|© Photo R. L. Mullins|
The haunting image of Jeremy Davis' bedroom with a large boulder laying beside his toddler bed lingers in my mind. I did not know him, or his family, but I have little ones of my own. I could not imagine the thought of a boulder crashing through the wall and crushing one of my children as they slept peacefully. Was A&G Coal Company thinking about our national security and “Keeping the Lights On!” when they took it upon themselves to mine without a permit above Jeremy Davis' house? Were they rushed by the worry of our local economy collapsing when they failed to warn everyone living down below, including Jeremy's family, that they were about to start mining above them?
I thought about all of the people who are living in the coalfields right now who are faced with a grim future, a future of working for the coal industry and hoping it doesn’t bust again. I thought about how many of them think they are doing the right thing by supporting coal. I see “Friends of Coal” stickers on cars and trucks, license plates purchased that donates money to the coal associations, rallies and protests held to support the coal industry. Why? Why have we become so worried about the here and now and not the future of our children?
The coal operators want all we can give them and more. Just how many more lives will they take, how many more children’s future’s will they ruin before we realize the truth? I heard someone say, “If the people of Appalachia are stupid enough to let the coal industry do these things to them and even help them do it, then perhaps the people of Appalachia deserve exactly what they get.”