The Edge of Disaster

Posted By on May 24, 2013 | 0 comments


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A bridge in northwestern Washington State collapsed today. Thankfully no one appears to have been killed. I’ve driven across this bridge many times, including on the Harley. The bridge is part of Interstate 5, which runs from the Canadian border to southern California. It’s a major artery and I’m not sure what people in this area will do until a repair is effected.

Friends were immediately expressing shock and horror on Facebook. I was not very surprised at the collapse. I read a book a few years ago titled The Edge of Disaster.

The book, by a former disaster planning specialist, details how completely wrong-headed our national spending priorities have been in the past decade (the book was published in 2007). He makes the very cogent argument that the trillions spent on fighting terrorism have not made us fundamentally safer and the neglect of our national infrastructure threatens our safety and economic existence in a way that terrorism could never possibly do.

The author even makes the argument that if a terrorist were to set off a dirty bomb in a major American city, the resulting effect, while horrible for those directly affected, would not come close to the cost to our security and economic health that will result from things like the I-5 bridge collapse.

There is a tremendous amount of traffic between Seattle and Vancouver, BC that streams over that bridge daily. The lack of that traffic will have huge economic impacts in both directions. And there are literally thousands of bridges like this in the U.S. that are in need of repair.

And there are levies, water systems, an outdated electrical grid, and on and on, that need to be fixed. No terrorist organization in the world has the capacity to bring down the United States at this point. Crumbling infrastructure can hurt us bad.

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