1.04.2006

Mine, all mine

I was sitting at work earlier this morning when J.T., an editor on the desk in New York, sent me an instant message telling me that 13 men trapped a coal mine in Upshur County, W.Va., were alive, two days after an explosion buried them underground.

I messaged him back, telling him I am not religious but to say Amen and that miracles do exist.

Apparently, they do not. Within three hours -- just as word spread before that the miners were alive -- they were, in fact, found dead. All but one named Randal McCloy Jr., a man with the stamp of Appalachia on his 27-year-old face. Married. Father of two young children. Hanging on.

The mix-up ... make that a fuck-up of monumental proportions, there is no other way to put it ... is horrific in its scope. Fault is being blamed on a "miscommunication." The families say the mining company told them they were alive. The mining company said nothing was official.

He said. She said.

I cannot imagine the grief and horror the families are going through. It's almost like seeing the bridge abutment that ends your life, except you keep clinging to it and cannot die.

And in an even more horrific twist -- thanks to CNN -- they just showed a copy of USA Today with the headline "12 miners found alive," apparently attributing it all to West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin's office.

Oops. Happy 2006.

CNN just showed a clip of a woman -- sweatshirt, denim jacket, older, perhaps in her 50s -- imploring out loud to have someone explain what happened. How do you explain this? How can anyone begin to explain this complete about face.

You cannot. All you can do is send your thoughts, and yes, I suppose your prayers, to the dead miners and their families.

1 comment:

kansas brat said...

"Oops" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Now, if the media intentionally starts asking the family "doesn't that make you angry you were told everyone was alive?"... then the media is perpetuating the drama. Not to say they do that intentionally. But they do.

We are coming from a year, make that two years of natural disasters. And I'm not describing the way FEMA handled New Orleans.

But if there was anything a person could take from both experiences, it is this... trust only what you can see and touch. Do not believe what you are told, or read.

The families should have relied upon a tangible truth...until you show me a body, or I hear a voice, they aren't here.

And in this world of litigation-happy careers, I won't be surprised to see this turn into a colossal circus.