Apr 29, 2002
An explosion in a basement in downtown New York on April 25 caused instant headlines and media notice: Was there another terror attack in Manhattan? No.
There wasn’t any “terrorist” attack. There was a “boss” attack – of the usual kind – and it injured at least 42 people. The cause of the blast was a leak involving chemicals used by a small sign manufacturing company. Twelve of the injuries were considered critical and still could cause the death of a worker at this company.
State, federal and fire officials say they are investigating. The fire department said the owner of the company did not have the proper permit to store more than 1,000 gallons of dangerous chemicals and these chemicals were not stored properly. But, in fact, the State of New York had exempted manufacturers like this one from having state permits to store hazardous materials when the chemicals were stored less than 90 days.
So manufacturers can risk the lives and certainly the health and safety of their work forces and not break any state regulations. In other words, business can go on like it usually does.
This might not have been a terrorist attack. But the bosses who made the decision to store these chemicals did so knowing the risk to human life, just as did the state authorities who exempted them. If you’re killed by a boss who despises human life, you’re just as dead as if you’re killed by a terrorist. And, in this country, it happens much more frequently that we are killed by a cold blooded boss.