04/13/10 — Miner tragedy: Country mourns with families of 29 lost in mine accident in West Virginia

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Miner tragedy: Country mourns with families of 29 lost in mine accident in West Virginia

In one family, a brother and a son were lost, while others said goodbye to a child or a father.

There is no way to watch the heartbreak and the dashed hopes of the families of the miners lost in this past week's accident without a tear coming to your eye.

There were many words of faith and sorrow expressed Monday as several of the men were laid to rest -- lives lost much too soon.

But tears are not enough, not really.

There are still answers that need to be uncovered concerning the mining company -- Massey Energy Co. -- and its questionable safety record.

This should not be a witch hunt -- if this truly was an unfortunate accident and the rules were followed, those in the business can talk about continued safety programs and training and grieve for what was simply an unfortunate loss of life.

But if there is some wrongdoing, then Massey Energy needs to be held accountable.

Those who work in the mining business understand the risk -- and they are proud of the way of life they have chosen.

But we owe it to the families who were left behind, as well as to the memory of the men who were lost in an instant, to find out if there is anything that could have been done to have prevented this terrible loss.

And while we are at it, there is no reason not to look a little deeper to see if perhaps there are more ways to make mining safer.

This is not a chance to make political hay or to launch an environmental debate -- not now.

This is about 29 men who will not be coming home to their families -- and all those who will head back into coal mines all over the country.

That's enough for right now.

Published in Editorials on April 13, 2010 10:27 AM