Schwarzenegger’s knee-jerk reaction to the BP spill

The 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster was the second in just more than 100 flights of the shuttle fleet. (photo: Wikipedia)

After 9/11 the Bush administration’s knee-jerk reaction was to attempt to stem immigration and tighten airport security.  After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s reaction was to stem off-shore drilling. While I personally agree with the decision not to drill in the ocean I am not in favor of knee-jerk reactions, even if they have outcomes agreeable to me. Knee-jerk reactions that are 180 degrees from one’s original stance show poor planning and imply to me that the original decision was made in haste.

Schwarzenegger has known the risks of off-shore drilling for years, yet he continued to support its expansion.  This BP spill in the Gulf didn’t change the risk ratio, it merely made it very real for many, many people.  It is politically wise for politicians to withdraw support for drilling after this incident but their motivations are suspect. It reminds me of one famous CalTech physicist who discovered that the risk of catastrophic failure of the Space Shuttle was greater than 1 in 100. So-called “NASA experts” at the time had put the risk much much lower saying the shuttle was safe and that the Challenger accident had resulted in serious safety improvements, suggesting that Feynman’s estimates were grossly overstated. Space Shuttle Columbia, the second shuttle to be destroyed in a catastrophic failure was the 113th flight. Had proper research been done and warnings been heeded in the first place the second disaster might have been prevented.  Draw whatever parallels you may to our current disaster in the Gulf.