If There *is* a God at the Pike River Mine...

Jameson's picture
Submitted by Jameson on Mon, 2010-11-22 12:10

... who truly has the power to get the 29 miners to safety, and we find them dead, then he cannot be a loving god.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

I've just turned Mark's post into an op-ed. See top of the page. Over and above where it'll get sent as a result, all of you should send it far and wide.

Keeping them peeled

HWH's picture

Good on ya Mark for exposing the deadly green hand behind this tragedy

I've just posted the gist of it on Andrew Bolts blog with a link to your post here

I hope so

Richard Wiig's picture

I'm sure the officer in charge was taking advice from those who knew best.

In Australia, a news report apparently showed a spokesman (I don't know which spokesman) saying something along the lines of "it's been a good day because DoC have allowed us to cut a track". That would-be rescuers didn't just cut a track with no regard for DOC and then deal with any possible consequences later, doesn't fill me with confidence.

The police were in control...

Jameson's picture

... because lives were at stake, Richard. I'm sure the officer in charge was taking advice from those who knew best. However, questions will be asked about why they didn't have a robot that worked when Australia had offered a purpose-built model the day after the accident.

Safety directives

Richard Wiig's picture

Why was a police officer in charge? What does he know about mine rescue? Surely the head of the rescue team should have been making the decision as to whether or not to go in and what approach to take, and the cop should have taken a back seat to that. Instead we saw the cop saying he wouldn't let anyone go in, as if it was his decision.

I think ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... this (the Green origin of the tragedy) indeed should be the subject of an op-ed. Mark, are you going to plead no time again? I can do it, but I come in and out of lucidity post-surgery right now. Anyone else?

Indeed, great post, Mark

Jameson's picture

You've exposed the real tragedy here: save the trees at all cost. My antipathy shifted from the theists to the environmentalists with every bleeding sentence.

I saw an interview last night with a family of a miner in which they detailed the obstruction of a volunteer rescue team. Tough call. It would appear the authorities made the right call — not in concern of the lives of the volunteers, but of the possibility that the survivors would perish if they triggered a second blast.

As it stands... fuck the Greenies.

What worries me...

Marcus's picture

...is the constant referral to "safety directives".

It often turns out that state mandated "safety directives" fly in the face of common sense.

If this was the case here, it would be unforgivable.

Good post Mark

gregster's picture

Exactly what I spouted to my flatmate earlier, her in her grief. More green casualties. But this fact will be whitewashed in the MSM.

Great post Mark.

Olivia's picture

Right on the money. Would make an excellent Op-ed.
Greenies are evil!

Sam may be referring...

Olivia's picture

to this interview with one of the families yesterday:

He and the miner's stepfather, Ross Harvey, said they knew of rescue-team members who wanted to go into the mine. Mr Harvey wanted reconnaissance done along the mine's main track, where the air was thought to be clear.

If the rescuers were happy to enter the mine, and since the miners could not speak for themselves, their respective families should be asked for a decision.

"We don't want to be saying in a week `We wish we had [demanded action]' ... and they get him out in a week's time and they say `Oh, he actually only died of dehydration 48 hours ago', and we've sat here and said nothing and done nothing," Mr Hardcastle said.



Lindsay Perigo's picture

Well it was some dumb-ass thing Pierson did. I fixed by inserting a slash. Speaking of which, I am chalking the cane as we speak. Evil

Yes, fixed.

Mark Hubbard's picture

Yes, fixed.

How about now?

Lindsay Perigo's picture

How about now?

I think it will all come down to the autopsy...

Marcus's picture

...if all 29 died immediately, then no one will have anything to say.

However, if some of them survived a few hours or perhaps days - then the second-guessing at what should have been done will be enormous.

Mark, I see italics all the way down from the volunteers post too.

No. The entire body of every

Mark Hubbard's picture

No. The entire body of every post below Sam's Volunteers post is now in italics. I've even tried closing all browsers and coming back in, and refreshing. I'm on IE 8 if that helps.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

... everything under that is not all italics. Are you sure you're not just reading the first sentences of posts? (That sure as hell would explain a lot.)

The one headed 'Volunteers' -

Mark Hubbard's picture

The one headed 'Volunteers' - you'll need to delete all these subsequent ones now to take out the noise.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's all fine on my screen. To which of Pierson's posts do you refer, Hubbard?

