We are now starting to see glimpses of courage from those inside both the Toyota "sudden accleration" and West Virginia mine tragedies. First, we learned yesterday that on January 16, 2010, Irving A. Miller, then the group vice president for environmental and public affairs at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, sent an email to a Japanese colleague in which he “urged his colleagues to ‘come clean’ and admit it had mechanical problems with sticking accelerator pedals three days before the company met with federal authorities to discuss a recall.” He said, “We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet… The time to hide on this one is over. We need to come clean.” Mr. Miller retired from the company shortly after he sent this.
Then last night, NBC news reported that West Virginia miners are coming forward, anonymously so far, to confirm what many news reports have been speculating – that the mine was so unsafe it should have been shut down at least until it could be made safer. One miner spoke in silhouette, fearing retaliation. It is a difficult admission for anyone whose livelihood depends on working at these mines. Given the circumstance, it took a good deal of courage. You can watch it here: