Wednesday, February 15, 2023


You know, our culture has been pretty darned robust.

And like most systems that are robust, there are multiple, overlapping redundancies in place. If one mechanism fails or is overloaded, there are other mechanisms in place to keep the eggs from hitting the floor.

Consider a mechanical failure of your vehicle on the way to work. You have a phone and can call, text or email a friend, your insurance company, 911, Uber or your boss or a tow-truck. You might be able to walk to a restaurant or a bus stop. You can continue into work or in many cases you can do much of your job by phone or if you opt to return home, via your home computer.

One social commenter characterized the "privatizing" or cashing-in of those redundancies in this way "It is as if you are boarding a jet and you look up and see a mechanic on the wing of the plane. You think, "That is weird" because that kind of maintenance is not done just before a flight."

"So you shout up to the mechanic "What are you doing?"

"And he responds, "I am drilling out every third rivet. I can get $4 a pound for scrap aluminum and everybody knows the factory puts in lots of extra rivets as a matter of over-design."


And while the mechanic might be 100% correct and the plane might be able to function perfectly with only 65% of the rivets during normal is highly probable that sometime during the life of that air-frame the plane will encounter abnormal conditions and the plane will disintegrate.*

So would you board that plane if you had a choice?

The East Lansing shooter

I try to avoid commenting on these kinds of issues because I rarely have anything unique to add.

But the East Lansing shootings are a prime example of where a formerly robust system failed.

After a mass shooting, at least a dozen constituents with different agendas can point at separate failure within the system and say "This would not have happened if   fill_in_blank   had not happened." Depending on the specifics of the shooting:

  • "This would not have happened if the perp had been incarcerated based on the prior evidence that he was dangerous"
  • "This would not have happened if the gun laws that are already on the books had been enforced"
  • "This wouldn't have happened if a 'good guy with a gun' had been there"
  • "This would not have happened if effective counseling had been given to the perp"
  • "This would not have happened if the perp stayed on his meds"
  • "This would not have happened if the perp had not been using recreational drugs that impaired his judgement"
  • "This would not have happened if the perp had a good job"
  • "This would not have happened if the perp had received good parenting as a child"
  • "This would not have happened if media did not glorify previous mass-shooters and make them famous for fifteen minutes"
  • "This would not have happened if nobody could own a gun"
  • "This would not have happened if it was impossible to buy ammunition"
  • "This would not have happened if his mother had not drunk alcohol when he was in the womb"
  • "This would not have happened if the room had good doors and locks"
  • "This would not have happened if the victim(s) had locked their doors"
  • "This would not have happened if the victims had not flashed their bling"
  • "This would not have happened if the victims had not disrespected the perp"
  • "This would not have happened if the victim had not vocalized the word printed on the perp's hoodie"
  • "This would not have happened if the victims had not gone to that-part-of-town"
  • "This would not have happened if the victims had left that-part-of-town before it got dark"
  • "This would not have happened if the victims had not provoked the perp by wearing red hats"
  • "This would not have happened if victims had shown some restraint on social media"
  • "This would not have happened if the victims had purchased their drugs from a State sanctioned dispensory and paid the extra money.
  • This would not happen if the perp's culture did not glorify violence

It should be obvious that not all of these fill-in-the-blanks will show up after every crime but a bunch will.

Frankly, there is likely to be some truth in the statement even if it is very narrowly correct in the technical sense and only true in a statistical sense. A mathematician might say "The failure was necessary but not sufficient".

Which brings us back to the mechanic drilling out one-out-of-every-three rivets. He was correct in a very narrow, technical sense. He was privately benefiting from the rivets as scrap aluminum while shifting the risk to the traveling public.

Even though the mechanic is an "expert" compared to the general, traveling public; it is safe to assume that the teams of engineers, manufacturing specialists and test technicians who determined the spacing and placement of those rivets were privy to information that was not available to our greedy mechanic.

And my I suggest to you, my readers, that the Defund the Police movement and  the other heads of the hydra, BLM, Antifa and normalizing non-traditional families is identical to the greedy mechanic?

*Aloha Airlines Flight 243 had a section of fuselage blow-out while approaching cruising altitude. The plane had been in a fleet of planes that flew between the Hawaiian islands and the flights were very short hops. Engineers suspected the failure was due to the number of times the cabin had been pressurized vis-a-vis ambient. While a more typical daily flight pattern might be 2-or-3 cabin pressurizations, the Hawaiian plane had a much higher rate than typical.

Cycle-testing cabin pressurization is slow because air is "springy" and compressible. It takes significant time to pump up the cabin pressure. One bright, young engineer suggested that the fuselage be tested under-water and use pressurized water which is not compressible.

A fuselage was built specifically for the test and it was tested under-water. The fuselage failed in the same manner as the plane failed in flight, unzipping along the lines of rivets above the floor and in front of the wing.


