Oyster points us to this NOLA.com article on residual risk.
Bottom line? We're doing it wrong:
BP fell into the same damn trap*, and they were not engineering; they were 'imagineering,'
I highlight that quote because it pretty much explains everything going on in the United States of America. It's like we "won" the Cold War, went to Disneyland, and liked the place so much we decided to start making policy and business plans based on what we saw there.
From "we will be welcomed as liberators" to "mission accomplished" to "you can afford this flexible rate mortgage" to "Dow 30,000" - we have become a nation of people who believe only the things we want to hear and only those things we agree with. Any sort of warning that things can go wrong gets ignored as negligible risks affecting the bottom line. We put our hands over our ears and yell "LA-LA-LA" until the adults go away. People giving the warnings are viewed as unhinged, nagging spoilsports attempting to ruin everyone's good, old fashioned American fun.
Mistakes are inconceivable.
You know those cats who said that "positive thinking" was destroying civilization? They were right.
Then when something does go wrong, and goes wrong catastrophically**, we ignore the reasons for the failure. We obtusely and proudly refuse to learn anything from it because what happened is obviously someone else's fault, even if the blame game requires incredible logical acrobatics. That, or catastrophic failures are dismissed out of hand because, shit happens, after all.
Then those pesky, unhinged, nagging spoilsports that tried to warn us before start up again. They attempt to refute logical acrobatics that sheild us from blame, accountability, and self-examination. But you know how we react to that. No one likes hearing "I told you so's."
* Context: As the engineers who built New Orleans levee sytem.
** Is there any other way? If we can attempt to summarily dismiss two wars and the destruction of an American coastline (twice), are there any mundane problems that even bear mentioning? Oh, yeah, ACORN.