Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How does this happen in 2006 America??

By now, you've probably heard about the absolutely horrific foul-up regarding the fate of the miners trapped in the West Virginia coal mine. If you haven't, let me quickly rehash it.

Last night, late word was that a single miner had been found, dead, inside the mine, and that the search was continuing for the remaining 12 missing men.

This morning, I woke to find that the 12 remaining miners had been located, and, miraculously, they were all alive. It was unbelievably great to see that on the front page of the Dallas Morning News.

Now, we find out that 11 of the 12 are, in fact, dead. And the 12th is just barely hanging on.

Worse yet, the families were not told of the mistake for several hours. Even though officials knew within 20 minutes that initial reports of multiple survivors were incorrect.

This is the sort of news you expect to see in your history text book about 1855 America. You aren't all that surprised to see news like this come out of China or the far reaches of Siberia today. But this is West friggin' Virginia, 2006. How is a fuck-up (pardon my language) like this POSSIBLE?

Well, say bye-bye to International Coal Group, the owner of the mine. The judgment against them in the lawsuit to be brought by the families will be in the billions. And rightly so.

News like this shakes your faith (not that I had much to begin with) in corporate America. Maybe the frothing-at-the-mouth types have a point now and again.

UPDATE: Not so fast. I was quick to jump on the company, and it sure looks like there's lots of blame for them in this. However, the cable news channels may have jumped the gun, "reporting" rumor and overheard conversations as "corroborated news". This story ain't done, not by a long shot.

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