safety inspector Thomas Ronald Baron Nov 30, 2009 17:54:30 GMT -4
Post by JayUtah on Nov 30, 2009 17:54:30 GMT -4
First of all, Gillian, I too am in the "vaguely possible" camp. I really am.
It doesn't seem like it. You seem to have expended a good deal of thought toward it. You seem to be considering means and motive.
...but car accident is pretty good if you want to make it look like an accident.
But not this accident. You write: You're right, its nearly impossible to fathom the logistics of timing such a scenario.
Indeed, hence we thoroughly discount it as a credible hypothesis.
Cut a brake line or jam an accelerator and viola, instant rollover.
That works on TV, but not in real life. In practice these methods are readily noticeable by the driver before they become life-threatening. Further they are highly noticeable to an investigator.
Intentional car accidents are credible as accidents generally only when they involve another vehicle controlled by the perpetrator. And they generally don't survive inspection by trained investigators.
Let's say for the sake of argument that Baron had formed enemies, and that those enemies could think of no better way to eliminate his influence other than to murder him. Obviously they will want to divert suspicion away from themselves, and if possible to eliminate suspicion of foul play altogether.
Anyone embarking on an illegal course of action does not have the guarantee he won't be found out. The problem occurs if the murder attempt fails and tips off the prospective victim. You need a plan that has a high probability of success, and a low probability of detection. Arranging a car-train collision where neither the car driver nor the train driver is a confederate is pretty much the least likely to succeed and the most likely to tip off someone should the timing fail or the sabotage apparatus be discovered.
Baron had medical problems. Killing him might have been as simple as replacing insulin with saline. You have a whole range of potentially fatal household activities such as swimming, fishing the bread out of the toaster, or gas explosions. You don't have to kill other members of Baron's family. If you want to say that Baron was killed, you have to look at easier ways of killing him.
I think we must keep that scenario as a "vague possibility".
It's pretty much in the same category of "possibility" as that he was murdered by the Titusville PTA over bake-sale profits, or that a passing UFO created a magnetic field that sucked his car into the train.
Remote control of the vehicle is another "vague possibility".
Are you serious? Really?
Accident remains the most likely scenario...
Accident (i.e., operator error) remains the only credible scenario. Why are you even mentioning any of the others? You're entirely grasping at straws here.
You bring up the notion that the railroad crossing was part of Baron's daily routine. And to a trained forensic investigator, that increases the likelihood of operator error. People are more likely to have accidents or exhibit poor judgment around things that are routine to them. If Baron passes the crossing every day, he will have normalized to the risk of passing trains. Further, people tend to take more operational risk on common tasks than on novel ones. Baron would have been more likely to race a train on a route he commonly traveled than on an unfamiliar one.
...anyone who wanted to silence Baron would know how to do so without anyone suspecting foul play, agreed?
No, not agreed at all.
We need from you a plausible method of sabotaging his car. Cutting brakes or wedging throttles works okay in TV-land, but not in real life. Those aren't credible ways of doctoring a car to bring about an accident or someone's death. This is what we call "handwaving." You acknowledge that there is a hole in your argument, but you can't come up with anything other than vague supposition to fill it. As such we properly dismiss it.
As Jason noticed, your argument is circular anyway. You're saying that "properly" done, murder would be indistinguishable from a true accident. And that's the same as saying, in this case, that there is evidence only for a true accident. You're trying to pin cloak-and-dagger stuff onto it with no evidence.
And below you try to argue that Baron's death cowed people into silence. But that only works if there's something to convince you his death wasn't an accident, which would in turn compel Baron's family and/or law enforcement to follow up. Your scenario requires Baron's "accident" to be suspicious at one point and completely innocent at another point. That's not investigation; that's just bad fiction.
The point isn't what he did or didn't have, the point is that he wasn't going away.
I see that what you're trying to argue is that the mere perception of impropriety, such as Baron would attest to, is enough to cause concern. It doesn't matter that Baron had little more than complaints from coworkers, that he was a lousy witness, and that he really didn't know what engineering development entailed -- or so you say. The fact that he was noisy and getting traction was enough.
