One year ago, an explosion shook the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig, killing 11 workers and releasing 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
As far as I'm concerned, nothing better was written about the tragedy than Tom Junod's piece in Esquire:
"We've had to turn the TV off," says Tracy Kleppinger, whose husband, Karl, was one of the eleven. "They show it all the time. They call it the fire that started the oil spill. But that's not what it is to me and my son and to the other wives and families. To us, it's the fire that killed our husbands. And that rig is not just a rig. That ocean is not just an ocean. It's the graveyard where Karl is buried."
It is their story. They are at the heart of it, just as all but one of the eleven men who died on the rig were at the heart of the rig, members of a drilling team charged with drilling a two-and-a-half-mile hole into the bottom of the ocean. And yet their story is not the story. The story that begins with the men does not end with them, because the story is like the spill itself: Nobody knows how far it will go and nobody knows its final political, financial, ecological, or spiritual cost.