The accounts from BP on what happened at the well are sounding more and more troubling. Warning signs were ignored; BP officials refused to listen to a specialist team that had just arrived, even when said team demanded evacuation (and got it, but only from their own company). The well blew up a flew hours after their helicopter took off.
When events like this happen, we always ask the same question: how could people be so stupid? How could they ignore what is now plain to us? There will be a lot of answers to that question, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of it will end up sounding like "We'd ignored those problems before, and it always turned out all right."
Update: A reader sends along this Malcolm Gladwell piece from 1996.