Ahem, I'm not pointing the

Mark Hubbard's picture

Ahem, I'm not pointing the finger, but everything below Sam's post is still in italics to me - even after your post Linz.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Now come on! Your claim was there were folk volunteering to go down who were prevented. That's not what your quote attests. It just shows Whittall wouldn't have allowed any such hypothetical volunteers to go down because they might trigger a second explosion. So again I ask, who were the volunteers to whom you refer?

Mark: who has not closed off his italics? I can't see a problem. Was it Pierson? Did he cover his ass in the nick of time? Or was it you and did you cover yours? Eye

( Wasn't there a tyranny of

Mark Hubbard's picture

( Wasn't there a tyranny of the majority decision taken on SOLO that anyone who didn't close off their italics had to walk the length of a a very long mine Smiling )


Sam Pierson's picture

Whittall said he would not allow a "brave" volunteer down the mine even if they were prepared to risk their life. They could exacerbate the situation, he said.


Sammy dearest ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

There were volunteers keen to go in but they were denied by the authorities. Commander in charge made that call.

If that's the case, I repeat, I'm as agin' it as you, unless there was real reason to think the volunteers would screw up the authorised rescue. But what is the source of this information? What did I miss?

Mark ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

So, under DOC’s watch, under the Gia worshipping eyes of the bureaucrat, open cast mines will never occur in NZ, and the same wasn’t an option for Pike River. Yet if Pike River had been an open cast mine, all 29 of these miners would still be alive.

Very well spotted.

And I completely agree about the plastic tears of parliamentarians.

"There comes a time in the affairs of men ..."


Sam Pierson's picture

There were volunteers keen to go in but they were denied by the authorities. Commander in charge made that call. From what I gather the issue with the gas was a concern, not of breathing - they have kit for that - but of a person setting off a second explosion.

So it was considered better to wait for the gas levels to decrease. We know now how that turned out.

And this will be the question: if you knew it was likely to blow again, why not let those prepared to take the risk go on in?

My thoughts.

Mark Hubbard's picture

I feel empathy for the families and friends that these miners leave behind, only a monster would have no such empathy. I do not feel grief though, for the same reason I feel no personal grief for the millions of young men who died in the last two world wars: I knew none of them personally, as I knew none of these men.

There have been far too many plastic tears in the reporting of this disaster. The suspension of Parliament tomorrow is farcical – though for quite other reasons I wish they’d suspend themselves in perpetuity.

Following the coverage, many involved have acquitted themselves well, one man especially whom I have grown enormous respect for: that man is Peter Whittall. It’s no accident this great man has risen from miner to CEO. If you want a case study in competency, how to communicate, and simply being ‘human’, then use Mr Whittall as a prime example. His behavour in the media exudes a morality and sensibility of man qua man.

I also think the police acquitted themselves well, despite the flack they’ve taken, with only one error. They took a reasoned approach, as I would have hoped they would, and as Linz states, the second explosion has shown their prudence was well-founded.

But for me there was that one error. I think Franks (my post below) was right. If I am a free man, then that includes the freedom to die nobly, or stupidly (take your pick). There can be no equivocation on this point.

If I don’t want to wear a cycle helmet then, according to reason, I am stupid. But that’s still my prerogative. So long as I am initiating force on no other, then I’m free to do as I want, incluidng dying stupidly, or, I am not a free man. The same tyrannous morality that stops me doing so, also stops me euthanising myself when I feel my quality of life has gone.

If men wanted to go into this mine to rescue their loved ones, as irrational and ill-advised as that would have been, that was still their prerogative. If the police did physically stop this, then the police were beyond the mandate a free society should have given them.

These are hard questions emotionally, but they are also very simple. (I don’t know if people were stopped from going down the mine: some comments from the grieving relatives would indicate this, but it is merely supposition on my behalf. And it doesn't change the principle.)

So to the simpler issue of where my anger truly lies.

From my empathy for these men and their loved ones there is anger, and the anger is this. This mine can increase the standards of living of us all via the mechanism of free markets and wealth creation. So should it exist: yes. The mine was known in the industry as ‘gassy’: that is, the coal seam released a lot of methane as it was mined, which is dangerous, despite it was a 'wet mine': this fact caused problems and cost overruns throughout its development, especially around the ventilation system (cost overrun $7 million just on that). Was there a way to reduce the danger of a ‘gassy’ mine to the workers who took out the coal? Yes – an open cast mine would have held none of the risks this mine held for the methane would have dissipated immediately with no enclosed spaces to build up.

So, why was Pike River not an open cast mine? Answer: the bureaucrats in DOC who place a higher value on a tree, than on humanity, and certainly an individual human being.

