Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Failure of Government Regulations: On the Deliberate Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 and a Chilling Thought for All of Us

Investigators are now of the opinion that the co-pilot of the Germanwings airliner that crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 people aboard appears to have brought the A320 Airbus down deliberately, the Marseille prosecutor said today.

German Andreas Lubitz, 28, left in sole control of the Airbus A320 after the captain left the cockpit, refused to re-open the door and operated a control that sent the plane into its final, fatal descent, the prosecutor told a news conference.

Here is what caught my eye about recent reports:
"The guy outside [the captain] is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer," an investigator described only as a senior French military official told the New York Times, citing the recordings. "And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer."
"You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," the investigator added.
Those tamper proof doors were installed after 9-11, to prevent attacks on the pilots. But in this case it served to protect a mad pilot.

Bottom line: It is impossible to create a completely safe and secure world. Government regulations will never do it. Having tamper proof doors in planes is probably a good idea in most cases, in this case it wasn't.

The idea that government can solve all problems is a myth. Which brings me to government created nuclear weapons. Stephen L. Carter writes:
[The crash of  Flight 9525] stands as a chilling reminder of how difficult it is to harden our systems entirely against attack. The human factor is always a variable for which we cannot fully account. Eric Schlosser, in his book “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety,” tells us how planners agonized for decades over how to prevent a crazed individual from stealing or detonating a nuclear weapon. Even if guarded against outsiders, the systems couldn’t be completely protected against insiders. His chilling conclusion is that the problem was never really solved: We’ve just been lucky.
And there should be no comfort in the fact that these weapons are controlled by individuals who are in the first place government trained killers. Governments need to be shrunk everywhere and in every sector but especially in sectors where a mad man can do nuclear level destruction.



  1. Speaking of nuclear weapons, reminds me of the classic "Dr. Strangelove" movie.

    "I'm not saying we won't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10-20 million killed tops, depending on the breaks..."

  2. I agree that "It is impossible to create a completely safe and secure world." But this is true whether government is involved or not. The reduction of government is very appealing to me. I see nothing productive that requires government. However, the argument in favor of reducing government seems very similar to the argument in favor of reducing gun ownership. Both government and guns are tools created by humans and can be used to protect people or place them in jeopardy. The choice is up to human beings. The problem is that with or without government there are still plenty of human beings (like Dr Strangelove) who think force and coercion is an appropriate decision making method. We need more rational people being mostly rational most of the time and only nature and time can make this happen.

    1. "Both government and guns are tools created by humans and can be used to protect people or place them in jeopardy"

      True. But government can kill on a MUCH more massive scale than some lone gunman. So take your pick. A few dead or millions. Not to mention government can run torture chambers, create starvation on a mass scale and so on. It makes a non-government killer like Charles Manson look like less than an armature.

  3. Anyone see a problem with the FAA allowing pilots to be on antidepressants? It's not the depression itself that concerns me as much as the prescription drugs do.

    1. Couldn't agree more. My first thought upon hearing of this tragedy was that the crazed co-pilot was under the influence of some psychoactive pharmaceutical. The amount of evidence that these Rx psychoactive drugs are far more harmful than helpful is staggering, yet the predominate attitude is that they are one of modern medicine's miracles. Until their devastating impact is accepted, I'm afraid we're going to continue to see mass murders (by individuals; that the state will continue to murder en masse is a given) carried out by various means.

  4. I find it amazing how quickly we can know what went on in this aircraft. Why can't we get similar details from the Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine?