Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Troubled . . .

And Ashamed

We are not engineers.   Nor are we experts in rescue.  We are armchair critics.  Please read the comments below in the light in these disclaimers. 

We continue to have a sense of disquiet about the rescue effort at the Pike River coal mine.  Three images come to mind.  The first is a man lying on a floor in South Auckland, having been shot by intruders.  Outside police wait--not wanting to enter the building until they are sure no danger will present.  The wounded man is left to bleed out--to his death. 

The second enduring mental image is of the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9-11.  We can still hear the New York fire chief telling a watching world that none of his officers were going to enter those imploding towers until he was sure that they would be entirely safe.  His top priority was the safety of the rescuers.  That's what happened, right?  NY firemen did not race up those stairs trying to save lives, right? They were ordered to hold back, right? No firemen lost their lives, right?  They waited until both towers fell down to rubble, then they were stood down, because although safe for them, no-one was left to rescue, right?

The third image is of one Corporal Willie Apiata who quite rightly hunkered down in a firefight and refused to risk his life in an attempt to save his fallen comrade until he was sure it was safe.  That's why he was awarded the VC, right?

What ever happened to the respect and honour we once had for men and women willing to lay down their lives in the attempt to save others?  The Occupational Safety and Health regime--that's what has happened.  It makes us ashamed to be New Zealanders. 

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