January 4, 2006

No Happy Endings

I went to bed thinking I would write a post with a different title this morning. After being told that 12 of 13 the miners trapped in a West Virginia coalmine were found alive, the families now know that only one man got out alive. The thing about instant communication is that if you watch closely enough, you can get every emotional swing that the people on the scene do.

Up in the California foothills where I grew up we all get told about the Argonaut Mine Disaster. It's a part of local lore. In 1922 47 men were trapped after an explosion. (hard-rock gold mine, not coal) It took 22 days for rescuers to reach them. All signs indicated that the men lasted a few days, if not hours. They had time to write messages to their families before they died. But the event got worldwide media coverage and put 47 families under an agonizing spotlight. So really, we haven't come that far, have we?

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