Commentary
5:00 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Richard Crowson: Comets! Or Asteroids! Whatever, Just Blame Someone!

An asteroid, probably
An asteroid, probably
Credit NASA APPEL / Flickr / Creative Commons

There have been an awful lot of unpredicted rogue comets entering Earth’s atmosphere lately, first in Russia and then this week in California. Shouldn’t we be taking action? And by “action” I mean placing  blame.

Because, as we all know, it doesn’t matter whether comets are good or bad for us. They might kill us all. Or they might improve our lives by causing the end of an era, like when an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs.

(And yes, I know that asteroids and comets are technically two different things, but that’s getting all science-y, and as a Kansan I’m dubious about the whole science thing anyway.)

The point is to make use of this opportunity that has almost literally fallen into our laps, for assigning blame to someone.

Now, our first natural impulse would be to blame the president. If we can’t directly blame him, then one of his cabinet members will do nicely. But since there is no Secretary of Asteroid Detection, well, let’s haul that Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson guy into a hearing. He’s the head of the Hayden Planetarium. He’d be fun to blame for undetected rogue comets!

Firstly, Senator Roberts should call for the resignation of Dr. Tyson. Then we’ll explore why the telescopes that NASA bought at K-Mart, because we slashed their budget to the bone in order to keep our taxes low, didn’t detect those asteroids.

In the process, we’ll get that smug, satisfying sense of self-righteousness that flushes over us every time we avoid problem-solving for the sake of blame-placing.

I don’t really care whether we fix the problem. I’ve got health insurance. Let all those people who don’t have health insurance worry about getting hit by rogue comets!