Beware of Waking the Neighbors –Cagle
CRUEL LESSON: The brutal winter many of us experienced earlier this year wasn't relegated to the United States, obviously, but one sad tale of trying to keep warm from India has an unfortunate printing slant. Seven people—six of them children 11 years of age and younger—were burning waste material in a drum this past January. Tragically, the drum they chose was located outside of a printing plant in New Delhi and contained some pressroom chemicals.
The resulting explosion left three of the youngsters with burns on 55-60 percent of their bodies, according to The Times of India. The others suffered minor injuries. Apparently, the kids (and one adult) were huddled around the drum with temperatures around 40 degrees, accompanied by icy winds.
These children are known as rag pickers in India. These extremely impoverished victims, many of whom never attend school, sift through garbage for items that can be recycled or sold at flea markets. Adding insult to injury are the middle men who prey on the kids and take most of the profit, keeping them perpetually poor.
We tend to think of India as a country that produces intellectuals by the truck load, especially doctors and technology professionals. Unfortunately, no country in the world is completely spared from crippling poverty and a lack of educational opportunities. For these six kids, it was the harshest of lessons in a life that likely promises many more.
R.I.P. JOHN: John Sweeney Jr., 62, died in late February while in an Allentown, PA, hospice. He worked for 32 years as a material handler at Mack Printing, which became Cenveo Easton, before retiring in 2010. Judging by the condolences book on The (Easton, PA) Express Times Website, it seems Mr. Sweeney became sick and spent his final days in the hospice.