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Brass tags –

Just happened to check on the blog, The Pump Handle, this morning. There’s an editorial written by Tom Bethell – The Mountain Eagle, Whitesburg, KY posted there with permission. Yeow! My kind of writing! It’s entitled, ‘Mr Murray’s Misstatements’ – and contains this slap:

“Meanwhile, everyone anxious about the fate of the miners has had to endure a week of watching the mine’s owner, Robert Murray, demonstrating why he doesn’t deserve to be trusted with the facts, let alone the lives of thousands of people who depend on him for their livelihoods.”

Yesterday, I caught a couple of stories on NPR had a couple of stories on the Crandall mine in Utah, one in which identification tags were mentioned. Pretty damned sobering.

{Addendum: 12:40 pm} AND – nolo at Indict Dick Cheney has a picture up of their own brass tags from their ‘humble beginnings.’ Gives it clarity.

Only privately, and after you know them awhile, the coal miners will tell you they suspect the trapped men are dead. But publicly, they say their hope will be gone only when the “brass tags” are found. Every coal miner has one fastened onto their belts. It has the miner’s Social Security number and name, and is often the only thing left that’s recognizable.

The other story from NPR was regarding the memo from a consultant previously published in the SLC Tribune that discussed an earlier incident “so severe that the company had to abandon that part of the mine.

The missing crew’s engineer, Jameson Ward, had been “called away to fix a broken-down truck in another part of the mine.” He was fortunate; he got out.

About a quarter of mile from the men, the mountain heaved. The bounce and the force of the rushing air nearly pushed his pickup sideways, he said.

Jumping out of the truck, Ward looked behind him, but said the dust was so thick that his headlamp was worthless.

”It was like having your brights on in a fog,” he said.

And somehow, I ran across mention of an article in GQ magazine written by Jeanne Marie Laskas who simply wanted to know – why do we even have coal mines? Her photographer was James Nachtwey. She calls it the invisible economy. It’s quite lengthy – those with ADHD or just plain ADD can watch and listen at the slideshow; it’s only a couple of minutes long.

Then there’s always the mundane side of a crisis. The school where the families have been meeting for updates, etc., will have kids returning to school next Wednesday, the 22nd, and a new site will have to be located to accommodate the families awaiting news of the six trapped miners in the Crandall Canyon mine.


5 Responses

  1. it is, indeed, quite completely
    sobering — brass was chosen
    because it has a higher melting
    point than most metals — and
    thus, a better chance of identifying
    human remains with certainty, in
    the drift, in the event of a mine-fire. . .

    i am looking at my own, right now.

    in my college-years, in the mine,
    they bore numbers only — numbers
    that corresponded directly to one’s
    date of hire at the shaft-head. a low
    number thus meant an “old-timer” — mine is 4733.

    i have held onto it, these many years, as a
    keychain-dangle, and conversation starter — but
    even more, privately, as a reminder
    of my humbler beginnings. . .

    so — i’ll offer positive, life-filled, intentions to
    the Universe, this noon-time, for these missing miners.

    there, but for the grace of the Universe, go i. . .

    another great piece, leftist-moon!

    p e a c e

    — nolo

  2. it is, indeed, quite completely sobering — brass was chosen
    because it has a higher melting point than most metals — and
    thus, a better chance of identifying human remains with certainty, in
    the drift, in the event of a mine-fire. .

    Wow! I didn’t tie the density of the metal…. Wow! Well, now I’m even more freaked out. Jesus!

  3. hey LM —

    i just put a photo of my
    brass up on my blog, and
    pointed everyone to yours. . .

    p e a c e

    keep a good thought today. . .

  4. LM — feel free to use the
    photo i posted — it is intended
    to be free for one and all.

    if you resize it, it could be a
    badge for one of your future
    posts — don’t worry about
    crediting me. just pass it on,
    and pay it forward — as these
    miners’ families certainly have. . .

    p e a c e

  5. Thanks, nolo. I make every attempt to give credit where it’s due. However, I will use it. It’s a great identifier.

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