By: Luke Quevedo
A fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas claimed almost 35 lives two weeks ago and injured over 200. According to CNN, the number of dead includes five volunteer firefighters, four emergency responders, and one off duty firefighter. The rest of the casualties were bystanders and residents in a nearby apartment complex.
The explosion could be heard for miles; it created a small earthquake that registered a 2.1 on the Richter scale, and leveled a nearby apartment complex.
It damaged buildings within a 3000 foot radius; within that radius were a nursing home, middle school, high school, and a hospital.
The explosion was triggered by a fire, but it is still unknown what caused the fire.
The reason the explosion was so massive was because the fertilizer plant company had over 1,350 times the legal amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the plant. An amount like that should have been brought to the attention of safety supervisors of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
President Barack Obama and the First Lady joined the small town of Waco last Thursday to grieve with the victim’s families. Obama told the families and friends of those killed that they were not forgotten, saying “our hearts have been here in your time of tribulation.”
Obama told CNN, “What I can do is offer the love and support and prayers of the nation.”
Over the last two weeks, the Boston bombing attack has been getting more media coverage in this country than anything, even though more people died in Texas. With so many lives at stake, it should be the duty of the media to at least dedicate as much reporting to Texas as they do Boston.
Certainly the unbalanced coverage, some would argue, could have negative consequences across the board. As Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, who has extensively covered many similar explosions, tweeted, “Terrorists want media attention, so we give it to them. Unsafe industries don’t want media attention — so we give that to them.”
Here is a link to a video of the explosions on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba8jTkRWiwI