What if a Serious Accident Happens? (Rocket Motor)

Though people concerned about the future of amateur rocketry are understandably reluctant to think about it. somewhere, someday, there’s bound to be an accident in which someone is injured or killed, either by a rocket or while making one. In a society of 250 million people, all activities (including golf!) experience some level of injury and death. When such an accident occurs, the people in positions of responsibility should do their best to find out what happened, and keep it from happening again. Their efforts should be limited, however, to the specific problem that caused the accident, and should not include anything of a global nature that cripples the hobby or results in its demise.
Many years ago. here in Southern California, a 2-year-old boy was struck in the head and killed by a model airplane flown by his father. This did not result in a clamor to outlaw model airplanes. People are regularly injured and killed while riding skate boards, in-line skates, motorcycles, and jet skis, yet these activities continue to flourish as they should. Once in a rare-while a car careens out of control at a race track, and kills or injures a group of spectators, but we don’t ban auto racing. Similarly, private airplanes sometimes crash, killing everyone on-board and people on the ground as well, but we don’t outlaw private aviation.
In each case we recognize that these activities play an important role in our society. We value them because they are educational and recreational, and are therefore good for the mind and good for the soul. We make them as safe as is practical, and we let them continue. We could pander to the fears of our most timid citizens, and limit the activities of everyone accordingly. But we don’t, because to do so would create a world so limited in spirit and dimension that it wouldn’t be worth living in. At the turn of the millennium the average American is not well educated, has a short attention span, and little or no curiosity about the world around him. He wants to be well fed. stylishly clothed, and perpetually entertained, and it’s increasingly difficult to get him interested in anything related to science or engineering. This is not good for America’s future, and anyone who understands this must also realize that Americans need to have hobbies like amateur rocketry. If an accident happens tomorrow, if there are several serious accidents every year, the safety record of this excellent and valuable hobby will still be ten times as good as the record of the “acceptable” hobbies mentioned above.
In light of the long and aggressive campaign against amateur rocketry it is important to understand that small solid fuel rocket motors are easy to make. Some of the forces opposed to amateur rocketry see this as an economic issue. They think that if they could talk the government into making homemade rocket motors illegal, then anyone who wants to fly rockets would have to buy the motors. The market for commercially made motors would be secured, and both sales and profits would increase. You should also understand that, in today’s competitive business climate, organizations which claim to act in the public interest can be little more than public relations fronts for the industries they serve. That the words, safe and unsafe, can be little more than code words for what’s good for business and what isn’t. Finally realize that even a respected professional organization may have within its ranks a few members who inappropriately use its name, power, and prestige to promote their own selfish agenda. Their motives can range from childish concerns about “turf” to greed and economic self interest, and anyone who engages in this behavior should be exposed and discredited.
If and when a serious accident happens, the forces opposed to amateur rocketry will probably demand the hobby’s demise. The authorities will respond, and the future of amateur rocketry will be subject to the intelligence and good will of whoever has to deal with the problem. It is my hope that these people will not take action based on an isolated event, particularly if that event resulted from a failure to observe basic safety procedures. It is my hope that they realize the value of amateur rocketry, and consider its long and excellent safety record. It is also my hope that they ignore the clamor of the selfish interests, and avoid the foolish temptation to simply outlaw the hobby, or restrict it in a destructive or unreasonable way.
1 finished the preceding pages in the last months of the year 2000. but as I write these final words, it is Sunday. Sept. 16th. 2001.1 awakened five days ago to the news of the most monstrous terrorist attack in the history of the world. The subhuman filth that committed this heinous crime did not use rockets. They hijacked four large passenger jets, then crashed them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. These cheaply-made, production-line murderers are not great warriors. They are gullible, brooding, and infantile boys-in-the-bodies-of-men. And regardless of what they babble, they are not sacrificing their lives for Islam. They are selfishly dying to reach an imagined Paradise-for-the-simple-minded. filled, they foolishly believe, with “black-eyed virgins” who. in payment for their hideous deeds, will immediately marry them, then fawn over them and eternally satisfy their most private adolescent urges. Though they say that their motive is “martyrdom”, it’s actually an obnoxious and malignant blend of narcissism, stupidity, and testosterone run amok.
They are indoctrinated in this bizarre and pathetic fantasy by a self-absorbed cult of evil old men. whose massive and inappropriate sense of self-importance would never allow them to realize that their radical beliefs and the hatred they feel are born of their own personal failings and their own defective thinking. They rage instead against our freedom of thought, the modern world, and everything that America stands for.
These ranting, demonic lunatics long ago abandoned the idea of forcing us to think like they do. They want to kill us all. If they can’t destroy us with bombs, chemicals, or biological weapons, they will try to frighten us into limiting our freedoms, our enthusiasm, our creativity, our intelligence, our success, and thereby our influence on the cultures around us. Our superior technology will of course help us defeat them, so the discouragement of public interest in science and technology is high on their agenda. On a cultural level, hobbies like amateur rocketry accomplish the exact opposite of what these evil, sworn, and dedicated enemies want. So the restriction or elimination of amateur rocketry or the materials needed to pursue the hobby would. I am sure, fit nicely into their plans.

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