Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ten Out and Rising

As the Chilean miners are reborn into sky and wind and sun, there will be much talk of miracles and God and Devils.  But in the midst of the celebration, I hope one thing will not be overlooked: The professional experience and knowledge of men who know the earth and rock like they knitted it.  Their long experience with the hard reality of their environment initially kept them alive and later, when the first fear and horror began to give way to hope as rescue operations became a possibility, that professional competence and knowledge gave them back a good deal of control over their small world and made them active participants in their own rescue.

I suspect that active control, and the competence of their foreman and other members of that amazing band of men was the real mysterious miracle at work here.

Once they're finally all safe, then the real horror will set in: The Media.  Fame. Money. The unstabilizing trauma of world attention that can unhinge the most firmly moored. And there will be lawsuits and investigations and a few changes in mining law may or may not be made.  Life will go on, as it always does.  Some of the men will adjust to their new reality.  Others won't.  Stories will be reinvented and a legend will be born.

But for right now, ten are free.  And that's wonderful news.


TCG said...

Yes, the experience of the men and the amazing guidance of the foreman were critical to the successful evacuation.

In addition, I saw (literally) cutting edge technology provided by a drilling company in Pennsylvania that designed a special drill bit that saved several weeks in the process.

I also noted that Chile's President was a strong force from the outset, insisting that some men were alive and marshalling all of the necessary resources for the effort. He also privided constant moral support and leadership.

Lastly, but of prime importance, was the miners' religion, which sustained them throughout. In addition to food and water being sent down, so were the bibles that the men requested.

This is how the USA used to respond to major emergencies.

As for Ann's predictions for the future, I hope she is wrong but expect that she is not.

Churadogs said...

It was an amazing, amazing thing and I'm sure the stories that will now unfold will be fascinating. 33 down; 33 out. Extraordinary.

FOGSWAMP said...

Perhaps worldwide attention to the almost non-existent mining safety enforcement in Chilean mines will awaken politicians to the issue and also strengthen the weak unions that are necessary to enforce safety laws when government fails.

It was so bad that, as one article put it, "Chilean miners liken themselves to kamikazes".

Over the past 20 years or so the political elitists in Chile were so busy democratizing the country they simply ignored the countries largest bread-earning workforce that were dying to work.

They had 10 inspectors for the entire vast mining industry and even when violations were found they were rarely enforced. Like the ladder that the trapped miners could have used for up to 48 hours after the cave-in (before the next cave-in), only to find it only ran one-third the way up.

The greedy mine owners and government officials ignored the year old citation.

Makes you wonder whether the after the fact dog and pony show by President Pinera is sincere or just more politics. I guess only time will tell.