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Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 3, 2010 7 years ago

Our View


So far, we have heard only three residents suggest it. In the wake of Sarasota Police Chief Peter Abbott’s dismissal/resignation, this appears an opportune time for dramatic thinking at City Hall and in the City Commission Chambers. The questions to be debated:

Why replace the chief? Should the city consider consolidating its police department with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department?

Budgets are tight; more cuts are necessary for the next fiscal year. Where can the city gain expense savings?

+ Israeli massacre?
Re: Mavi Marmara and the flotilla of activists … In spite of repeated warnings from the Israeli government and in spite of Israel allowing humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip via other means, the “activists” proceeded to defy the Israeli blockade intentionally. What did they expect was going to happen — a jubilant Israeli welcome party? They knew the risks and provoked the outcome.

Massacre? Come on. Highly trained commandos — especially in Israel and among U.S. Navy Seals, Army Rangers and U.S. Marines — are instructed and trained beyond a shadow of doubt of the consequences of indiscriminate killing of innocents, especially in this day and age. To think the Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara with intent to kill and orders to kill — especially given the heightened tensions in the Middle East — defies reason.

A massacre? Do not judge. Innocent until proven guilty. Let the facts speak.

+ Everyone has oil on hands
One of our philosophical opponents sent us an e-mail last week with the words “drill baby drill” and a link to a Boston Globe website full of graphic photographs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Everyone in America, including us, acknowledges the oil spill is an environmental catastrophe. It saddens us all deeply on so many counts.

But the “drill baby drill” e-mail writer obviously wanted to rub oil in our face and say: “See, see, what you people, you capitalist pigs, have done.”

She fails to consider: Every human action is a choice, motivated by a vast variety of circumstances and incentives.

Review them: Americans demand a high standard of living. This requires energy and fuel. They want their energy as inexpensively and conveniently as possible, the e-mail writer included.

British Petroleum produces oil to supply the energy because it knows how to do that. In exchange for BP’s expertise and fuel, consumers pay what they believe to be a fair price. This is a friendly, mutual trade that benefits everyone — consumers acquire energy to fuel their lifestyles and BP earns a fair return for the risks and work it performs to produce the energy.

Now add in these circumstances: Demand for energy remains high, but sources of cheap, plentiful energy are becoming increasingly scarce. To that end, Americans made a choice — no drilling in Alaska, where oil is plentiful and much easier to recover.

This in turn pushed BP and others to drill deeper and deeper in the Gulf.

Now add human error. It’s inevitable.

Initiating criminal investigations, as the Obama administration has vowed, is a sickening act of trying to execute a scapegoat. If our e-mail writer, President Obama and environmentalists want to lay blame, they should look in the mirror. Culpability is on their hands, too.

Capitalism is neither moral nor immoral. It’s an economic system that responds to people’s priorities and choices. Those choices have consequences.


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