It is a relief to see BP finally agreeing to plead guilty to its crimes [front page, Nov. 16], but we mustn’t forget the millions of people who should also be held accountable. In the United States, the consumer receives what the consumer desires, and BP and other major drilling companies will continue their search for oil as long as the public demands the product.

The charges against BP are a step in the right direction in terms of industry regulation and prevention of oil spills. However, true progress must come from the bottom up. Demand controls production in a market-based economy; therefore, we as oil consumers must also take responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and do our part to limit our demand for oil.

Allison King, Washington