Villainizing BP is easy. But the truth is, we Americans are all---with virtually zero exceptions---the villains responsible for this.

The oil companies provide what we want. This we know, because we pay them for it.



Oil permeates the American economy so thoroughly that it's hard to conceive how a person could live here and not contribute to the consumption of oil, directly or indirectly. Hell, I'd wager that an overwhelming majority of U.S. households have actually put their money right in BP's pockets at a gas station.

History has shown over and over that oil production has inherent risk---the system is literally built to spill. But if we choose to enjoy the high standard of living made possible by oil, then we are also signing up to accept the  risk that comes with it.

The Gulf oil spill is sickening beyond belief. But in its aftermath, how many of us will make the kind of substantial lifestyle changes that would significantly reduce our use of oil? And yes, I'm pointing the finger at myself too.

*Image by Jessica Barnes