Hooray For ‘Justice’: Coal CEO Sentenced To One ENTIRE Year In Jail For Killing 29 Men

Six years ago, the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia exploded and killed 29 men. Investigations found a systemic effort to ignore safety regulations that directly caused the “accident” and that effort was directed by Donald L. Blankenship. Usually in these cases, the company is slapped with an insultingly small fine, condolences are delivered and business continues as usual.

This time was different. Felony charges were brought against Blankenship and, unbelievably, he was convicted of deliberately violating the safety measures that led to 29 deaths. It was a shocking verdict even though the jury inexplicably acquitted him of the more serious charges.

But today, it’s back to business as usual as Blankenship was sentenced to a whole whopping year in jail and fined $250,000. That’s 12 days and $8,620 for each life he stole away from the families and loved ones of the victims. That’s what human life is worth these days, apparently.

Oh, and he’s completely unrepentant:

Mr. Blankenship said, “My main point is wanting to express sorrow to the families and everyone for what happened.” As he spoke, relatives of dead miners cried in the courtroom’s gallery, and one wiped her face with a crumpled piece of paper.

Mr. Blankenship, however, was also defiant and told Judge Berger, “It’s important to me that everyone knows that I am not guilty of a crime.”

No, it’s important that everyone know you are the very worst capitalism has to offer.

His lawyers are already hard at work getting his sentence reduced to probation and it’s unlikely he’ll serve a single day. Oh, and Blankenship is worth over $14 million so $250,000 really is just a slap on the wrist.

In a country that sends people to prison for decades for smoking marijuana in their home, this ridiculous sentence once again demonstrates that there are two different justice systems: One for you and me that locks us up for no reason so someone can profit, and one for the people who profit that never get locked up for any reason at all.

Fuck this country.


Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images