Shoot the Messenger

Shoot the Messenger

This is a discussion on Shoot the Messenger within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; After Being Told 12 Men Had Survived, Friends and Family Told Only One Is Alive Jan. 4, 2006 —*Family members and friends of 12 men ...

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Thread: Shoot the Messenger

  1. #1
    VIP Member
    Array Betty's Avatar
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    Shoot the Messenger

    After Being Told 12 Men Had Survived, Friends and Family Told Only One Is Alive

    Jan. 4, 2006 —*Family members and friends of 12 men who died in a mine collapse in West Virginia are furious with officials for what is being called a "miscommunication."

    Late last night, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin announced that 11 or 12 of the miners who had been trapped by a blast early Monday morning had survived, triggering widespread jubilation in the close-knit mining community of Tallmansville....

    Somehow, there was an awful miscommunication: Rescuers had not confirmed that 12 were alive, but that 12 were found and that they were being checked for vital signs.

    "They didn't have any certainties, and the time has elapsed because they were trying to get more information before giving information that was wrong or erroneous," said Manchin, about why the families were not given accurate information right after the mistake was made.

    Hatfield blamed the wrong information on a "miscommunication."...

    Family members are demanding answers.

    "I call this injustice," said Ann Meredith, a relative of a miner. "I will tell you right here now, I am going to sue."

    The sadness turned to rage with some of the community members turning on officials. There were reports of fistfights. A SWAT team and about 12 state police officers waited nearby. A Red Cross volunteer, Tamila Swiger, said some people were experiencing nervous breakdowns and panic attacks.

    "Tell us our families are coming out alive and then one of them comes out and the rest of them dead," said Daniele Bennett, whose father was killed in the mine. "That's not even right."
    I can only image the grief the families have. Having a sense of relief, only have it smashed, makes the grief worse. But it was a terrible miscommunication, nothing more. Everybody had hope that those men survived, and in that hope, "they were found" turned into "they survived," but that is what they wanted to hear.

    In times of severe grief, it seems common that people need to place blame on someone to direct grief into anger to cope with their loss. When you have someone to blame, it's easier to deal with problems than having to deal with, "it was an accident" and "these things happen."

    A couple years ago, a friend of mine commited suicide. He called me on the phone right before he did it. I scrambled for 911 and had to be rerouted out of state, since my friend lived in a different state. My friend had told me to call his relatives to tell them what he had done, and after talking to 911 for eternity, I had to make the terrible call to his relatives. I received an answering machine message several times, and I hung up on it. It was around 1/2 hour to an hour later when I finally decided I had no choice but to leave a message, telling them what happened and that I called an ambulance.

    It was a week later when I was woken up at 6:30am by my phone ringing. It was the relative I left the message with.

    How dare you traumatize my family. Don't you know we were at church when you called? We came home to read That Message from you. How dare you leave a message like that for us to hear when we came home. Do you have any idea what you put us through? My husband had a heart attack recently and he didn't need this stress, and so-and-so had to go on medications. You planned this. You conspired with him for his suicide. If you ever call here again, I'm going to call the police, and then I'm going to get my lawyer...

    My head swam in shock, and I interjected that I did what I was told to do, and if it was better if I left his body on the floor, called nobody, and they ended up finding him days later. She hung up.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  2. #2
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    There are times Betty - instance your unfortunate account - where things are simply lose/lose situations - we are damned whichever way we go. It has happened to me too but for different reasons.

    I read this morning about the misinformation screw up and feel for those affected and we can all I am sure feel their pain and anger.

    It is a fact - reporting is all too often a race - ''first to print'' wins the readership etc. Sadly and often, research is inadequate and here in particular, screwed up facts have caused pain beyond belief.

    There should always be riders to early info - ''we think'', ''subject to confirmation'', but to state as fact too early can as seen here have diabolical consequences.

    Our prayers go out to the families of these men.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!." - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    This is just a plan media screw up plain and simple! reporting news like that without 100% fact is just wrong and people will pay for this one. I feel for all the miners and their families and I hope the one that got out survives.

    The owner of the mine opened up the press conference with,


    I bet it is pal!

    Train and train hard, you might not get a second chance to make a first impression!

