I apologize up front for having no link to the story that infuriated me, but I really did read it: one of the groups trying to control the oil spill in the gulf said it made no difference whether the spill was 5,000 or 50,000 per day, because they were “already engaging in an emergency response.” The implication was: how much more can we possibly respond? Therefore, it makes no diff.
But it does. For example, imagine a town by a mighty river. The townspeople know that a flood is coming downstream, likely to crest a foot over the levee, in twelve hours. They rush to the river banks and start piling up sandbags, an emergency response.
Now imagine a town by a mighty river. The townspeople know that a flood is coming downstream, a twenty-foot wave above their levee-level, and it’s going to crash over them in twelve hours. Nobody wastes time on sandbags. And except for the few persnickety stay-behinds, they get the hell out.
Some day, we may know what the correct emergency response to the gulf spill should have been. Perhaps we’ll get it right after the fourth or fifth deep well blows up.