Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday's Words for June 9, 2010

I was a young teenager in 1968, the year that both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I recall very well the feeling of hopelessness that followed the spring of that year. It wasn’t just me, it was all of us. We would say things like, “I’m never going to get married and have kids. The world is going to end soon. It has to.” It was more than typical teenage angst; there was a sense of depression that seemed pervasive.

Eventually, and I cannot recall when it happened, we began to have hope again. We began to live and love and plan for the future. Maybe it was all just my age group, that “nothing is ever going to be good again” feeling; maybe it’s a common reaction when unbelievable tragedy strikes.

I feel a sense of that now, watching the news coverage of the ever-spreading oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Generations of sea life have been lost. Water is being contaminated at an incredible rate of speed. This on top of the earthquakes and volcanoes of the last few months, and you really have to wonder, don’t you?

While the other disasters of this year could be considered part of the nature of our planet, the oil spill is something else again.

By the way, why are we calling it a “spill”? A couple of nights ago I had a milk spill at the kitchen table. Took care of it with a couple of pieces of paper towel. Oil spill? How about deluge? How about disaster? How about mass murder, for isn’t there a ‘dead zone’ in the gulf now? And, hello, does anyone else realize that the major oceans of the world all sort of connect?

How could this happen? I would have to say (in my opinion) greed, coupled with lack of regulation. Oh, wait a minute. That sounds familiar. Didn’t we say the same thing about the economic disaster of last September?

If one thing has been made perfectly clear to us all in the last few weeks, it’s that the oil companies really have absolutely no idea how to fix this kind of screw-up. They’ve obviously made no contingency plans for what to do in case of an emergency, such as the one they’re dealing with now.

How can you undertake such an enterprise without giving any thought, consideration or care to “what if”?

Aside from the ecological disaster of Biblical proportions, there was human tragedy here. Eleven men lost their lives in this explosion, but they’ve not made the news very much. I had to search the web for information on them, but I found it. Here is the impact of this explosion, in human terms:

Karl Kleppinger, 38, from Mississippi, who leaves behind a wife and teen son; Adam Weise, 24, from Texas, mourned by his mother; Aaron Burkeen, 37, from Mississippi, who leaves behind a wife and two teen children; Donald Clark, 49 from Louisiana, who was scheduled to leave the rig the day after the explosion; Roy Kemp, 27, from Louisiana, who leave a wife and two daughters, one three years old, the other three months; Jason Anderson, of Texas, father of two; Stephen Curtis, 39, from Louisiana, father of two; Gordon Jones, 28, of Louisiana, who leaves behind a son, and a pregnant wife; Blair Manuel, 56, of Louisiana, father of 3 and engaged to be married; Dewey Revette, 48, from Mississippi, also a father; Shane Roshto, 22, who leaves behind a wife.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these men. And they’re with all whose lives are being forever changed by this latest example of corporate greed run amok.


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