This morning my husband and I were having a conversation about the mining accident in West Virginia. Having worked in construction for the majority of his adult life, he knows what hard manual labor is like. And through the years he has experienced his share of accidents. He was hit in the face with a mortar mixer the week I met him in 1988. Later he had the end of his finger cut off. And when I was pregnant with Kaitlyn in 1993, I got a call in the middle of the night saying he had been electrocuted - putting him in cardiac intensive care for three days. (That's actually a funny story now - I was so shocked and half-asleep that I hung up the phone without finding out which hospital he was in!)
One thing we discussed is this human propensity for blame placing. We all tend to want to put the blame somewhere when we are hurting. I don't know why that is, but I have experienced this myself on a smaller scale. For instance, if I stub my toe on something, I want to yell at the person standing nearest to me. I see my children do exactly the same. My daughter got her finger slammed in the van door, and because I was talking to her at the time, she blamed me - even though what I was saying was "Get your fingers out of the door!" With this in mind, imagine the blame placing, hurting and lashing out families will do when their loved ones are lost in such a tragic accident. The media just fuels the fire, stoking the flames with more kindling, and in spite of their claims to sympathy for the grieving families, they are actually the ones continuiously picking the scabs off of wounds that will be trying to heal.
Now, let me be clear that I don't know anything about how this accident happened. I did see the CEO/President of International Coal begin his press conference choking back tears and saying, "Welcome to the worst day of my life." He seemed very sincere to me, but admittedly I don't know what happened.
I know well that sometimes employers are negligent. In two of the accidents I mentioned above, the mortar mixer and the machine Travis was working on when his finger was cut off, the employers involved removed safety devices that would have prevented his injuries. Travis was annoyed by a comment he heard from someone on the news that they couldn't understand how mining accidents still happened today. All blue collar work has risks involved. Perhaps this is a good reminder that daily we benefit from things that people risk their safety so that we can have. Don't take it for granted.