The disturbing news of the loss of twelve miners in West Virginia is dark news indeed. The thought of these men all dying in a huddled asphyxiation mass is horrendous, the stuff of nightmares. And now twelve families and multiple friends and colleagues face the Sisyphean challenge of accepting, digesting, and moving on in the face of this new human reality.
Taking into consideration that these men died underground for the sake of our growing need for electricity to light our above-ground lives is something not to be taken lightly. Do white-collar workers die by asphyxiation or from bone-crushing injuries? No, it is the working-class men and women who dig our coal, work the oil rigs, drive the trucks, fix the engines, repair the roads, and keep the water running and sewage flowing. Just because these men literally worked under the earth does not mean that they are beneath us. Quite the contrary, these men toiled many a dark day to feed their families and send their children to school, working for the same dreams that we all share---our children's futures, doing worthwhile work, putting food on the table, making dreams a reality. While people like Jack Abramoff defraud Native Americans for their own personal greed and aggrandizement, men like the twelve who died do honest work for honest pay, their families sadly paying a severe wage for their labors and for the failures of the company to provide for their safety on the job. And the sole survivor must live with the memory of his friends' and colleagues' deaths at his side.
We all must some day be loosed from this mortal coil. May the suffering of the families and friends of these twelve men be assuaged in time with memories of love and companionship, and knowledge of the eternal bonds that exist beyond the flesh.
May all beings be free from suffering.