    I vote for Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President.....Not!

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array dpesec's Avatar
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    You know, I was watching the Orange Bowl when the news hit. I switched to Fox News. What was interesting is that nobody could say who told the families. The Fox reporter kept asking who told you, but there wasn't any answer.

    Think about the old game of Telephone. I believe this is exactly what happened. It's not good for anybody, I'm sure the person who passed along the initial report feels bad enough. I can't see the comapny doing this on purpose, because the Land Sharks (aka lawyers) would have a feeding frenzy, but they should have told the world that "contray to information, the status of the workers are unknown."

    This would upset people too, and I can just see the griping about this type of announcement too.

    Lose-lose situtation.

    “The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms”. General George Patton—US Army

    Vis et Veneratio

    "So this is how democracy dies: to thunderous applause." Actress Natalie Portman as Padme in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

  6. #5
    Member Array Kompact9's Avatar
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    In the days of propeller driven aircraft and tube radios, a friend of mine worked as a CW (morse code) operator for the airlines (voice communications weren't as reliable then). During his shift he worked an incident in which the airplane was struck by lightning and was having severe electrical and mechanical difficulties. Despite all the troubles, the pilot was able to land the plane with no injuries to passengers or personnel (the plane didn't fare so well). My friend read an account of the incident in the paper the next day. His comment was that they got the date and the name of the airline correct, the rest was pure fiction. The media has been doing this for decades...will they ever get it? Probably not in my lifetime...
    noli nothis permittere te terere...

  7. #6
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    Leaving aside this unfortunate screw-up Fred - the thing that yanks my chain most is not just the fictional and presumptive reporting so often - but the apparent lack of accountability.

    Hell - history has been altered a time or three - thru bad reporting and misinformation.

    Sadly, I have little or no respect for ''news'' organizations.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!." - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  8. #7
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    Sometimes all this "instant" communication isn't a good thing.

    This is one of those cases!

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array cmidkiff's Avatar
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    From what I've heard, someone 'overheard' the rescue workers radio signal, and mis-interpreted the word 'found' as 'found alive'. I'm sure the person responsible knows he caused a lot of pain. In our litigation-happy society, he's sure to be sued.

    My family is from the same area, coal miners for generations back. I've lost several family members to the mines over the years. My father made the decision to move out of the state when he started having a family, and I'm thankfull every day that he made that decision.

    All my prayers are with the families of these men. But for the decision my father made, it could be me.
    Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. It's worth it.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmidkiff
    From what I've heard, someone 'overheard' the rescue workers radio signal, and mis-interpreted the word 'found' as 'found alive'.
    That's the report I heard this morning. The rescuer said, "We found them" and the conclusion was jumped to that they were alive. While it is unfortunate, I don't think the media was too far out of line if the families, after returning from a closed status meeting, reported it to the media....
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    That sucks i would be P.o.ed also i rember all the worry when cave in's happened and my mothers brother and father still worked in the coal mines..

    Worst my uncle got was a broken arm couple times and leg's he was lucky usually 10 people died everytime

  12. #11
    Member Array ibex's Avatar
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    I cannot even begin to imagine the pain these poor families must feel. I do understand the need to place the blame on someone, though. But that doesn't make it right. There was a screw-up, but unless it can be proven that it was done on purpose, e.g. to create more drama in order to get more readers/viewers, it's just a simple mistake. Y'know, people make those occasionally, usually without intent. I really don't see a good reason to sue the nearest sufficiently deep pocket.

    It would certainly help those families, since they will not only miss a father or a brother, but also an income, but that is what a life insurance is for.

    Like Betty said, it's easier to deal with problems when you can place blame on someone (or something) to direct grief into anger. While this is helpful in coping, it is also dangerous, because it creates people like Sarah Brady.

    I think we need to learn to place the right amount of blame on the right person (or thing). Whoever gave the news that 12 miners are alive is, as far as we can tell, only guilty of passing along information he or she simply misunderstood. This has caused a lot of pain to the families, but it was only a very small, very human mistake. A lawsuit is not the answer to everything. In this case, a sincere apology would do, in my humble opinion.
    "So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause."
    - Senator Padmé Amidala, "Revenge of the Sith"

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