It is significant that DOC have felt they needed to put out a press release disclaiming any responsibility: http://www.stuff.co.nz/nationa...

But their very own press release damns all the bureaucrats involved. Quoting:

Environmental concerns did not compromise safety at the Pike River mine, Conservation Department director-general Al Morrison says.
"We set stringent conditions and they met them to the extent that we gave them a conservation award.


The Pike River mine had to navigate sensitive environmental challenges above the ground, as well as difficult geology below …
The company has an access agreement with DOC. Once mining has finished, all evidence of the project has to be removed, such as buildings, bridges and powerlines.
Pike River Coal has spent millions of dollars to meet environmental guidelines. It recycles water, has kept its surface features to a minimum and has zig-zagged powerlines and roads around ancient rimu trees.

And, the truly damning part:

New Zealand has an opportunity to be a world leader in developing `green mines'. Our mine at Pike River proves that it can be done."
It was likely any new mines would be underground. In such cases the surface impact is small, the infrastructure is removed at the end of mining and the small areas affected are restored. On the small areas affected, trees grow back."

Well now we know what a green mine does: it kills humans.

So, under DOC’s watch, under the Gia worshipping eyes of the bureaucrat, open cast mines will never occur in NZ, and the same wasn’t an option for Pike River. Yet if Pike River had been an open cast mine, all 29 of these miners would still be alive.

Anger should be directed at that fact, which is also the reason why individual liberty is being destroyed, as New Zealand lurches further an further toward Nanny State tyranny: a planned economy built necessarily on the backs of our planned lives, of which this disaster becomes part. And remember the bright side: the trees and snails were all saved.


Craig Ceely's picture

I fear thou art too kind.

But i thank you.

And: I'd take you with me, son. Commas and spelling and all. Eye


Sam Pierson's picture

That's your manhood speaking, not sacrifice.

"Pointless risk"

Craig Ceely's picture

That's it.

That is all of it.

Good point.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

And I think you should not stand in the way of someone willing to take a risk for someone they care about.

So do I. Was that an issue here? Was someone prevented from going in who wanted to go in?

I'm the first one to recoil from PR ad-wanker bullshit—fight it all the time—but I didn't see it in this matter. Watching the cop in charge again tonight I was impressed by his refusal to put his men at pointless risk even under excruciating duress. He knew about the build-up of lethal gases. He went by objective reality. What on earth would have been the point of charging in? As you and I would both agree, Pierson, Gobby ain't there to suspend the laws of nature. Ain't gonna be no miracle. Facts are facts, A is A, pointless deaths are pointless deaths.

It's not just arm-chairing that's going on, it's knee-jerking. "Somebody do something. Anything!!!!!!!!!"


Craig Ceely's picture

I do, I really, really do, agree with Lindsay's post below.

But what you wrote....yes, it's odd, but, I think from my perspective as a former member of the Marine Corps special operations community -- and I have admitted this before, in front of god and everybody... what about something like Guadalcanal? That situation sucked, for those Marines there. And for quite a long time. If I had something to offer, would I have been willing to go, back in 1942? If I had something to offer, and I could turn back the hands of time, would I do so tonight?

I do so regard myself as an Objectivist. I do not believe in sacrifice. I have no desire to sacrifice myself for anything or anyone.

But god help me, my answer to both of the above questions is Yes. I'd go.

The miners?


And I think...

Sam Pierson's picture

you should not stand in the way of someone willing to take a risk for someone they care about.

My thoughts go to the families & loved ones. There is the perception that those tasked with the rescue did not sieze the initiative from nature. No doubt they've all worked hard in a difficult situation but they were responsible for setting the course. When you hear the word 'team' used alot and the early praise of efforts you gotta wonder. Clearly the families feel they've been PR'd through this & their grief is mixed with anger.

That they knew the mine was likely to blow again does not to my mind justify anything. Surely it's still ready to go again, so what now the course? If anything, such a threat counselled action sooner rather than later.

Ok, I'm just armchairing. These questions are going to be asked & answered over the next while.


Olivia's picture

Terrible outcome for the men and their devastated families. Too sad for words.


Craig Ceely's picture

Agreed. And "Gobby" never shows when he could be helpful, does he?

And, as for "unspeakable personal grief," by all means let's never forget that.

I think ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... the folly of just charging in regardless is brought home by this second explosion, the likelihood of which was precisely the reason for the caution. We Objectivists are not advocates of thoughtless, pointless self-sacrifice, are we? What would we have thought if a second explosion killed the would-be rescuers as well as the rescuees, assuming the latter weren't already dead? One of those who got out, whose brother was still in there, has just said the rescuers were right not to rush in. It says something that he can acknowledge that through his unspeakable personal grief.

