Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, a group of corporate managers and their lackeys will actually have to spend time in prison for killing people, instead of just reaching into company coffers and paying a fine. If that does happen to the Boeing villains, it might save a lot of lives.
Boeing negotiated an agreement with federal prosecutors allowing it to pay a fine of $2.5 billion instead of being prosecuted for killing the 300 passengers who didn’t know they were flying in a plane, the 737 Max that its makers knew was going to crash sooner or later, and probably sooner. The families of the victims of that crash opposed the settlement on the grounds that the government violated their rights by agreeing to it without consulting them first. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled last year that the victims were victims of a deadly crime so the government should have consulted with their heirs. This week, Judge O’Connor specifically ordered Boeing to present representatives for a criminal arraignment, meaning that he has rejected the settlement, and that there will be criminal charges after all.
Ethics Alarms has offered several posts about the 737 Max scandal. The most recent was in September’s “Observations On ‘Flight/Risk’…And Related Matters.”,which concluded,
Late in the documentary, we see a clip from a Senate hearing on the fiasco in 2020. We have learned, by now, that a study done by the FAA on the fatal feature of the Boeing plane before it was manufactured estimated that 15 planes would crash over the life of the fleet, yet the plane was certified to fly anyway. Asked by Senator Cruz if Boeing and the FAA made “mistakes” that resulted in hundreds of deaths, the agency’s chief says, “Mistakes were made, yes.” Cruz immediately reminds him that the passive voice is how the government ducks responsibility, and asks, in sequence, “Has anyone been fired?” “Has anyone been demoted?” “Has anyone been disciplined?” The answer to all of these is, “No.”
He didn’t ask, “Has anyone gone to jail?” but the answer would have been the same. There appears to be a chance, at least, that some Boeing executives may go to jail; no FAA regulators will, however, despite their complicity in letting Boeing gamble with the lives of human beings in hopes of saving some money.
We need to do something about that.