West Virginians have been conspicuous by their absence in the furor over the disaster at the Upper Big Branch Mine. This is because they're preparing to bury loved ones, and for another reason as well: West Virginians -- at least those who don’t arrive at its universities, stay for a few years to play varsity sports and then move on without graduating -- are caught between a rock and a hard place on this one.
Closing Massey Energy Company's mines would be devastating economically, and losing a father, brother or uncle every few years because of an accident in an under regulated industry with political ties out the wazoo is a price that West Virginians have had no choice but to pay.
Photograph by The Associated Press
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