safety inspector Thomas Ronald Baron Nov 20, 2009 13:42:02 GMT -4
Post by JayUtah on Nov 20, 2009 13:42:02 GMT -4
First, I greatly appreciate Jay's vast knowledge.
Thank you! Aerospace engineering (largely the computational end of it) is my profession and Apollo and space history is my passion. I also enjoy writing, but I can't say I'm very good at it.
Second, I have not formed an opinion on whether Baron's death was an accident, suicide, murder, or medical related.
Fair enough. Earlier you said you had uncovered discrepancies in Baron's history. In our experience here that usually means you're about to propose some farfetched historical conspiracy. To put it bluntly, that sort of declaration pushes our button.
The manner of Baron's death is important to me only in whether it was murder, and if so, why. Accident, suicide, or natural causes make no difference to my work. Conspiracy theorists claim (or at least strongly insinuate) that Baron was murdered to shut him up, or in retribution for having "spilled the beans" about Apollo. The specific question, "Was Thomas R. Baron murdered?" is really the only question I find interesting.
Third, I don't know who Jarrah is, nor do I care.
Nor should you. He isn't relevant.
Fourth, I did not post here to foster an endless debate about the nuances of Baron's investigation/testimony.
And I think we can appreciate that. Debate (hopefully not endless) is what we foster here because that's our mode of testing truthfulness. But you arrived to ask a single question, and you got your answer. Luckily at least for us, you touched upon a subject we find interesting. And you have presented the first new information in the Baron case in about six years. That makes us interested in what you have to say, or at least in what you'll end up writing. That's why you've attracted so much interest.
...and I thank Jay for his forthrightness in addressing that misconception.
Like you I am interested in the truth. And I don't pretend to be the sole guardian of it, or even an exceptionally competent one. But that said, I rely on others to bring matters to my attention that I may have mishandled. That is one of the principle purposes of this forum.
...my approach is to balance what has been recorded by interviewing as many people with first-hand knowledge of Baron, his work, and his death.
...all things that I would do if I had more resources. Naturally I look forward to reading your piece.
Baron's quality of work is interesting because it addresses how valuable his criticisms are, which in turn helps determine his level of threat to powerful interests. That determines the credibility of theories that claim Baron was murdered to suppress his knowledge of Apollo's unreadiness.
Naturally an assessment of Baron's competence ought to be based on all available information, which includes the impressions of those with whom he worked. My focus on the 58-page report is not intended to limit my view of Baron's work to that source. It is partly a product of my lack of resources in locating and contacting these people. It is partly based on my understanding that Baron intended that report to be representative of his concerns. It is partly based on my ability as an industry operative to infer Baron's level of competence from what he writes, regardless of his intended emphasis.
I agree soundly with a small number of Baron's concerns. For example, verbal directions are generally problematic in an engineering context because there will arise discrepancies in recollection about what was said or meant. Important questions, answers, and directives should always be conveyed or preserved in writing.
I disagree soundly with a number of Baron's concerns, such as what has already been mentioned regarding process documents.
The majority of Baron's complaints in his document fall into the category of observations that are not technically wrong, but toward which a broader, more sophisticated perspective is required. Baron naively trumpets these findings without providing the broader perspective. It's not his fault; he wasn't trained or experienced appropriately. But that's what makes his subsequent behavior important: he doesn't seem to realize how unqualified he is to pass that sort of judgment to the extent of demanding a certain action. His insistence to be taken seriously is itself a problem.
Perhaps no one ever will be able to do so.
It's logically impossible to prove it was an accident. At best you'll only be able to say you can't find any evidence of malicious action. But because even the most diligent efforts to do that aren't guaranteed to succeed, that's not logically strong enough to assert it had to have been an accident. The responsible thing to do here is to assume it was an accident until you find evidence it wasn't. It's not wrong to assume here, because it's based on natural epistemological understanding of burden of proof. There is a tedious logical argument to support this assumption, but it's not especially fun to write or to read.
In forensic engineering there is really no such thing as a pure accident. There is always a cause, even though we may conclude in retrospect that the cause was unavoidable in some case. If the trooper is accurate in his assessment of the situation, then the cause of Baron's fatal accident would be operator error. That's a sad sort of default when we are unable to determine whether culpable or malicious action has occurred, or whether some process or mechanical failure has occurred. You'll never know what Thomas Baron was thinking when he confronted the train.