financially ruined?

You may think these questions are stupid. perhaps they are. However, I believe you can’t have a legitimate response to this crises until you do have an answer to theses questions.

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