Texas got close to the brink this week, as bad weather, inadequate preparation and weak leadership left millions without electricity and water, endangered in a prosperous state that ought to know better.
The toll has been awful. At one point, more than 4 million households were without power, and as many as 13 million people were in places Thursday afternoon where tap water, if it was even available, wasn’t safe until it was boiled for two minutes. Unlike a summer peak in energy demand, electrical generators were competing for natural gas with regular folks, many of whom use gas to heat their homes. And the public health effect — the number of people hurt, sickened or killed by the storm, hasn’t been measured.