Texas Bomb Ignored by Media, Perp Honored by Victims

CNN is not broadcasting live from this, the site of the bombing of West, Texas and the terror that ensued.  (Photo by The Bay Area’s News Station/Flickr)

CNN is not broadcasting live from this, the site of the bombing of West, Texas and the terror that ensued. (Photo by The Bay Area’s News Station/Flickr)

The explosion that leveled much of the little Texas town of West occurred one day after the Boston Marathon bombing. It killed 15 people, five times the number of dead in Boston. It left a crater 90 feet across and ten feet deep, while the Boston bombs left some black marks on the sidewalk (along with a lot of blood — this is not to minimize Boston, but to put Texas in perspective). It destroyed an apartment building, a school and dozens of homes, while in Boston no buildings were damaged. And surely, in a system that recognizes negligent homicide and reckless disregard as crimes, the Texas bombing was just as criminal an act as the Boston one.  Yet it has vanished from the media and the perpetrator is being called a nice guy — by the victims.

Can there be any doubt that the Texas blast was the result of a crime? Federal law says that any fertilizer plant (that is what blew up, the West Fertilizer Company plant, owned by Adair Grain, owned by Donald Adair) that stores more than 800 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the primary ingredient of fertilizer, must notify the Department of Homeland Security. The reasons for that is, ammonium nitrate is also the primary ingredient of a potent high explosive.  One ton of it — enough to fertilize four acres of cropland — provided the kick for the Oklahoma City bomb that killed 168 people and did over half a trillion dollars’ worth of damage. The West Fertilizer Plant had 270 tons of ammonium nitrate on hand.

Nor was that its only apparent transgression. According to Reuters and Washington Post reports, the plant had no sprinkler system, no fire alarms, no emergency shut-off valves and no blast walls, all of which are required by law. Such things are under the purview of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which carefully inspected the plant for safety violations in 1985, and not since. If the averages hold, OSHA inspectors will come by to peer into the crater that was West Fertilizer in 2114: on average, OSHA is funded to inspect every such facility once every 129 years.

It is dismaying enough that the ADHD media cannot focus on this mass murder in Texas because it is intent on imputing vast, shadowy terrorist intent to the murderous vandalism of a couple of whacked out, would-be thugs. It would not be good television, one can hear the producers agree, to investigate the evils of an industrial system that wipes out human lives by the dozen as a matter of convenience and profit-maximization.

But what is truly head-exploding is that the very victims of that evil in West, Texas, are going out of their way to praise the man responsible. According to Reuters, his surviving friends and neighbors are grateful to Donald Adair for buying the fertilizer plant so that they would not have to travel extra miles for the product if it shut down. “He’s a good guy,” said one, “it happened, and to blame him don’t make good sense.”

Adair — who is elderly and in poor health — along with his son received about two million dollars in federal farm welfare for operating 5,000 acres of crop- and grassland between 1995 and 2011. With his land and businesses, his net worth is many millions. Is that why “it don’t make good sense” to blame him? The Boston miscreants have funny names, are the sons of immigrants, and are not wealthy. Is that why it makes good sense to devote all the media resources of this media-addled country to reviling them? Is that what we have become?

[UPDATE: Speaking of what we have become, notice that every member of the Texas Congressional delegation has demanded quick and plentiful federal disaster aid for West. And every one of them voted against federal disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy.]

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