from the trust-no-one dept.
BBC reports the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the Alps intentionally locked the pilot out of the cabin and initiated the flight's descent into the ground:
The co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, named as Andreas Lubitz, appeared to want to "destroy the plane", officials said.
Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, citing information from the "black box" voice recorder, said the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit.
He intentionally started a descent while the pilot was locked out.
Mr Robin said there was "absolute silence in the cockpit" as the pilot fought to re-enter it.
Air traffic controllers made repeated attempts to contact the aircraft, but to no avail, he said.
The story seems SN-worthy because it is an object lesson in the consequences for our lives when we put complex machines and systems into the hands of others. In this case it was a trained pilot who killed a plane full of people who were powerless to stop him. Another example could be engineers who sabotage a dam and wipe out entire communities downstream. We mostly don't think about stuff like this because there is an invisible web of trust, sometimes called a "social contract," that leads people to get on a plane, or go to work, or take their kids to school without giving it a second thought. But when that social contract unravels, all bets are off...