The Cassandras of the world have it hard.
They're often paying attention and pinpointing future issues the rest of us either don't see, or don't want to see. And just as Cassandra was punished for her foresight, the whistleblowers and predictors of our time are often met with derision and disbelief.
Oftentimes, these people are only vindicated when it's 'too late,' and the fates they foresaw have already come to fruition.
Harry Marcopolos notified the SEC 3 times that whatever Bernie Madoff was doing wasn’t legit and should be investigated, and all 3 times he was ignored. He talks about it in his book No One Would Listen.
Check it out if you want to see a real facepalm example of government incompetence.
Rick Rescorla, Director of Corporate Security for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, published a report in 1990 detailing the vulnerability of the World Trade Center parking garage.
He and a colleague found they were able to freely walk into the garage, which contained many structural support columns, unchallenged by any security.
Additionally, no ID checks or screening was done on any of the entering delivery vehicles. Three years later a truck bomb was driven into the garage and detonated in an attempt to damage the building's structure.
Later he and his same college would correctly predict the next attack on the building would come from the air. The evacuation plan and drills he put in place are credited with saving over 2,600 lives on September 11th.
Roger Boisjoly Engineer involved with the Space Shuttle program who warned his superiors for months prior to the Challenger disaster that launching in cold weather could cause the O-rings to fail.
Care to guess what caused the Challenger disaster?
He wrote a memo after the nonfatal American Airlines flight 96 advising that the doors had design flaws which would cause them to show as properly latched even when they weren't.
If nothing were done, he said it would lead to catastrophic failure that would likely result in the loss of the plane. However, the fixes would be expensive and no one agreed who would eat the cost, so proper upgrades were put off.
Instead, they tried implementing cheaper band-aid solutions that would ultimately prove ineffective.
Ignaz Semmelweis was often described as the father of hand washing. In the 1800s he discovered that
infantmaternal mortality could be drastically reduced by doctors washing their hands between patients.
He was largely ignored and his book got absolutely slated. This is supposed to have contributed to him having a mental breakdown and he died in a psychiatric hospital.
Colleen Rowley warned her FBI superiors on June 01 that names on their Jihadi watch list were taking flying lessons but not interested in learning how to land. Her report didn't get read until October.
12 TRW Engineers resigned their positions the morning of the Challenger incident in protest against risking the flight. NASA launched anyway. Should have listened.
French general Ferdinand Foch reportedly called the Treaty of Versailles a “twenty-year armistice”, ie not conducive to lasting peace. WWII broke out approximately twenty years later.
HG Wells said he wanted his epitaph to be 'I told you so. You damned fools!'
In The Land Ironclads (1903) he had written about a stalemated war fought by trench warfare that was broken by the invention of tanks, predicting what would happen in WW1.
In The War in the Air (1907) he predicted how airplanes would be used in war, including aerial bombardment of cities, and saw his predictions come true in WW2.
Bismarck warned the ruling German monarch of his time that Germany's status in Europe and the relative peace of the continent would last for only a short time.
After his forced resignation, Bismarck said: 'Jena came twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great; the crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like this.' Twenty years later, Germany loses WWI and almost collapses.
Pearl Jam warned us about Ticketmaster years ago. Nobody listened, now we're stuck with them...and only them.
They were building a big baseball stadium in Wisconsin and it was a considerably windy day. The crane operator was tasked with lifting a large structure but refused stating dangerous gusts.
The site foreman dismissed the crane operator and called in one who would do the job with no pushback. Well the crane tipped over with a load and workers were killed.
Foreman and second operator were arrested, and iirc the first operator won a wrongful termination lawsuit.
He worked in the FBI as an anti-terrorist officer. After the car-bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, he remained convinced that Al Qaeda would try to finish the job.
The FBI convinced itself that it was over, and O'Neill, who kept at the investigation, was passed over for promotions to the point he wound up quitting the FBI. They thought he was too obsessed with it.
He took a job managing security at the WTC and lost his life on September 11. Great doc about him and the security failures he wanted to prevent here: Frontline: The Man Who Knew.
In 2005, Courtney Love was asked what advice she'd give young, up and coming actresses. She said 'If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party at his Four Seasons hotel room, don't go.'
And for whatever reason, you didn't see her in many movies after that.
The guy who predicted the leevies would collapse in a strong hurricane. Category two or three. Not five as they predicted.
He knew the tide surges would destroy New Orleans and predicted it down to one percent deaths, damage, destruction, and water damage.
No one believed him, and he had computer simulations and print-outs he tried to show Congress and tried to tell them to prepare for the worst including tents for shelter.
He was laughed at and later fired. Two years before Katrina.