Jeremy J. Jones – Stranded in Thought

February 18, 2009

Airline Disasters Aplenty

Filed under: Opinion — Jeremy @ 10:02 am

While staying at the Hartford Marriott Downtown over this past weekend, I was privy to the news Friday afternoon of another plan crash, this time by Continental. Unfortunately, this case had a far more tragic outcome than last month’s crash in the Hudson River.

There were a couple of men at the bar with my wife and me, both in town for Connecticut’s Mortgage Crisis project at the Hartford Convention Center. We got to discussing the reasons that crashes seem more prevalent lately, and I had a theory: worker performance at the airlines is declining.

I justify this opinion thus: our government (and by extension, we) spends far too much time policing things that ought better be left alone and not nearly enough policing that which ought to be tended to.

No one in Washington is trying to make airline industry CEO’s limit their own salaries (many of which are in excess of $50 million), but these companies continue to layoff workers, usually in maintenance divisions, resulting in declining performance, until the airline either goes out of business, or the taxpayers grant them billions of dollars so they can squander it again.

Humans tend to only deal with problems when they become insurmountable. For instance, nothing was done to shore up the levies or move the population in New Orleans until a major tsunami came, resulting in many unnecessary deaths. This was despite the fact that scientists had been warning for two or three decades of the likelihood of a catastrophic death figure should a tsunami ever strike the city.

For a present-day example, consider the case of Seattle, Washington and Mt. Rainer, a mere fifty-four miles away. Scientists have been saying for at least ten years that if Mt. Rainier ever erupts, it is sure to create a pyroclastic flow that will likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Seattle area, due to its lying in the path of least resistance from the mountain to sea level. Yet we as a society are ignoring these facts, merely hoping that the mountain won’t erupt. Unfortunately, it eventually will. It is active again, and time is the only question.

I lived between Salem and Portland, Oregon at the time of the Mt. St. Helens eruption. It is no joke, trust me. A solution in the Seattle area would certainly be quite difficult to reach, but I know we will never reach it if we merely wait.

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