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October 27, 2013 10:01 AM Wost. Theme Park. Ever.

By Kathleen Geier

Apparently, the ghastly, tragic and entirely preventable deaths of coal miners are some very twisted person’s idea of wholesome family entertainment:

Alone in the darkness … the only sound is the pulsing of your heart as the searing heat slowly boils you alive … It was reported to be the worst coal mine accident in history. The families of missing miners begged for help but it was decided that a rescue was too dangerous. The miners were left entombed deep underground.

Seriously. I can’t even.

In the Washington Post, Peter Galuszka reports that “Miner’s Revenge” is

one of 10 haunted attractions meant to tantalize and terrorize visitors during “Halloween Haunt” at Kings Dominion amusement park in the rolling Virginia countryside about 70 miles south of Washington.

What next — a thrill ride based on the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh? Auschwitz: The Theme Park? What is wrong with people?

Galuszka questioned a spokesman for the Kings Dominion theme park (and does that sound like a Christian right name for a theme park, or what?) who denied that the Miner’s Revenge attraction is based on any specific event. But Galuszka documents a number uncomfortable similarities between it and the 2010 mine disaster in Upper Big Branch, West Virginia, which killed 29 miners. He notes that three separate investigations into the Upper Big Branch disaster have found that the cause was the “atrocious safety policies” of Massey Energy, the company which employed the miners.

You may ask, what has been done to improve safety policies since that awful catastrophe? The answer: absolutely nothing. Galuszka says that legislation to improve mine safety “languishes in Congress.” But of course.

But look, at least those 29 men didn’t die, and their families didn’t suffer, in vain. Their agonizing deaths are being served up for fun and profit to the gawking, peanut-crunching masses. And hey, that’s something, innit?

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee

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