As usual, of course, Gobby conspicuous by his absence. As I've had occasion to ask before, "Will it finally sink in this time?" Answer: nope.

Second blast ends all hope

Jameson's picture

Thoughts are with the families of the poor miners.

Good comment from Franks. Ok,

Sam Pierson's picture

Good comment from Franks.

Ok, I'm now starting to rush to judgement. Clusterfuck is the word that comes to mind. An Aussie journalist said to effect "imagine if the New York firefighters had been told to wait until it was safe." And Brownlee is now going after *him* and his paper for being 'inappropriate.' Brownlee should have better things to do right now. This is being PR managed into 'a regrettable tragedy' in which 'we tried.' "Who is John Galt?"

Hattip Lindsay Mitchell

Mark Hubbard's picture

From Lindsay's blog, Setphen Franks has an interesting article up about this: http://www.stephenfranks.co.nz...


The law must also restore the ancient liberty that allows individuals to choose to be noble for others even if it seems foolish. The Police should have no right to prevent any of us from exercising a fully informed choice to risk our own lives for another.

6 days and no-one's got down

Sam Pierson's picture

6 days and no-one's got down there? I won't rush to judgement but there appears to be a lot lacking in this effort. Precaution looks to be overriding the imperative and has run down the clock on these guys. The mine is 'unsafe' but 'unsafe' for whom? They should have made efforts to actually get eyes and ears down there on day 1. I've no doubt a call for two/four volunteers to go in with some breathing kit would not have gone unheeded - it's most likely there was a queue. It's what you do when your mates are trapped - you have to take the risk, or take the consequences to your manhood. All we hear are safety concerns and calls to prayer.

The Police won't let them in...

Jameson's picture

Too dangerous — there's a real risk that the methane will explode again. The diamond-head drill will be through into the tunnel junction tomorrow, and they'll send a camera down. In the meantime they've finally gotten off there asses to get the Australian robot over here.


Kasper's picture

Are you saying that there's not enough being done? I'd find that hard to believe. Rescue workers want in and John's given them the budget, no?

Australia offered equipment

Richard Wiig's picture

Australia offered equipment four days ago but nothing's been done to get it??? Unbelievable!!! A spokesman commented a day or so ago that it's been a 'good day' because, DOC have allowed them to cut a track. Beyond pathetic.

Exactly my point, Lindsay...

Jameson's picture

If obtusely stated. If God does exist, and the men are still alive, why is he still umming and ahhing about whether these innocent souls are worth saving?

Sadly, the situation is dire. Unlike the Chilean accident, Pike River is a coal mine and in disasters like these survival is unlikely. If the fireball didn't kill them then the methane gas will most likely have choked them by now. Nevertheless the rescue attempts have been pathetic at best. The US and Australia offered equipment four days ago, but nothing has been done to get it.

Who knew John Key was religious? Apparently his conversion is recent. He was an atheist last time I checked. Now he's praying that they're okay, along with all the other metaphysical shark-jumpers.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

But what a great opportunity to take a cheap shot at theism.

What a great opportunity for Gobby to prove atheists wrong, I would have thought.

If, as seems tragically unlikely, these men come out alive, it will be thanks to human ingenuity, not to a non-existent goblin touted by witch doctors.

Perhaps premature of Glenn

gregster's picture

But if they stage-manage a one by one exit to the world's cameras, and the miners, having seen the Chilean episode, start thanking the Goblin, I'll put my boot through the TV.


Richard Goode's picture

A heart-rending situation, indeed. Without doubt, very sad for everyone affected.

But what a great opportunity to take a cheap shot at theism.


gregster's picture

failed, or practices got slack, and the risk doesn't seem to have been cautiously assessed.

It's very sad without doubt for everyone affected.

What is going on there?

Olivia's picture

I can understand the frustration of the families involved when by day 5 rescuers have not even attempted to go down into that mine. And the robot which broke down 500 meters in is just a travesty!

Where is the world-wide expertise which saved the Chileans?

Heart-rending situation.

Ho fucking ho

gregster's picture

Poor analogy No Goode. You don't pray to Santa.

Ho ho ho

Richard Goode's picture

If there is a Father Christmas... and he doesn't give the 29 miners and their families an early Christmas present... then fuck him, too.

That ghost

gregster's picture

sure is good for nothing.

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