It’s not like no one thought Galveston could ever be hit by a monster storm. The city was almost destroyed in The Great Storm of 1900 which struck on September 8 of that year and killed 6000 people. The Thomas Edison Company has historic film footage of the destruction. So it seems a bit odd (I understate) that the geniuses at the Department of Homeland Security and NIH decided that Galveston was a good place for one of the first two high containment biodefense laboratories to be built after 9/11 (the other is situated in a densely populated neighborhood in Boston, another sterling choice). But put in Galveston they did and now it’s almost built. And another monster storm (track it in real time here) is bearing down on Galveston so the lab is being evacuated before it goes under water. Some of the locals are wryly amused:
Here at the Biodefense Barbeque, we tip our hats to the visionaries in Washington and at the University of Texas System that decided to put a huge lab handling the most dangerous and exotic diseases in the world on a barrier island known for periodically being cataclysmically obliterated by hurricanes. Maybe they were taking George Bush’s rhetoric denying global warming a little more seriously than prudent planners would. (Texas Biodefense Barbeque)
Whether you are amused or not depends on whether you think it’s funny to scare people so you can rack up pork barrel projects with no particular value but significant downsides (and here, passim). The site selection certainly speaks to a colossal incompetence, a monumental stupidity and a cynicism almost unparalleled in the annals of American politics.
Picture these guys digging around for the infected rhesus monkeys, ferrets, mice and rats:
Probably a baseless worry. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe. They told us so.