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Definition of a Kneejerk Reaction

As many political actions often are, the moratorium on offshore drilling is as close to the dictionary definition of a “kneejerk reaction” as might possibly be. It gives quick, temporary satisfaction to a broad base, but doesn’t solve the whole problem; and as mentioned, probably will create other problems just as serious as time goes on. That being said, there are many complex problems leading up this situation, and perhaps putting the brakes on everything until there is time to gain control over the real causes is the only means of mitigating these problems in the long run.

One problem I’m hearing more of lately is the fact that the increase in Minerals Management Service inspectors hasn’t nearly kept pace with the increase in offshore drilling projects since 1985. (Offshore drilling projects increased by 1000% whereas the number of inspectors increased by 13%.)

Sometimes I wonder if these sorts of disasters are related to just plain old being human. We all have the tendency to become complacent creatures when things go fairly well for a certain amount of time. Even when many safeguards are designed into any system from its initial startup, over time we tend to trend towards becoming more and more lax until some disaster happens to “wake us up” again and re-pick up our diligence. (For a little while, anyway.)

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