Aviation, by its very nature, is a dangerous activity. Many times, people will dismiss the likelihood of small plane accidents, saying that being involved in a car crash is much more likely. While this is true in the sense that relatively few people are involved in aviation accidents, this is mostly because so many people are on the roads at any given time.
The federal government shutdown has affected Americans in many walks of life. From preschoolers dependent on Head Start to working people trying to remove tax liens to retired people trying to meet with someone in the Social Security Administration, millions of people have felt the sting of reduced funding and staffing.
One of the most critical times for aircraft investigations is the immediate aftermath of a crash. Family members of the people on board are hungry for information, and while establishing a cause that soon after such a devastating event is often not possible, or even warranted, the last thing grieving family members want to hear is uncertainty on the part of investigators. When the accident is an international plane crash, the lack of complete information is even more maddening.
With the number of aircraft in use in the United States at any given time, it might seem like a minor miracle that there are not more serious aviation accidents. However, because of the overall safety of the domestic aviation system, accidents are fortunately relatively rare events. When they do occur, there is always the possibility of large amounts of damage and casualties -- particularly when the crash takes place in a crowded metropolitan area.