A little more than three years ago, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded, killing 15 people, injuring more than 160, and destroying a town in what was then regarded as one of worst industrial accidents in modern Texas. President Obama spoke eloquently on behalf of the victims and generously toward the town. To his credit, he did not use the moment to push his usual regulatory agenda.
Today, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made a mockery of all of that, for it announced that it had concluded that the explosion was “a criminal act.” Not an accident, not an example of insufficient regulation, but arson, murder, and possibly terrorism.
The cynic in us is forced to wonder how long ago the ATF reached that conclusion. We hope it was, oh, yesterday, or maybe over the weekend just past.
The lessons of the West explosion turn out to be quite different than those pushed by the liberal wing of the chattering classes in their rush to score propaganda points on behalf of their favorite regulators. Remember that, and apply appropriate skepticism the next time. “Journalists,” that goes double for you.