January 4, 2006
The mists that oft cloak the mountains of West Virginia carried the tears of the bereaved this morning. Twelve more have joined the hundreds if not thousands of West Virginians that have been taken by the coal industry. Mine accidents, dam failures, disease and a host of other things have taken their toll and while others have grown fat from it, the pittance given back to the state seems hardly worth it at times.
My condolences to the friends and families of the fallen. I also offer my best wishes and hopes for a speedy reccovery to Randal McCloy. His life is the one shining miracle hanging from a chain of sadness.
If you couldn't guess, I'm not a big fan of the coal companies. While they've provided a lot of jobs for WV, they've done as much bad if not moreso for the state. I've read too much, heard too many family stories, and seen too much with my own eyes. Like all corporations, they'll pretty much do anything to pad their bottom line and if something goes horribly wrong, they'll scramble to find a way to weasle out of it...or at the very least minimize their financial/moral responsibility.
The history of West Virginia has some good examples of what I mean: The Buffalo Creek Disaster, The Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike, The Fairmont Coal Co. explosion of 1907, The murder of Sid Hatfield (fictionalized in the movie Matewan.
Then you have things like Black Lung and the damage to the environment -- that can be found with little trouble. Not to mention the strains put on the state's infrastructure from thousands of coal trucks running the roads on a daily basis.
As for corruption, I won't go there. It's just too bloody obvious.
In all, it's a pretty dirty business. I count my lucky stars that I avoided it. My maternal grandfather, uncles and cousins worked the mines. Luckily, the only one that suffered from it was my Uncle Bill, who passed away from Black Lung.
Well, I need a little bit of lightheartedness to brighten up this entry. I caught sight of it early when I was messing around at my desk and happen to catch Th at his folks’ computer. This little bugger is 4 ˝ years old, is language delayed, but already an avid gamer. I see the young padawan is following the master.