As more bodies are pulled from the Mississippi River, citizens have learned that the bridge collapse was due to many known issues and errors, and people shouldn’t have been on it in the first place. It was aviodable. Fucking hell. Via Crooks and Liars, snip:
The death bridge was “structurally deficient,” we now learn, and had a rating of just 50 percent, the threshold for replacement. But no one appears to have erred on the side of public safety. The errors were all the other way.
Would you drive your kids or let your spouse drive over a bridge that had a sign saying, “CAUTION: Fifty-Percent Bridge Ahead”?
No, you wouldn’t. But there wasn’t any warning on the Half Chance Bridge. There was nothing that told you that you might be sitting in your over-heated car, bumper to bumper, on a hot summer day, thinking of dinner with your wife or of going to see the Twins game or taking your kids for a walk to Dairy Queen later when, in a rumble and a roar, the world you knew would pancake into the river.
There isn’t any bigger metaphor for a society in trouble than a bridge falling, its concrete lanes pointing brokenly at the sky, its crumpled cars pointing down at the deep waters where people disappeared.
Only this isn’t a metaphor.
The focus at the moment is on the lives lost and injured and the heroic efforts of rescuers and first-responders – good Samaritans and uniformed public servants. Minnesotans can be proud of themselves, and of their emergency workers who answered the call. But when you have a tragedy on this scale, it isn’t just concrete and steel that has failed us.
So far, we are told that it wasn’t terrorists or tornados that brought the bridge down. But those assurances are not reassuring.
They are troubling.
If it wasn’t an act of God or the hand of hate, and it proves not to be just a lousy accident – a girder mistakenly cut, a train that hit a support – then we are left to conclude that it was worse than any of those things, because it was more mundane and more insidious: This death and destruction was the result of incompetence or indifference.
In a word, it was avoidable.