The Buffalo Creek Disaster
The Buffalo Creek Disaster
This Book was an outstanding depiction of how our court systems in the United
States work. Gerald Stern, from the time he had accepted the case, in my
opinion, was out for establishing justice. The Buffalo Creek Disaster left
hundreds of people to suffer without homes, belongings, jobs, family, and
friends. By the fault of the mining company, these peoples rights were
violated. The rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were stripped
away from them in a few hours by the flood.
I think the courts, Congress and attorneys all have roles and are obligated
to establishing justice. The courts are obligated to be there to listen to and
make sure that people are getting a fair chance for their case to be presented.
The courts are there to make sure no corruption or slander is taking place. It
is the courts job to filter out any unnecessary baggage that may be brought
into the picture. The courts are there to make sure everything goes by the rules
and guidelines set up by our constitution and laws. For instance, when Judge
Hall had made Pittston give the plaintiffs some documents that had to do with
the case, he was making sure everything was being done lawfully.
Congress has quite a different position I think. Congress has the job of
making sure the right laws are being made and passed in order for our society to
be centered on justice. If we have corrupted laws to work with, then our courts
cant uphold justice at all. It is Congresss duty to make sure laws will be
passed that reflects the will of our people as well. This way when we do decide
to use our court systems, we will feel like it is a fair system.
The attorneys have the hardest role of all three. I think the attorneys are
like the student in a college class doing a research paper. They have to present
there (plaintiffs) in a manner that is conclusive to the guidelines of the
professor (court), which were shaped by the administrators (Congress). For them
it is all about the legalities more so, than what they actually care about or
think is necessary. People always wonder why attorneys do things that seem
unethical or devious. It is because they are forced to work under the strict
guidelines of formality. Sometimes the only way to get things done properly is
find ways around or ways to use these laws and such to their advantage.
I believe both sides of attorneys did an excellent job on their clients
behalf. The attorneys for the mining company stuck within the guidelines of the
law in order to do a successful job on their clients behalf, by biding time
and trying to discredit a plaintiff that was in the right. The plaintiffs
attorneys did an excellent job at staying within the laws trying to disclose
legally well hidden information. What each side did just goes back to the
lawmakers, Congress, and brings attention to why they should be very careful in
making laws. That is what kept the attorneys for the Buffalo Creek Disaster
victims from obtaining justice for a while. It was the legalities of the court
system, put into effect by our Congress. They had to just wait all the
systematic issues out and then present the truth. They also had to face
discrimination in many different facets. Those of just dumb mine workers to
those of out of state lawyers. The obstacles were not easy.
I think that even though they made it through all of the obstacles and
adversity, the victims of the Buffalo Creek Disaster were not compensated enough
for all they went through. Like how one of the victims mentioned that the money
still couldnt get rid of the memory and nightmares. To be honest, I dont
think that there could have been any amount of monetary reward that could repay
the victims for what they lost and what they gained. I personally think that
justice was not achieved for that matter. Then again, if I were to comment on
justice being achieved in the legalistic sense, then yes. All of the proceedings
were handled according to the law, and one side prevailed over the other fairly.
This to me would be justice in the Constitutional sense.
I think the book was put together very well in the sense that it was written
by a lawyer. The way the Chapters were separated and titled as to give quick
reference. Also the way the book was written in story form as to be appealing to
the reader. Stern did an excellent job of recording the events surrounding this
case and the information prevalent to it. The way he was very objective in his
depictions of the moods and agendas behind the people involved, including his
own was very well done. Usually it is wise to be very skeptical towards those
who write books involving themselves because of how they might distort the truth
a little. In his book, Stern was convincing that he documented truth on the
Buffalo Creek Disaster.
I think like every other story, the mining company views it as something
completely different. We are learning about this kind of stuff in Social
Psychology. One such thing is Confirmation Bias, once someone has made an
opinion about something they will ignore things that do not agree and look for
things that support them being right. I think this happened throughout the side
of the defendants, the mining company. I also think that this happened on the
side of the plaintiffs as well, because they could have done more to ensure
their survival. Since the victims did nothing to ensure their survival and the
mining company was wrong, they chose to ignore that fact.
Another thing that was impressed with was how captivating a book on a court
case could be. I didnt think Id actually have the patience to read the
whole thing through, maybe skim it. I did however enjoy it, and plan to read
more books concerning court cases in the future for pleasure.