BP's punishment

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How do you feel that BP should be punished?
 

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  • #2
arildno
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How do you feel that BP should be punished?

Hung, drawn and quartered?

Or, perhaps, be sawed in two and let the parts lie in the streets to be eaten by dogs? (This was a common punishment for traitors in Morocco back in the 18th century).
 
  • #3
I'm not sure that there is a way that BP and the US government can be punished which is commensurate with the human, economic, and environmental damage caused. If, in theory, one could isolate each individual in private and public life who's actions contributed to this disaster, ignoring the entire public's desire for cheap fuel, then you would either put those people to death as an example, or strip them of all assets and put them in the equivalent of a "Work camp of strict regime" in gulag style.

Let them live as an example, so that the notion of spreading responsibility across a whole agency or corporation no longer shields individuals from massive reprisal. This assumes a finding of negligence, otherwise we all have to be hung, drawn, and quartered for our dependence on oil and electing these clowns.

BP... I don't know, but the people of MMS should be dragged out their beds and shot on the sidewalk.
 
  • #4
KalamMekhar
Would you punish your child for accidentally knocking over a pan that you left dangerously close to the edge of a table, because you didn't enforce safety regulations?
 
  • #5
arildno
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Why do you regard the State as some sort of Parent, KalamMekhar?
 
  • #6
KalamMekhar
A nations government should have some control over safety regulations, and enforcing them, if there is a company who is doing business within the nation. the US Gov't. should have enforced its current safety regulations on oil drilling, instead of leaving it up to the companies themselves to decide how to safely operate. I have seen things go sour before, when a company believes it can regulate itself safety wise.

On another, but similar point, without OSHA, things would be much, much more dangerous in the workplace. I have personally seen people say "I don't need to wear this hard hat," and later to be struck by something in the head. Just because nothing bad has happened for a while, doesn't mean one can continue to operate under the false assumption that everything is safe.

I hope I am making my point clear.
 
  • #7
Office_Shredder
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So the government is to blame; and certainly from what I understand there has been some serious changes implemented/being implemented in terms of how the regulatory agencies are organized (to avoid conflicts of interest, competing goals etc.)

But a child isn't responsible for all his actions precisely because he is a child; just because the government didn't enforce its regulations on BP doesn't give BP permission to break them
 
  • #8
arildno
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BP clearly violated rules already laid down, KalamMekhar.

That others are negligent do not confer upon adults the right to violate rules binding both.
 
  • #9
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Halliburton should also be punished for their involvement, but of course that would be getting a bit too up close and personal.
 
  • #10
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I read the other day that Deepwater Horizon was a risky type of well, which saves BP $7-10 million. While other companies used this type of well rarely in the Gulf, BP was using it 1 out of every 3 times.

I believe they should most certainly have to pay for ALL cleanup efforts and reimburse everyone who (unwillingly) lost property and/or their livelihoods in the spill. After paying that, BP has a great chance of going bankrupt.
 
  • #11
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Halliburton should also be punished for their involvement, but of course that would be getting a bit too up close and personal.

When I said BP, I meant the other corporations involved (directly!) as well. :)
 
  • #12
KalamMekhar
Why would you want BP to go bankrupt? That would be the same situation as GM going bankrupt. Just because the corporate end of the company is "corrupt" doesn't mean thousands of people should lose their jobs.
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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When I said BP, I meant the other corporations involved (directly!) as well. :)
From everything I have heard, Haliburton did nothing wrong and may have even attempted to persuade the other parties to try to prevent the explosion. Anyway....

There are several layers here and I am all-but certain appropriate punishment will be meted out. It almost always is. First and obviously, BP (and Transocean) will pay financial damages and cleanup costs. It is already paying both, which is surprising to me as the payments don't preclude additional payments resulting from lawsuits. There is a substantial danger in trying to squeeze too much out of BP too soon in that the combination of their low stock prices and high initial exposure may well cause them to go bankrupt. What is needed from BP is for the company to stabilize and at least limp-along for the next 20 years while paying for cleanup and damages.

Second is what many people have forgotten about: criminal charges for individuals. From what I have heard about the disaster, it was not just preventable but was actually precipitated by bad decision making on the day of the accident..... And people died. That's murder. I am confident that those responsible will be convicted of murder.

Case-in-point, here's an article discussing the possibility for the Massey Mine disaster: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_59415.shtml

In that case, the link will be more procedural and historical, but I think it is still likely to be made.

Another: Pier 34 in Philadelphia had a night club on it. An engineer told the club owner to close the club and repair the pier because a collapse was imminent (actually, described as "in-progress", I think). The owners opened-up that night anyway and the pier collapsed, killing 3. The owners were convicted of murder for ignoring good engineering advice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Pier_34_Collapse
 
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  • #14
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Why would you want BP to go bankrupt? That would be the same situation as GM going bankrupt. Just because the corporate end of the company is "corrupt" doesn't mean thousands of people should lose their jobs.

Why do you want BP to not pay what they naturally owe?

No, it wouldn't be the same situation, because this time, BP's assets would be liquidated, and if anything is left over, it would be distributed amongst shareholders.

By the way, the jobs would probably be replaced by the oil companies buying BP's wells, refineries, etc.
 
  • #15
mheslep
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And people died. That's murder.
Manslaughter, negligent homicide maybe, I doubt murder.
 
