Like Mr Wishart, I too am no mining engineer, so I too stand to be corrected, but I believe no mining engineer has criticised the handling of this dreadful accident. Nor have criticisms come from experts in disaster management, policing or counselling. However, many commentators who know nothing about any of these areas of expertise have rushed in where angels fear to tread. Indeed, many - including Messrs Wishart and Laws - have stated their willingness to go into the mine, where rescue parties fear to tread.
Armchair OSH apologists in the media and in Sci-blogs have been trying to justify the lack of a rescue in Greymouth because of the dangers from gases.
I'm no mining engineer, so I stand to be corrected, but like many others I am increasingly cynical about NZ's ability to handle a disaster.
Had they done so, they would have died. But then, they would not have done so. I stand to be corrected, but I believe none of these commentators ever has made good on his heroic promises. I did not see newspaper columnists and talk radio hosts clamouring to get past the police cordon so that they could plunge into the mine and rescue the miners. Nor were their readers and listeners, those energetic makers of comments and calls, to be found on the road to Pike River. Not one Grumpy Old Man turned up at the pithead, equipped with a torch and a breathing apparatus. Perhaps they were all too busy commenting.
I am no mining engineer; nor am I a sinologist: but I know a paper tiger when I see one.