Pick of the day: Forgotten amidst the oil spill
In Tuesday's edition of the Post, Lonnae O'Neal Parker writes about the families of the 11 victims who died when an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last month.
The voices of victims' families are a standard part of any story about a tragedy such as this. In this particular case, however, the fatal explosion was immediately followed by another crisis -- the spewing oil well. And Parker notes how the mad scramble to plug the leak, which threatens to damage the environment as well as livelihoods in the Gulf Coast region, has overshadowed the initial explosion and its victims.
Loved ones are trying to come to terms not just with lives lost, and no bodies to recover, but with what feels like the country's collective skipping from dead to gone. There was no national pause to honor the victims, like the one for the 29 West Virginia coal miners who died last month, though both miners and riggers work to fuel the country.
With oil still spilling, it seems the main focus is on the massive costs -- in terms of everything but the men who worked to bring it to the surface.
Parker also describes what happened when the family of another victim, Karl Dale Kleppinger, heard the sound of his truck.
A few days after they'd gotten the call that the search was suspended and he was probably dead, some co-workers brought his truck back home. The family didn't know it was coming. They heard the familiar rumble first. "Everybody started running," Sill said. "I have a power chair so I started wheeling it. That was that one little flicker. We knew it wasn't true, but something inside of each one of us just wanted it to be so." It was strangers who drove up in Karl's truck. "We all just fell apart after that."
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