Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TOPIC: The Saga of Sago...
For some reason, the story of the 13 coal miners in Upshur County, West Virginia has been extremely compelling to me. Knowing I had to go the work early the next day, I sat up most of the night (Tuesday) watching FoxNews' and MSNBC's coverage of the story.
Other than the obvious conclusions regarding the tragic loss of life, I have a few other observations to make regarding the story AND the media's coverage of the saga. First, as callus as it may seem, coal mining is an inherently dangerous profession -- and every man in that mine knew that fact every day he went to work. Does that excuse any problems that the mine owners could have mitigated? Of course not. However, *if* the mine's supervisors were diligent regarding safety (and we do not know that answer for sure), then the loss of these twelve lives was part of the course of workplace accidents. In other words, the accident may have happened just because it happened, and not because someone is at fault.
Second, the media was severely WRONG for spreading incorrect information. a) They continually harped on the 208 violations at the Sago Mine. After further analyzing the details, we find that some of the "violations" mean little more than a parking citation (while others are more serious). b) There was no need for the mindless media speculation, on every aspect of the situation. c) The media were very much at fault regarding discovery of the miners overnight Tuesday. If the reporters on the ground had confirmed what they heard before announcing it on-air, the families would not have been tortured by the rollercoaster of emotions -- believing their loved ones were alive only to find out they were dead.
Third, the lawyers and environmentalists have already descended upon Tallmansville and Buckhannon, WV. In the coming months, accusations will fly. Hateful speech will ensue and the outcome will likely be that some unscrupulous attorneys make a bundle of ill-gotten money; the community's standard of living will decrease as the mine closes; and the community will continue to hurt because revenge is never sweet once swallowed.
Fourth, I pray for the families of the miners who lost their lives; for the Sago Mine's operators, supervisors & owners and for the hundreds of people who have been affected by the events of January, 2006 in the hills of West Virginia. May we all learn to take life day-by-day; loving, sharing and caring for each other. May we not turn to litigation and hate, but cling to the God of our Fathers -- in whom we can find hope in times of what seems like senseless loss of life.
Lastly, I realize it is little consolation when you're mourning... but, we all need to remember that this life is not our eternal life. It is but a step along the path. We are eternal souls, forever living -- so death here on earth is simply the taking of another step in eternity.

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