  1. It is simply impossible to prevent a mass shooting. If someone wants to commit one bad enough they will find a way. And when seconds count the cops are generally minutes... or more...away.

    It IS possible stop a mass shooter however. All it requires is someone with a pair of balls and a proper weapon. But that cannot be allowed. The criminals in power want everyone helpless, defenseless and dependent on the government. They want total and complete control over everything and everyone. If some people have to die every couple of weeks to get that they are willing to allow that to happen. The small problem is crazy violent people. The large problem is the criminal politicians who enable the shooters.

  2. The under water pressure tests are also what proved to be the culprit in the Constellation crashes.

    1. And De Haviland Comet. Results were passed to other aircraft manufacturers. No more rectangular windows.
      Water is safer. A burst with pressurised air is an explosion.
      A burst with water is a leak.

  3. ERJ - All actions bear fruit. Some now, some later. We are in the "later fruit" stage and I assume things will only accelerate from here. Such actions represent a cursed weapon that turns unexpectedly in the hands of its user.

    (Ed. note: Perhaps "And may I suggest to you..." in the final paragraph?)

  4. I just checked some stats and we need to prioritize fatalities. In 2020 there were 58 people killed and 126 wounded in the US in mass shootings and 35,766 killed in auto accidents. That should tell us that our first priority should be requiring that all cars and trucks should be registered and all drivers should be required to take training classes and be licensed with 5 year updates. That should solve that problem according to democrat logic. Then we can move on to guns with equal success. ---ken

  5. A cardinal rule of Engineering is "Every problem has a solution that is easy, obvious, and wrong."

    That, and any time you hear "all you have to do is...." you can be sure the speaker has no real idea what the causes of the problem are or what a functional and realistic solution would look like.

    1. It depends on the problem and the experience of the person giving advice.

  6. A very wise man once told me:
    Stay away from crowds.

  7. So unconstitutional gun laws should be enforced to the max? That was the "crime" the man was arrested for back in 2019, concealed carry without a government permission slip. Something millions of Americans do everyday.

    1. Hold on a minute, Hoss.

      I was repeating what is being blasted through the air-waves. Some of it is stone-cold stupid like "...effective counseling..." because the definition of "effective counseling" is circular. There is no way to know a priori if the counseling "took".

      Specifically to getting popped for carrying without a license, the perp did SOMETHING to call the cop's attention to him. It was probably because he was doing something stupid or posed a danger to the public. Cops aren't generally "Hey, that dude is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, he is probably carrying. Let's do an unconstitutional frisk on him."

      Whacking somebody for carrying a gun or drugs when they are illegal are the easiest thing to convict for. It is in his pocket. The drugs weigh X grams. Much easier and less complicated to convict than the three or four other stupid things the dude was also a B&E, for instance.

  8. Great analysis. It applies to the railroad disaster in Ohio as well. The Wall Street geniuses who run America's railroads today (including you, Mr. Buffett) have used them as cash cows for far too long. I hope every one of the Norfolk Southern's stockholders and executives is sued into bankruptcy for what they have done.

  9. One of the first things The Robber Barons (aka "Bain Capital," at al, but now often including "normal business management") do is compromise the resilence and redundency that has built into the business to provide layer(s) of protection against failure because R&R costs money and - so far, at least - in well run companies it has not been needed so it appears to be trimmable expense.

    "Has not been needed" is a very subjective, and myopic, observation because R&R often operates well under the radar, frequently at the micro level.

    That said, as a company is squeezed for additional profits, sometimes occurring just before it's carved up and sold for parts, but just as often to move money around to make the balance sheet more attractive to Wall Street, it is possible to "get way with" compromising R&R.

    Welcome to East Palestine, Ohio.

    The consequences of that will so far eclipse not just the railroad's operating budget but the total value of their entire rail system and the entire value of the municipal system from which the "experts" that chose burning to containment arrived, and the entire value of the governmental oversight industry, that all involved are quite safe from retribution.

    Yes, a few will get fired, none will be jailed, and those who were forced into ownership of shares of the multi-trillion dollar losses will suffer mightily.

    As has become the usual standard.

  10. Prioritizing $$$ over safety is becoming more prevalent as the bean counters get in control... Grrr...

  11. " He was privately benefiting from the rivets as scrap aluminum while shifting the risk to the traveling public."

    Capitalism defined?

    Privatize profit, socialize cost?

    Does that lead to

    1. Human Nature.

      If you subscribe to the Judeo-Christian heritage than you might know it as "Original Sin".

      Capitalists, being human, display it. Marxists do. Kids do. Old people do.

      Hard-core Marxists will roll down their windows and throw crap out, into the street.

      Pre-capitalists over-grazed the common pasture.

      You get a C- on your attempt to troll. Better luck next time.


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