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    • Happy Thanksgiving
      Be happy and be well. Please be careful about Covid. Viral load matters for infection, spending hours in a house with people is a great way to get infected. Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. I’m doing my annual fundraiser. If you like my writing and can afford to, […]
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The Rose Garden Massacre and the Tenerife Airline Disaster

In 1977, two 747 were diverted to the Los Rodeos airport on Tenerife in the Canary Islands after a terrorist alert on the main island airport. They landed at the small Los Rodeos airport already crowded with other large aircraft similarly diverted.

The KLM plane was piloted by Captain Jacob van Zanten and his co-pilot Klaas Meurs. The airport was shrouded by fog that day and taking off required a series of tricky turns to the end of the runway. The runway was so tight in fact that two planes could be preparing for takeoff at the same time.

The KLM plane had been in the air for a long time and the pilots were reaching the company limit of their ability to fly. If they waited too long, they would need to ground the flight and then face the consequences with their company. They needed to takeoff ASAP to avoid drama. Long story short, the KLM plane jumped the gun while a Pan Am plane was still on the runway making turns. It was a catastrophe unlike any plane crash we have ever known.

It was the investigation that told us what happened. It was little things, the fog, the air traffic controllers not sure where everyone was exactly, the Pan Am plane not understanding the air traffic controllers and missing a turn off the runway. But it was the recovered black boxes that told us who was at fault. It was the KLM plane and their culture of not questioning authority. The captain decided to take off before he was cleared and he ignored the somewhat tepid questioning of that plan by his co-pilot.

The accident report noted that perhaps influenced by the KLM captain’s “…..great prestige, making it difficult to imagine an error of this magnitude on the part of an expert pilot, both the co-pilot and the flight engineer made no further objections.”

So, 583 people died.

I see Tenerife when I look at that Rose Garden Massacre and the outcome of the week that followed. There is a frantic push to get Barrett on the court, a penchant for theater by the Trump White House, unquestioning deference to authority, putting many lives at risk, and defiance to following the advice of others.

The Republicans make it their signature to be the chest thumping patriots who won’t let liberal snowflakes get in the way of their freedoms. But at the top of the food chain, there are a clutch of powerful people who are scared to death to challenge the reckless leadership of their president. That president mocked and ridiculed people who wore masks and listened to the medical experts on Covid. They also don’t understand the science very well. Or they understand the science and are hearing the Faucis and Birx’s but are taught to ignore them if their leader tells them to.

The number of infected continues to grow and the second circle of infection is now beginning with Claudia Conway, Kellyanne’s daughter, now testing positive.

Meanwhile, the president insists on a drive by of his fanatical followers putting two secret service agents at risk. Someone(s) clearly did not stand up to him. Someone(s) thought their jobs were on the line and management would not be merciful.

And what is Mark Meadows doing at the White House? The wheels are falling off over there and staffers are instructed to NOT go to the White House medical unit asking for Covid tests. They are told to stay home and go to their PCP’s if they are experiencing symptoms. Presumably, you can’t report the number of affected staff members if you don’t know the numbers.

How long can this go on? Unknown. But it doesn’t look good. They are ignoring every sign of catastrophe as they barrel down the runway.