It's not a spill, it's a crime scene.
A spill is not something you cry over, remember? So perhaps the reason Americans are slow to react to the magnitude of the Gulf oil catastrophe is that we're not using the right language.
A spill is an accident. This is a not an accident. This is the accumulation of decades of decisions to ignore regulations, cut back on safety requirements, and let the fox guard the hen house. According to original reporting by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, such malfeasance goes back at least 20 years. So the U.S. government is hand in glove with BP in this disaster. Can you say contributory negligence? The government has sovereign immunity; BP has a statutory limit to liability. Nice.
Folks, this is where you bring out the handcuffs and let BP CEO Tony Hayward cool his heels in a jail cell. (Rikers Island, anybody? Too bad Law and Order has aired its last episode.) Then you "pierce the veil" of limited liability for corporations and divest upper management of every dime they have.
BP already spent millions in advertising to persuade Americans that it was a "green" company moving "beyond petroleum." Hell, I even bought a few tanks of those lies. Maybe we can convince the ad agency that profited from such Orwellian messaging to do a PSA campaign.
Let 'em call in Republican spinmeister Frank Luntz if they have to. He came up with death tax instead of estate tax, climate change instead of global warming. Surely he can come up with something suitable for the greatest environmental disaster in human history. Maybe we can text our votes to MSNBC for the finalists.
Call it a catastrophe, call it a gusher, call it anything but . . . a spill.
Operators are standing by for your calls.
Follow Linda R. Monk, J.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LindaRMonkJD