&#91EDITORIALS&#93Safety first - or last?

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Safety first - or last?

A ghastly hell is not the scene of the subway arson in Daegu. The hell is located inside us. Unless we change our practice of taking human life lightly, such man-made disasters will be repeated.

The Daegu subway arson, the second-largest subway disaster in the world, blew away at once the dignity of the world's 12th largest economy and the pride of having successfully hosting the World Cup games.

The ugly sight of burned subway cars is our self-portrait.

The world press says Korea is not ready to be called a developed country. We should take the criticism humbly and renew our respect for human life. As the foreign media said, we ran at a breakneck speed to become a developed country.

We highly valued the ideals of profitability, efficiency and feasibility; we worshiped money and fell in love with impetuosity. Safety was always ignored because it costs money. The neglect then returned to victimize us because we put no value on human lives.

How to distinguish an advanced country from an underdeveloped one depends largely on the citizenry's respect for life.

The arsonist said he wanted to die with many people because he was upset about his life. The subway station had no illuminated signs to show the way to exits. The interiors of the subway cars were built of flammable material. We are tired of emergency drills that are only a pretense. The reasons for the subway tragedy are little different from those of other tragedies, and a similar lack of safety-consciousness prevails in our society.

We must not forget the hundreds of lives lost. We send our condolence to the victims' families, friends and neighbors. We should not allow our citizens to die because they were living in a country with poor safety awareness. Respect for life should be a higher priority than money. We should improve safety conditions of our country based on that priority. No more lives should be sacrificed.
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