There are some who may fall for the flimsy excuses offered by Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul engineered to absolve oil and mining corporations from any and all legal, monetary and moral responsibility for the recent deaths of miners and rig workers. Mr. Paul may be able to pull the wool over their eyes, but he can't do it to us. Kentuckians remember full well our state's distinction of being home to the 1988 crash at a bend in the road near Carrollton, Kentucky, still the largest school bus disaster in the history of America and we know full well how it came about.
Rand Paul excused the Kentucky coal mine disaster that killed two of our men by stating: "We had a mining accident that was very tragic...Then we come in and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen." Maybe sometimes bullsh*t doesn't stink either.
Now, taking a cue from his tea party roadie, Sarah Palin, by calling President Obama's handling of the oil spill "really un-American" because our president dared to criticize BP, Senator WannabePaul goes on to excuse BP of any responsibility as well to the dismay of Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell:
"And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be somebody's fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen."
Rand Paul, during an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, further likened Obama's handling of the spill as putting a "boot heel" on the throat of BP. Poor lil' BP.
Paul is a newcomer to Kentucky, having moved here around 1993. He is connected to Kentucky by marriage and political aspirations only, having not waited even a full year after his arrival to start his anti-tax political movement, Kentucky Taxpayers United, here in our state. The man has failed to connect to the people of Kentucky to the extent he is not willing to protect us fully.
This man is not steeped in the rich traditions of our Commonwealth and was not raised with an appreciation for things Kentucky. Rand Paul has no understanding of much of our state's history,no grasp ofour early struggles with civil rights and our progress with same, progress he now wants to throw under the bus. He is seemingly unaware of our history of political collusion and corporate corruption within our mining industry. If he is aware, then he simply doesn't care. Rand Paul is most likely truly unaware that the most tragic 'accident' in our state's history was due to poor decision making, a poor product produced by business and insufficient state safety regulations:
On May 14, 1988, a school bus filled with 67 teenagers and adults was returning home to Radcliff, Kentucky from a trip to King's Island amusement park became a firey death trap when a pickup truck traveling down the interstate in the wrong lane crashed into the bus. The driver was drunk. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was one of the worst bus accidents in U.S. history. The nation wept side by side with Kentuckians that day. The people of Kentucky consider it a life altering event for many here in Kentucky even to this day.
The U.S. government had to intervene and send military vans to help transport family of the dead and injured from Radcliff to Carrollton. Our state then intervened by sending police escorts for the families to take them to the local Holiday Inn near Carrollton, where our State Medical Examiner, Dr. Nichols, had the heart breaking task of trying to explain as gently as possible to the mothers, fathers and family members that he could not allow them to view their children one last time because the victims of this crash were were burned so horribly as to be beyond human recognition, burned so horribly that "visual identification was "impossible." Dr. Nichols had to explain why he didn't want that horrific image to be their last memory of their loved ones.
Kentuckians remember these young people well. I seriously doubt Rand Paul even knows their names, much less the name of the deceased bus driver,John Pearman, as this was a few years before his time here, or that a major factor in their deaths was far too little business responsibility:
JEANETTE ANN ARNETT
CYNTHIA ANNE ATHERTON
SANDY JEAN BREWER
JOSHUA MICHAEL CONVERS
MARY CATHERYN DANIELS
JULIE A. EARNEST
KASHAWN R. ETHERIDGE
SHANNON RAE FAIR
DWAILLA DAWN FISCHEL
RICHARD KEITH GOHN
LORI KATHLEEN HOLZER
CHARLES JOHN KYTTA
APRIL LuANN MILLS
PHILIP LEE MORGAN
TINA M. MUSTAIN
WILLIAM J. NICHOLS, JR.
EMILLIE SUZANNE THOMPSON
CRYSTAL ERIN UHEY
DENISE ELLEN VOGLUND
AMY CHRISTINE WHEELOCK
CHAD ANTHONY WITT
KRISTEN JOY WILLIAMS
M. JOY WILLIAMS
ROBIN JILL WILLIAMS
Kentucky took the responsible course of action by enacting the biggest government mandated changes ever made in school bus safety to date. A direct result of the protections called for by the people of Kentucky included an increase in the number of emergency exits along with an additional exit door on the left side of the each bus. Changes were made in the materials allowed to be used in seat covers by switching to less flamable material. Pop-out windows marked with reflective tape had to be installed on each side of our buses and were required to be operable by even the smallest student. Kentucky bus drivers now face rigid standards, including longer and more intensive training, training they go through willingly each and every school year.
Emergency roof hatches are now standard equipment on our school buses so that if the bus overturns the kids still have a chance of getting out. Kentuckians made steel protective cages around the bus gas tanks mandatory in order to prevent another horrific aftermath of what Rand Paul would term simply an accident.
When someone decides to drink all day to the point their blood alcohol level is double the legal limit and then decides to drive drunk all night before crashing into another vehicle, that is not an accident. That is a decision, abeit a poor one. Larry Mahoney never intended to kill our children but his decision to drink and drive caused their deaths. The lack of modern safety equipment for our school buses at that point in time, the refusal of business to install it willingly, was a major contributing factor in how Mr. Mahoney's decision played out.
Using Rand Paul's present day reasoning that the deaths of Kentucky coal miners and the deaths of the BP oil rig workers were accidents, and his refusal to assign any of the responsibility for these events to the mine and oil corporations in spite of their safety record and in spite of the media now reporting corporate misconduct in both instances, it is clear Paul would have also excused the Carrollton bus deaths caused by the willful decision of a man to drive drunk and lack of proper safety measures provided by business at that time. The deaths of these children, according to Rand Paul, would have been simply an accident.