  • #16
russ_watters
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Manslaughter, negligent homicide maybe, I doubt murder.
It is quite common for manslaughter and neglegent homicide to also be called "3rd degree murder":
The following states of mind are recognized as constituting the various forms of "malice aforethought":

...
iii. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life (sometimes described as an "abandoned and malignant heart"),

Under state of mind (iii), an "abandoned and malignant heart", the killing must result from defendant's conduct involving a reckless indifference to human life and a conscious disregard of an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily injury. An example of this is a 2007 law in California where an individual could be convicted of third-degree murder if he or she kills another person while operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder#Legal_analysis_of_murder
 
  • #17
russ_watters
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Separate post because maybe people are already responding to the last...

....actually, it appears that perhaps manslaughter is a completely separate crime from murder, though different sources vary on the precise definition or which can be mixed with which. In any case:
The unjustifiable, inexcusable, and intentional killing of a human being without deliberation, premeditation, and malice. The unlawful killing of a human being without any deliberation, which may be involuntary, in the commission of a lawful act without due caution and circumspection.

Manslaughter is a distinct crime and is not considered a lesser degree of murder. The essential distinction between the two offenses is that malice aforethought must be present for murder, whereas it must be absent for manslaughter. Manslaughter is not as serious a crime as murder.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Manslaughter

The BP case would not be a manslaughter case because there was "malace aforethought": The person who ordered the drilling fluid removed knew that he was violating procedure and knew that that violation could result in an accident with severe consequences such as deaths.

Then:
Murder: The unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse.

...
The definition of murder has evolved over several centuries. Under most modern statutes in the United States, murder comes in four varieties: (1) intentional murder; (2) a killing that resulted from the intent to do serious bodily injury; (3) a killing that resulted from a depraved heart or extreme recklessness; and (4) murder committed by an Accomplice during the commission of, attempt of, or flight from certain felonies.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/murder
#3 is what BP appears guilty of.
 
  • #18
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Dissolve corporate personhood. Make the "decision makers" liable for the corporations' actions and inaction.

Alternatively, ensure premeditated crimes by the people that run corporations hurt their corporations financially to the extent that they are clearly and unmistakeably NOT cost effective. I mean, make it so crime doesn't pay.

As in "appropriate all dividends for a year or two" kind of not paying. If they try to reinvest the profits then tax them till they bleed for 5 years.

Etc.
 
  • #19
There is a little used murder statute that will never, but really should, apply to a number of people in MMS, and managers up the line at BP: "Depraved Heart".

I think SonyAD has the right idea, although our recent SCOTUS decision just made a big step in the OTHER direction, sadly. When hundreds or thousands of people disperse responsibility, but have the rights of individuals, you get this. I wonder also how you make a case against the negligent regulators that is in proportion to the deaths of 11 men, and the environmental impact.

I don't know of anyone who has a rock-solid prediction for the magnitude or duration of the environmental fallout from this, and our justice system just is not designed to hold people properly accountable for despoiling national resources. No new case-law is going to be made here, which means a handful of people will be CHARGED, and actually getting a conviction is iffy as hell.

I think it is important to remember that it would take a genuine desire by the judiciary and congress to establish precedent for holding government officials and corporate employees accountable. They will never do something that could be so easily used against themselves, in my view; extend depraved heart to people who allow or cover lethal environmental disasters and I wonder how many elected, appointed, and "lifers" would be left in government, and not in jail. Certainly the EPA and FDA would be subject to constant legal threat. There is a balance struck in the law to protect state institutions, and that balance is... unbalanced. I think this is why BP is so hated, beyond even what is reasonable; on some level people know that BP might take a few hits, but our own government will ALWAYS cover its ***.
 
  • #22
russ_watters
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Dissolve corporate personhood. Make the "decision makers" liable for the corporations' actions and inaction.
Criminally, they are liable. If you make them personally liable, the citizens of the gulf lose because the heads of the company don't have anywhere near as much money as is needed to pay for the damages.
 
  • #23
Criminally, they are liable. If you make them personally liable, the citizens of the gulf lose because the heads of the company don't have anywhere near as much money as is needed to pay for the damages.

This is PF Russ, so the solution is simple: cool them to near absolute zero and place BP and its constituent parts into a superposition of "single entity" and "individual", then hold both accountable in different ways. The people go to jail, and the corporation pays.
 
  • #24
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I'm buying all my gas at BP now. I'm tired of the anti-capitalist thugs of thus world piling on to beat down our corporations and those of our friends and allies. I'm ashamed as an American that my President deigns himself fit to dictate terms to BP. By what authority? Where's the "hey, how can help you plug this leak?". No, BP gets a criminal investigation and all the Lawyers my illustrious professor of a president can muster.

I'm buying only BP gas until a different president reinstalls Churchill's bust in the oval office.
 
  • #25
I'm buying all my gas at BP now. I'm tired of the anti-capitalist thugs of thus world piling on to beat down our corporations and those of our friends and allies. I'm ashamed as an American that my President deigns himself fit to dictate terms to BP. By what authority? Where's the "hey, how can help you plug this leak?". No, BP gets a criminal investigation and all the Lawyers my illustrious professor of a president can muster.

I'm buying only BP gas until a different president reinstalls Churchill's bust in the oval office.

I can't tell if you're joking, or drunk...
 

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