But death isn't the solution. The ideas don't go away with their author's death, as you've seen. Forty years later people are still touting Baron as a martyr. The proper way to deal with him is to discredit him, which wouldn't be especially hard given his preferred method of working. Nor would attempting to do so be illegal if it were to be discovered. Since Baron allegedly worked from anonymous tips, it's very easy to plant false information that can be conspicuously refuted after Baron or one of his newsmen publishes it. Or one can simply dig up skeletons from his past.
All he needed to do was get one piece of damning information into the hands of Mondale or someone else in the anti-space camp.
Nope. Baron really had nothing, and at the rate he was going he wasn't likely to discover anything. There were far more damning bits of evidence from the real Apollo1 investigation and from the Apollo 13 investigation that came years later, and from qualified engineers and people with vast experience in engineering development. The anti-space camp didn't need Baron.
Baron was not credible to NAA nor to NASA. He was only credible to the media, and mostly because neither the media nor the public largely understood how to run a large aerospace corporation. Baron's concerns about safety seem quite logical when that's all you look at. But they pale when seen in a larger, more appropriate context.
Mogilevsky believed Baron was being followed.
Mogilevsky simply heard Baron say he was being followed. That's not evidence.
So did Holmberg.
Watched, not followed. The two are not necessarily the same thing. While I agree Holmburg expressed that belief, he presents no evidence for it; it is merely a plausible supposition from his point of view.
So Mogilevsky's evidence is hearsay and Holmburg's is supposition. There is no evidence that Thomas Baron was being watched, followed, or otherwise interfered with.
I don't think anyone who knew what Baron [was] doing wanted to find out for themselves if his death was an accident or not.
Are you writing an investigative piece or a spy novel, Gary? This rampant speculation on your part is starting to become tiresome. Inspectors had already reported to NASA the problems at NAA. Damning evidence had been given already by people who actually knew about the Apollo 1 fire, and it did not paint a pretty picture. You're acting like Thomas Baron was the only person who was criticizing NAA, Apollo, and NASA.
I think its safe to say that Baron's death pretty much discouraged anyone else from mouthing off about problems within the space program.
Hogwash. There has been a long line of people willing to smack-talk NASA and the manned space program, including me. And I'm a qualified engineer. You're begging the most important question in your investigation. You're simply assuming Baron really amounted to anything, or would have had he been allowed to continue.
It's not at all safe to say what you're saying. It's a key premise of the argument that Baron was murdered by someone, so it can't be established by begging the question as you've done here.
Baron was still investigating.
Because he had an eager audience and expected a bigger one, not because he was necessarily onto something. People tell stories because other people listen, not necessarily because the stories are true.
He must have had something though to fill 500 pages.
No, that does not follow. As has been mentioned, most of us are familiar with many large-scale works that are essentially hogwash. David Percy's Dark Moon is well over 500 pages of extremely dense print riddled with error, inaccuracy, and supposition. Quantity is not quality.
From Baron's short report it is clear he did not fully understand his job, the operation of a large aerospace organization, or his role within that operation. That lack of understanding may not be easy for outsiders and laymen to discern. But Baron's errors are not the kind that will be fixed by more meticulous documentation or simply more of the same. Baron's expectations are naive.
Baron just doesn't "get it." He is right to be passionate about safety, and such a passion might convince others he is conscientious and determined to do a good job. But he doesn't understand the role of an inspector in an engineering development program. He doesn't respect the judgment of his superiors or of the engineers of record. Engineering -- especially aerospace engineering -- is about balancing between naturally conflicting requirements and constraints. It is not possible to have an ideal solution. Baron doesn't seem to understand this. He has a very myopic view of what it takes to bring a major new design to fruition.
You keep insinuating that somehow this 500-page manuscript must be some masterpiece of engineering and procedural analysis. I see absolutely no evidence that Baron had either the knowledge or the experience to produce such a report credibly, and considerable evidence that he did not.
But what happened to that 500 page report?
I have been unable to determine that. I hope you have better luck than I did. But if it is your claim that the report was intentionally and explicitly suppressed in order to keep it from being made public, then I'd like to see some evidence for that alleged action, not just a supposed rationale for why such a thing might happen.