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"Mision Cumplida, Chile"

Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010, at 9:00 PM


Surely the most over-used word in the English language.

"Oh, honey, your meatloaf is awesome!"

"Did you see the awesome convertible that just went by?"

"We had an awesome time on our vacation."

Barely a day goes by that I don't see "awesome" posted on a Facebook page or hear it somewhere, casually tossed out for the most minor accomplishments or events.

Meatloaf is tasty, a car looks great, and vacations are wonderful.

But awesome?" Not even close.

To properly make use of the word "awesome," we have to find something truly extraordinary.

In early August, a mine collapse in Chile trapped 33 men 2,300 feet below the earth's surface.

For 17 days, no one even knew if they were dead or alive.

During that 17 days, the men somehow managed to survive by rationing 48 hours' worth of food and drink. Unbelievably, all of them were still alive when they were eventually located.

For another 53 days, men and women from all corners of the globe dropped whatever they were doing to help solve the problem of how to safely bring the miners out of what might have been their tomb.

Most extraordinary of all, on the last day - Day 70 - when the miners had been down in the San Jose Mine for 10 weeks, rescuers rode a slender metal tube down into the mine, willingly putting their own lives at risk, and shepherded every single miner back into the arms of their families as a rapt audience of an estimated one billion viewers all over the world watched nearly every single moment of it on television.

Now THAT is awesome.

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OKR - Agreed!

-- Posted by koeller77 on Wed, Oct 27, 2010, at 10:26 AM

K7 you are on point drawing the distinction between the types of disasters.

It is likely that you are aware of Massey's horrible record regarding mine safety. Don't worry, I am not going in to that litany here.

It is also likely that you are aware of the fox guarding the hen house mind set of the Bush administration, and the Obama administration's oft times laggardly reform response.

As is usual with me there was a socio-political thrust to my comment. I wasn't expecting a keen minded reader to voice such distinction.

My broader point, in my opinion, holds.

It would be awesome if we could get our own act together regarding mine safety, and awesome if we could cast aside hubris long enough to visit Chile to see what they are doing regarding general mine safety. If they are so efficient in one area, it seems likely that they may be as efficient in a related area.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Oct 27, 2010, at 10:01 AM

OKR, I absolutely agree that it was awesome that Chile put every resource it had into finding people & equipment that could help these miners.

But, first and foremost, this accident was a cave-in, due to the fact that the Chilean mine had been WAAAY overmined for over 100 years, causing a cavin-in. Had they followed some of the U.S.'s procedures & policies, this accident would never have happened. In contrast, the most publicized recent disasters in the U.S.(Sago 2006 & Massey 2010) and Mexico (2006), involved methane gas explosions, meaning that chances of survival is much, much, much more minimal to begin with, and there likely wasn't anyone alive to rescue from very early on.

Also, part of what enabled these miners to stay alive was that they were in a hot, humid environment - our miners tend to be trapped in cold, wet environments where there is a high risk of hypothermia on top of everything else.

China, well...that's a whole 'nother story.

-- Posted by koeller77 on Wed, Oct 27, 2010, at 9:15 AM

Amen, Oklahoma!

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 7:01 PM

I think it would be awesome if mine safety directors from the U. S., and China would go to Chile in order to study what was done prior to the Chilean disaster, and during it, to save their trapped miners. Neither country can save their own trapped miners.

Why awesome? Because it appears that the owners of the mines don't really give a darn in the U. S. or China, nor apparently do the officials who set safety regulations. Communism, capitalism, strange bed fellows. Who does beyond Chile, care about the working miners?

That is why it would be awesome if we went there to seriously study Chile's procedures, then follow through with appropriate revisions.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 5:24 PM

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Kathy Fairchild received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1986 from Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. She is also a 2003 graduate of the paralegal program at New York University. She moved to Marshall in 2006, following a career of more than 30 years with the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. She is an Air Force brat and grandmother of four.
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