Thursday, August 16, 2007
During the past few weeks, I've been almost completely focused on finishing the fourth book in the candy shop series, so I haven't really lifted my head for much, except to moan about yet another day where the temperature soars over 100 degrees. One thing that has caught my attention, though, is the story of the trapped coal miners who are buried in the Crandall Canyon mine about 150 miles from my house. Six men have been missing since a mine cave-in for the past eleven days, and rescue efforts have met with one setback after another since the beginning. Tonight, they met with the biggest setback yet. Apparently, the mine experienced what's called a "bump" -- an explosion inside the mine where pressure relieves itself. Nine rescue workers were injured. One of those nine has now been reported dead. News crews cut into regular programming at about 7:30 tonight as ambulances and medical helicopters began arriving. As I write this, injured rescue workers are still being transported to hospitals in the area. My heart aches for the families and friends of the miners, for the whole close-knit community that has been affected by this mining disaster, and I watch the news, and I'm torn between natural human curiosity and the revulsion I feel when I listen to the news people and watch the footage on the TV. I was with my kids, standing on the lawn of my ex-husband's house while the paramedics tried to save his life. I know what an intensely private thing these kinds of things can be, and I am furious at the cameramen who are aiming their cameras through the windows of the ambulances so they can get the most exciting shot possible. I listen to news reporters speculating wildly about things they don't know, creating issues out of things that might mean absolutely nothing, and I want to knock some sense into them. Yeah, I know, the public's right to know and all that. But the public doesn't need to watch someone's loved one being given CPR as the ambulance flashes past. Isn't it enough to be told? Can't we allow those injured people some privacy? A hint of dignity? A little respect? And what does wild speculation have to do with the public's right to know? Do we really have to waste fifteen minutes or more of airtime wondering if that was a Colorado license plate and making up stories about what it might mean if it was? So, okay, it's not really about the public's right to know. I get that. I also get that it's about ratings, and scooping the other guy, and getting the biggest chunk of the advertising dollar. And I'm sure I'm just being a prude about it all. After all, I've now just learned that the Mayor of Price, Utah, was eating macaroni and cheese when tonight's disaster occurred, and that's something, I think we all needed to know.