My friend Neil, who studies flood control system failures for a living, sent me this note on what happens when dams and levees break. In such cases, Neil points out, those directly involved will be divided into the dead and those who wish they were dead:
"While claims and counterclaims shot back and forth [about the failure of the dam], [MWD General Manager] Mulholland seemed stunned by what had happened. A rare photograph shows him at the site, the image of a broken man. 'I envy the dead,'" he said.
We haven't seen any pictures like this of Corps of Engineers or New Orleans flood control officials. I wonder why.
I wonder if we'll see them the next time one of California's poorly maintained levees fails.