The first fatal accident in the history of U.S. space flight occurred on January 27, 1967, during preparations for the first manned mission of the Apollo space program. A flash fire broke out in the command module during a simulated launch at Cape Canaveral, asphyxiating astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. A stray spark started the fire in the pure oxygen environment inside the module, and design flaws in the hatch door made it impossible to open in time to save the astronauts.
During the subsequent congressional investigation, a group of senators wanted to make drastic changes to NASA and the space program. But Frank Borman, who was both a Gemini and Apollo astronaut testified in defense of the space program and explained that everything about the project was new, that NASA was just learning the right questions to ask and in essence told the committee, “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”
And while that expression may seem obvious, it’s an oft overlooked aspect of human nature. Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know; but there is no similar academic or philosophical categorization to express how we don’t know what we don’t know. I’m not trying to go Zen in a weekly commentary, but this is a reality of life.
A classic case of “we don’t know what we don’t know” occurred with the COVID pandemic—even ‘the scientists’ didn’t know what they didn’t know. And that’s one of the reasons I believe our leaders should be given a break when we assess their performance regarding the pandemic, which is why I give Governor Polis an A for his handling the pandemic here in Colorado; besides, it’s patently unfair to level criticism on matters of not knowing something when dealing with a black swan event.
The Trump administration was roundly criticized for its handling of the virus, which was to be expected. And I’m sure Nate will receive letters ignoring every aspect of this commentary save for the fact that I believe we should be thankful we had a president who successfully pushed the development of two vaccines in the absolutely unheard-of time of less than a year.
Meanwhile, it’s also a fact that some states handled the pandemic better than others, and with three notable exceptions (California, Michigan and New York) I believe forty-seven state governors acted in the best interest of their state’s citizenry.
However, there is never an excuse for making decisions that negatively impact people’s lives when the facts are known, especially when the matter involves children. And the situation at our southern border, which is now being seen around the world, is just such a case. Nothing about the border situation was unknown, in fact, this catastrophe was entirely predictable.
As noted in the American Thinker, DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was given the unenviable assignment of defending the Biden administration’s self-created crisis at the border by appearing on multiple Sunday talk shows. And it did not go well as Mayorkas resorted to outright lying. Even allies of the Biden administration, such as CNN were aghast at the plight of the “children” (mostly late teens) who were lured across the border by the administration’s reversal of Trump’s border policies, not to mention the current administration’s inconsistent COVID testing before releasing migrants into American society at large.
NASA could be forgiven for not knowing, state governors could be forgiven for not knowing. But the real tragedy of the border crisis is how President Biden was warned repeatedly about the consequences of what would happen if it dismantled the Trump administration’s policies, which included putting pressure on Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to do its part to stop the flow of migrants, mostly from Central America traversing Mexican territory; yet in his ill-thought out effort to eliminate anything “Trump” he went full speed ahead causing the calamity we see at the border today..
Welcome to the world of Joe Biden (or whomever is actually making the decisions in the White House these days.) My fear is the worst is yet to come.
Thought for the day: You know the nation is in deep trouble when the border is open, and the schools are closed!