New York Post
Date: April 25, 2020
By: James B. Meigs
Most major disasters arouse some sense of outrage, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Looking back on how the crisis unfolded, we find mistakes not just regrettable but stunning, unforgivable — some would say even criminal. The decisions that enable disaster strike us as worse than incompetence — made by people who must have known they were risking the lives of others.
But the more closely we examine most disasters, the less clear-cut these explanations become. Sociologist Diane Vaughan spent years studying how NASA officials decided to launch the space shuttle on January 28, 1986. (Engineers had warned — accurately, it turned out — that the cold weather that day might cause the craft’s booster rockets to leak dangerous jets of flame.) Vaughan concluded that, far from being knowingly reckless, the officials had actually followed the agency’s safety protocols quite closely. [FULL STORY]