David Cole writes:
Prior to pancaking, Diversity Bridge had been championed as “an engineering feat come to life.” One of the geniuses who accomplished this “feat” is an engineer who was hailed by President Obama in 2015 as a “champion of change”: Atorod Azizinamini (…)
Needless to say, the day after the collapse, damage control needed to be done, and fast. The piece on the FIU website was updated (in bloodred letters, no less) to read: “To clarify, Leonor Flores did not work on the FIU-Sweetwater University City Bridge project in any capacity.” Funny, because in that very same piece the bridge is referred to as “her work.” On its Facebook page, MCM deleted tags with Flores’ name. Also deleted (but archived by me) was a March 8 post declaring: “A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink. Thankful for all of our MCM women who help us overcome challenges every day and #BuildExcellence. #HappyInternationalWomensDay #WeAreMCM.”
It should be noted that in the months prior to the bridge collapse, FIU was awarded millions of federal dollars to “diversify” its STEM classes. And even after the disaster, FIU’s president, Mark Rosenberg, defended the project, claiming that at least they were trying to “build a bridge, not a wall.” Yes, a fucking pedestrian bridge is now a symbol of anti-Trump “resistance.” In a perfect world, the fact that Rosenberg tried to excuse the death of six people by saying, “Hey, at least your loved ones were crushed by something that is symbolically anti-Trump” would lead to his immediate dismissal. In our imperfect world, however, it will probably lead to him having his own show on MSNBC.
Cole (being Cole) recalls the worst accident in Amtrax history, back in 1993. You might have seen a show about it on the History Channel or whatever; I know I did…
Ask Willie Odom, the pilot in question. And lest anyone think I’m being unfair in my description of him, I’ll leave that part to The New York Times: “The pilot, Willie Odom, could not read his radar, had left his chart of the river at home and did not have a compass.” The Times added that “he had no formal training,” and “he had received his piloting license only months before, after failing the exam seven times.” Since I’m sure the name totally didn’t tip you off, I’ll mention that Mr. Odom is black. And indeed, he had no formal training, was unable to read radar, had left his charts at home, possessed no compass, and had failed his licensing exam seven times. That night in 1993, he was supposed to be on the Mobile River, but he took a wrong turn in the fog, ending up in the Bayou Canot. And he wasn’t even aware he’d hit the bridge until he saw the fireball from the exploding trains. At that point, he exclaimed, “Oh Lord, I done made the wrong turn” (I wish I were making that up, but that’s his actual quote).