January 4, 2006

The blame game

Imagine, your loved one literally scrapes out a living working one of the most dangerous jobs imaginable. Each day he faces death in a way that would make many of us break into a sweaty, cannot breathe, panic attack. He is a coal miner working underground. If you have never been in a deep cave, seen the impenetrable darkness that is the absence of light you should try it. Dark does not begin to describe the blackness of the bowels of the Earth. He works in a dusty, dirty noise-racked hole in the earth, fighting for air and light.

One day your worst fears come true. There is an explosion deep under ground. You fear the worst, hope for the miracle you know is unlikely. After two days your wildest prayers are answered, your husband, father, brother, son, daddy is alive. You lift your thanks to Heaven, the tears of joy are unmatched. He is alive! He beat the Earth, cheated that rat-bastard Death.

Then you find out it was a mistake, some jackass spouted off without the facts, the reporters rushed to get the story out first, the grapevine was wrong. Was it a cruel joke, incompetent fools, vain hopefulness? The heart wrenching episode of false hope, premature joy should be a cautionary tale for us all. Real people with real lives are affected by our words our actions. Check your facts, Sgt. Friday.

Whoever was responsible for the outrageous lie that the miners of West Virginia were safe, then dead, has a lot of explaining to do. I have never been a proponent of blame storming, finger pointing and he said/she said business reviews. Here is a case where such a negative exercise should be conducted. Such idiocy must never be repeated. Shame on someone. False hope must surely be the most painful of wounds to the heart.

If you are so inclined, say a prayer for the souls of the dead, and ask God to heal the salt-rubbed wounds of the loved ones left to grieve.

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