Friday, May 28, 2010
The BP catastrophe, following the devastating failures of security infrastructure protecting New Orleans during Katrina, is a warning we cannot ignore. We must pivot from the long forty year obsession with violent crime (now terrorism) to address the real threat that is at our door, catastrophic infrastructure under investment. We need a war on infrastructure failure. Forty years ago Charles Manson might have been the scariest thing menacing suburban homes, but today, the combination of a volatile planet, climate change, and systematic underinvestment in our security infrastructure is what is stalking us. This failure of public infrastructure, combined with the need to seek energy resources in extreme circumstances (like 3000 feet under the Gulf of Mexico) has created a new a very real threat to life and property.
For decades we have been told not to worry about our infrastructure. Committed to spending billions of dollars to incarcerate tens of thousands of our troubled neighbors (regardless of the real threat they pose), we simply don't have the money to invest in water pipes, energy systems, electricity grids and other basic infrastructures we need for survival. The devastation of the Gulf is the final alarm. It is time to take stock of the true cost of the investments we must make to achieve some security against these very real threats of fire, flood, earth quake, and disease. We must rewrite our state sentencing laws and ultimately close prisons to re-deploy our resources to the infrastructure front. We must find ways now to make our communities more resilient in the face of the environment/infrastructural threats that our major metropolitan areas now face.
The farce on the border is exactly the wrong direction to go!