Type the word “manslaughter” into any news search engine and up will come a series of stories of ordinary Americans charged with killing others through criminal negligence or recklessness.
One such case that came up this month involved a Pennsylvania man who plead guilty to manslaughter. The man was accused of texting while driving and as a result killed a 12-year old girl walking on the side of the road. The driver obviously didn’t intend to kill the 12-year old girl. But due to his recklessness, he did. And he will now spend time in jail.
If manslaughter charges can be brought against ordinary American citizens, why not against powerful American corporations and their executives?
Two Boeing 737 Max 8 jets have crashed within five months leaving 346 dead. Early evidence of Boeing’s wrongdoing in the design of the 737 Max 8 and the company’s failure to train pilots to handle its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) warrants a criminal manslaughter prosecution of both the company and the responsible executives.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has admitted that “it’s apparent that in both flights, the MCAS activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.”
And Boeing kept pilots in the dark about potential failure modes that could result in a taxing mental and physical struggle in the cockpit with just seconds to execute correct decisions and maneuvers.
Pilots complained saying that it is “unconscionable” that Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines had pilots flying without adequate training or sufficient documentation about the MCAS system, that the flight manual “is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient.”
Denis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesperson for the pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, said that the MCAS “was designed in a hideous manner.”
“MCAS was a monster,” Tajer told the Seattle Times last week after a meeting with the Federal Aviation Administration. (FAA).
Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, told the Seattle Times that the airline and the pilots “were kept in the dark” about the MCAS.
“We do not like the fact that a new system was put on the aircraft and wasn’t disclosed to anyone or put in the manuals,” Weaks said.
“Boeing will, and should, continue to face scrutiny of the ill-designed MCAS and initial nondisclosure of the new flight control logic,” Weaks wrote last week.
Federal authorities are just in the beginning stages of their criminal investigations. If past corporate criminal investigations are any indication, internal email and memos from conscientious Boeing engineers and executives are sure to emerge further implicating the company and its executives […]