A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Just Can't Imagine

What it must be like for those poor families in West Virginia. Bad enough to have your loved ones trapped like that, hundreds of feet underground, knowing they're probably dead, but hoping against hope.... But then to be told they're alive, to have that sense of elation, only to have that hope crushed out mere hours later.

I just can't imagine. I know thousands of prayers and well-wishes, including mine, are flowing to those families right now, but still.... Unreal.

Just to get a feel for how surreal, and tragic, the situation was, you can just compare the Journal Sentinel's print version of the story this morning-- which went to press before it was realized that the story was precisely backward-- with the current online story.

Print version:

Bells at a church where relatives had been gathering rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation.

Relatives yelled, "They're alive!"

"Miracles happen in West Virginia, and today we got one," said Charlotte Weaver, wife of Jack Weaver, one of the men who had been trapped in the mine."I got scared a lot of times, but I couldn't give up. We have an 11-year-old son, and I couldn't go home and tell him Daddy wasn't coming home."
Oof. Now, she'll have to go home and do precisely that. How do you recover your emotional equilibrium after that awful roller coaster ride?

Here's the story from JSonline, now that the reality of twelve dead and only one alive has registered:
"No one can say anything about that would make anything any better," he said. "Just a horrible situation."

"There was no apology. There was no nothing. It was immediately out the door," said Nick Helms, son of miner Terry Helms.

Chaos broke out in the church and a fight started. About a dozen state troopers and a SWAT team were positioned along the road near the church because police were concerned about violence. Witnesses said one man had to be wrestled to the ground when he lunged for mining officials.

I just can't imagine.

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