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What would have happened if Lance Orton and Duane Jackson, the vendors in Times Square, were undocumented? What would have happened if it occurred in Arizona? Would they have risked calling the police?

What would we be doing if the oil in the Gulf were flowing west or south onto the shores of Mexico, Colombia or Venezuela?

NOAA map of the 3,858 oil and gas platforms extant in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006.

What would be the effects if the oil blowout had happened during hurricane season?

Are we prepared to accept that the Gulf coast has been changed for at least the rest of our lives? In the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, according to the Wikipedia article, “Despite the extensive cleanup attempts, less than ten percent of the oil was recovered and a study conducted by NOAA determined that as of early 2007 more than 26 thousand U.S. gallons (22,000 imp gal; 98,000 L) of oil remain in the sandy soil of the contaminated shoreline, declining at a rate of less than 4% per year.

And, it’s not just the oil. We have no idea what the effect will be of the tonnage of dispersants that have been pumped into the Gulf.

The number of U.S. structures in the Gulf is roughly 4,000, with 819 manned platforms. How many more disasters are out there just lying in wait? Is greed worth this price?

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