Thursday, January 05, 2006

West Virginia mine

I keep thinking about the disaster in the West Virginia mine yesterday. I'm sure you heard the story; there was an explosion 15,000 feet below and 12 miners were trapped. First news came out that they were all alive. Three hours later they retracted the statement; only one survived.

What strikes me most is the reaction of the families. It's not so much that their loved ones were dead. It was that they were told the opposite. Hope is a fragile thing, mostly because it has to manufactured. It takes a lot of work to believe the best will happen. It's easier to be prepared for things to go wrong since, well, they usually do. You have to 'keep hope alive' but you get a 'sneaking suspicion' that things will fall apart. But when someone tells you to have faith, they're asking you to leave yourself vulnerable if things don't work out. That's what happened here. The families were resolved to mourn their husbands and fathers but management told them to believe. So when the miners didn't survive, the hurt went twice as deep.

Personally, I'm waiting for the outrage. This mine had 50 violations against it. The miners knew it was unsafe. Some were taking night classes to switch careers just to get out of there. And yet, management didn't want to lose their profit margins. The saddest thing is these days, it's hard to tell if any of them will pay for their crimes.


Brian Kunath said...

Yeah, it's sad. Apparently, rescue workers on the scene delivered the message that only one survived and the HQ management somehow heard that everyone had survived.

How such a crucial message gets so mistranslated, I have no idea. And shouldn't they have waited for definitive proof before releasing news to the family?

Dave said...

Yeah, there should have been a clear authority on how, when and where information was released. The people in charge of this operation were careless idiots. They can make all the excuses they want but they fucked it up for families who may never trust anyone ever again, and I don't blame them. They can fire people and shut the mine down, but it will never erase what happend to those people when they recieved the news that they lost their family. No trial will ever take that hurt away.