It was intellectually impossible for the Westerner to adopt a sense of the sacredness of life, because the evidence of his senses and his reason proved there was no such thing. On the Pleistocene Plains, nothing, neither man nor beast, had any inherent right to life.
—T.R. Fehrenback, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. 1968
In 1947, a French ship containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer blew up in the Texas City port, touching off a series of explosions and massive fires that destroyed much of the town. The blasts were felt as far away as Galveston, and killed 581 people. More than 5,000 were injured in what is still regarded as the largest industrial disaster in U.S. history.