Plant Bomb Kills More Than Boston, But It's One of Ours
By William Boardman
Does Homeland Security Apply to The Whole Homeland?
Boston's bombings have brought out all kinds of conspiracy theory and bigoted reactions, even though nobody knows anything with much certainty yet. The West Fertilizer Company explosion on April 17 resulted from an actual, American conspiracy of a very familiar sort, a conspiracy of deliberate corporate denial or deceit -- for an example, think about tobacco companies -- combined with government inaction.
When an explosion in Texas kills an as yet uncertain number of people, leveling almost half the town, that's just as sad as the Boston event for those directly involved, but it doesn't make as compelling television. And it doesn't make compelling politics.
The northeast Texas town of West, population 2,800 or so, overwhelmingly white, mostly of Czech descent, was largely unknown to its fellow citizens until its fertilizer storage and processing plant blew up, after burning for about half an hour, due to currently unknown causes.
The explosion in West registered 2.1 on the Richter scale, much more powerful than the Boston bombs that didn't register as earthquakes at all. The explosion in West killed more people, injured more people, and destroyed much more property than the bombs in Boston, where property damage was negligible, less than a serious storm.