Sunday, July 25, 2010

Death at the Hands of the Indifferent

If Don Blankenship had any sense of shame, he'd crawl into a mine and hide.

As CEO of Massey Energy, he has presided over a coal company that had thousands of violations in recent years, leading up to the April explosion that killed 29 of his miners. The company now faces a federal criminal investigation into what the government has called negligent and reckless practices.


Clearly Don Blankenship and his ilk just don't get it. Create a climate that places profits ahead of human life is a theme repeated all too frequently. But he can't understand why some people resent being forced to work in dangerous place. Or purchase defective and dangerous products. Or eat contaminated food.

Clearly the regulatory model has broken down - trying to repair the damage and protect consumers and workers will not be easy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending $3 million per week do defeat policies that are good for the majority of people.

In the mean time, corporations are relatively free to continue with indirect violence such as the case with Massey Energy. Will this change if the laws are revised, actual enforcement occurs, and organizations and individuals are held both criminally and civilly liable? I for one would love to see Don Blankenship in handcuffs, charged with manslaughter.

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