Our Louisiana Gumbo Tour continues… While we’ve been down here, the Deep Water Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf 50 miles south of New Orleans. As of today, the oil spill was at 42,000 gallons a day and had already spread out over 1,800 square miles. And indications are it could get much worse… Earlier today, I talked with Jim Mathus back in Cleveland. He recently retired from the Army Corps of Engineers as a marine engineer and he also worked for Shell on some of their oil rigs, also in the Gulf of Mexico. Mathus drew a corollary between these rigs and, say, one’s car engine. He said these oil rigs have a lot of working parts, just like a car engine. If a piston in a car engine breaks, for instance, oil can spew out on a manifold, igniting a fire. The dynamics can be somewhat simimilar (on a rudimentary level) to these oil rigs, Mathus said. The bottom line with this is that, in a sense, it seems that we’re playing Russian Roullette with things that can be fraught with human error. The gun being held to: the environment’s head. Note: According to a recent Newsweek article, environmentalists warn that the thousands of gallons of mud that deep water drilling unearths contain toxic metals — mercury, lead and cadmium — that may end up in the seafood supply. What’s more, hurricanes Rita and Katrina led to 125 spills from platforms and pipelines on the Outer Continental Shelf, releasing nearly 685,000 gallons of petroleum products into the ocean, also according to the Newsweek article. Note 2: At Sunday Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, we learned one of the parishioners here had been killed in the Deep Water Horizon explosion. He was the father of two children. Like with the coal miners, are these oil rig workers becoming part of the “inevitable collateral damage” of our energy gluttony in this country?