March 04, 2009
Why Isn’t This ‘Murder Through Depraved Indifference’?
Posted by William Grigg at March 4, 2009 03:06 PM
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Lt. Dan Neubauer, pilot of the stricken F/A-18D Hornet warplane that crashed in University City, near San Diego, last December could have prevented that lethal incident by diverting to North Island Naval Station, as air traffic control had originally instructed.
The jet’s right engine had failed shortly after takeoff from (appropriately enough) the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The other engine was failing. By diverting to North Island, Neubauer would have kept the crippled jet over the Pacific Ocean, and away from heavily populated neighborhoods.Furthermore, established emergency procedures required an emergency landing at North Island in circumstances of this kind.
Instead of following instructions, Lt. Neubauer told air traffic control that “I’m actually going to try to make it to Miramar if possible.”
That course required flying over neighborhoods full of unsuspecting civilians, putting them at unnecessary — in fact, morally impermissible — risk. As if tacitly urging Neubauer to reconsider, air traffic control provided him with a vector that took him near North Island, a course that cost a considerable amount in fuel but offered a second clear chance to avoid potential harm to civilians.
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Of course, depraved indifference to “collateral damage” is a salient trait of militarism. This case is different from thousands of others only in that the victims were U.S. citizens, rather than natives of some distant, unfortunate land that found itself the target of the Empire’s murderous attentions.
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It would be interesting to see the congresscritters, the military, or anyone justify this?
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