As much as I abhor war, the way that the military handles soldier deaths is (usually) quite admirable (although the same might not hold for its handling of post-service medical problems). When a soldier is killed in service, the family gets a personal visit and often one or more personal phone calls from higher officers, congressmen, or even the President.
Earlier today I heard an interview on our local NPR interview show with the father of an engineer who was killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. He said that BP had not spoken to him nor contacted him or his family in any way since the disaster - had never even offered condolences - including one time when he and his other son were in the same room with BP execs at a hearing. There seems only one appropriate response to this: un-fucking-believable.
It should be noted that BP was not the employeer of any of the folks killed in the rig but just contracted thru other companies for their services. While an I am sorry might be in order, it is likley that the lawyers told the folks not to say anything being as thats what lawyers do.
I blame the lawyers. BP lawyers have probably instructed all officials to keep their mouth shut so that they don't say anything that could be used in lawsuits later on. The government has less to worry about on that front.
While it's true BP's lawyers may have told them not to say anything that could later be used against them in a lawsuit, it's hard to see how a "We're terribly sorry about the passing of your child." could be used in court. Especially since they're not doing so well on the PR front, and it seems like this would be one way they could gain at least a little bit. They may not actually care about anything but the bottom line, but they could at least pretend different in public. They could have borrowed Beck's Vapo-rub and it would've been headlines the next day: "BP officials not to blame, but terribly sad just the same."
Besides, given the amount of nonsense they've waved around in front of cameras up to this point, they're either confident they've got enough judges bought off to avoid lawsuit troubles or they have really bad lawyers.
At this point nothing BP does is unbelievable.
In the longer term, the military (at least in the UK) has really good support for families too: counselling, charitable funds, pensions. I'd like to see what happens in a year's time if this unfortunate guy's kids need dental work or his Dad needs a powered wheelchair.
So what do we do about the apparent fact that corporations do run the world?