Yesterday, it was with some chagrin and a more than a little irritation that I read, yet another, story about an incredibly unlucky, homo sapien being run over by a speeding train. Exercising my 1st Amendment Right, I drafted and submitted my irritation as a response to the story in Redding.com, the Record Searchlight for basement dwellers.
Today, much to my dismay, I saw that my response had been taken down, “Because the attending staff has that discretion, when there is an ‘objection’ to the post”, according to editor Bruce Ross.
Well, that was my fault. With the simpering, whimpering masses converging on Redding.com, like crotch crickets in the Castro, I should have known that my practical, reasoned and comprehensive observations were going to crimp the tender sensibilities of those ignorant of the mathematical chances of this event happening. Let me explain.
At the South St. rail crossing in Anderson, Ca., the width of the rails at that crossing is exactly the same as every other crossing in America, a little over 4’. And with the width of the train, the exposure to an oncoming train is about 8’, give or take. Add to that, the total time the average 80 or 90 car train going through that spot is about 1 to 2 minutes, give or take. And I suspect there are about 6 or 8 trains, per day, taking up that spot, for that amount of time, give or take.
I will clarify again, for those wishing to protest my thesis, that this oncoming train cannot go left or right, up or down and cannot stop within the space that the train’s engineer first spots the intruder. I say intruder, because the train HAS the legal right of way. It is the duty of the crosser NOT to be there when the train is. They cannot both occupy the same space at the same time. Hey, it’s physics, I didn’t make this up.
Now, considering that very few crossers are both deaf and blind, that just leaves the stupid, drunk, drugged (aka stupid) and incredibly unlucky left as “Rail Road Kill”. But it gets better. Considering that each train only requires about 2 minutes max to pass, at no more than 8 trains a day, that’s only 16 minutes out of 24 hours that you cannot occupy the rail bed.
So what we have here are chances well beyond shark bites, lightning strikes and falling off Mt. Rushmore on a Brahma Bull as chances of death.
For Christ’s sake, we are entering the realm of winning the Lotto, as more likely than getting hit, much less killed, by a train. It certainly rates right up there with buying the first Batmobile for $1, then selling it for $4 million.
Of course the chattering masses, when not deleting my posts, were all twitterpated at the notion that it could have been suicide. Well duh, but what’s the point of pointing out the obvious? The guy won’t be doing it again and those that admire him for it, will not be stopped being a copy cat, unless either their parents smack them upside the noodle at an early age or they have a come-to-Jesus moment first. Forget them being discouraged by any new knee-jerk Law.
No sir, you really have to work at it to get run over by a train. You have to IGNORE the right of way, you have to IGNORE the train horn, you have to IGNORE the coming rumble, you have to IGNORE the crossing bars, lights and alarms, you have to IGNORE the surrounding citizens waving their arms and yelling obscenities, you have to IGNORE just about every sensory protection, including the common sense to get the Hell out of the way. YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME…STUPID. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE DIESEL.
I guess my misplaced frustration is with the victim and not those that wile away the hours grieving for him, when they should be grieving for the engineer. Grief was foist upon him, through no fault of his own. This disaster, by definition, may not be his first. But you know it’s something that, unlike the self inflicted victim, he will have to live with this forever.