People hurt by explosion matter more than ratings

Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

The modern 24-hour news cycle can be heartless. The constant focus on whatever is the biggest, most shocking thing happening right this moment all too often has a dehumanizing effect on the actual people affected by whatever news item is getting the clicks and shares.

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For most people around Kentucky and the U.S., the story of the Texas Eastern Pipeline exploding in Lincoln County Aug. 1 ended after the TV news cameras packed up and headed for the next dramatic story, wherever that might be. But for the people in Lincoln County affected by the explosion, the story is far from over.

The story is now much less about a giant ball of flames and much more about individuals trying to pick up the pieces after their lives were turned upside down. That’s not worth nearly as much revenue for mainstream media sources, which is unfortunate because it’s really the best part of the story.

Case in point: Area veterans are organizing a cookout for victims of the pipeline explosion this weekend. AMVETS 123, American Legion Post 46 and VFW Post 3634 are combining forces to host the event at the National Guard Armory in Danville on Saturday.

AMVETS 123 initially wanted to help one of its own affected by the explosion, but that plan quickly expanded to include all of the victims.

“We know people who have lost so much … We want them to know they’re loved and supported and we’ve got you here in Danville,” Kim Vanwinkle told us for a story about the event in Wednesday’s paper.

Hamburger and hotdog plates are being sold for $6 apiece at the cookout, and all proceeds are going to the families of the Indian Camp Road neighborhood hit by the pipeline blast.

Live music will be performed by Magnolia Vale, The Dynamic Duo and Mike Archer.

This is how a community cares for its own and its neighbors after a tragedy. Those who lost a loved one, or a home, or their sense of safety because of the pipeline explosion have a lengthy road back to normal. Luckily, they have many, many friends — some just around the corner, some a couple blocks away, some in the next town over — to help them down that long road.

Being a good neighbor isn’t flashy. It doesn’t make you gasp in surprise or yell in outrage. But it matters a whole lot more than the flashy stuff.

Five or 10 years from now, people will still occasionally remember when the pipeline exploded; but 20 or 30 years from now, those hurt by the explosion will still be remembering how their community rallied around them.