LOGAN, W.Va. – Roger Horton, president of United Citizens for Coal, has issued the following statement regarding today’s verdict in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship:
Today is a day for justice, a justice long overdue. For many, today was about that justice being meted out to a single man, and for some – perhaps many – today’s verdict was unfulfilling. It seems a small price to pay for the lives of our brother coal miners.
I have spent the better part of the day thinking about the verdict and what it really means. I will admit that at first I was like you – it just didn’t seem ‘enough’ – and I went seeking solace in the one place I know I will always find it. And indeed, I found that solace.
What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” the Prophet Micah wrote.
Those of us who work in the coalfields – who make our living on God’s mountaintops or deep within His earth – walk humbly with God every day. Our goal, and I am sure, the goal of those men whose life ended on that day burned deep in our memory, is justice. And with justice must come mercy or justice turns to vengeance and vengeance to hate, which God abhors.
Don Blankenship didn’t seek justice. He never gave mercy and he never walked humbly. Somewhere along the line, he lost his way. We cannot lose our way in seeking vengeance, but we can and must demand justice.
Something else came from today — perhaps the most fitting memorial to those we lost than any that could be constructed by human hand. This decision established a clear precedent that corporate officers and management are liable for their actions. It placed a clear line in the sand that will, I am certain, help prevent future mine disasters. It establishes in no uncertain terms that every level of management is accountable for workplace safety. Somewhere, 29 men are smiling.
However, this lesson must not be confined to mine management. We are ALL responsible for mine safety. Almost all mine disasters are the result not of a single “big” sin but a series of “small” sins that lead to disaster. We are ALL our brother’s keeper. We are ALL our sister’s keeper. When we are working, it is vital that we look out for each other. If we see someone doing something wrong, or something unsafe, we must to say something. We MUST do whatever it takes to correct the problem.
Whether it is management not putting down enough rock dust or a brother miner who shows up to work drunk or on drugs, we can’t make excuses. We can’t stand back and pretend it is someone else’s problem.
What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Let us all remember that and give the men of UBB a truly fitting memorial.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” Micah 6:8