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Risky activity proved deadly
SOMETIMES YOU have to use a little common sense and take responsibility for your own welfare.
No story accentuates these philosophies better than Monday night’s tragic deaths of two young women buried under a sea of coal after cars of a CSX freight train derailed and killed them in Ellicott City, Md.
According to published reports, the two 19-year-old friends, Rose Mayr and Elizabeth Nass, were celebrating their final day before going back to school by sitting on a railroad trestle in the middle of the night.
Sitting on a narrow railroad bridge in the middle of the night with your feet dangling? How crazy is that? You talk about inviting disaster!
I know that the odds of a derailment are one in a million, but sometimes the odds catch up with you. No one loves trains more than me, but every time one passes within 50 feet of me I wonder if it will derail.
Maybe I am overly cautious, but I have enough sense to know that any kind of railroad car on the move is a multi-ton missile that has the potential to kill.
That’s why railroad crossing arms are placed some distance from the tracks, so a derailed boxcar won’t strike a sitting automobile.
With all due respect to the two victims, sitting on a railroad bridge in the middle of the night with a half-mile long freight train roaring past you—mere feet away—goes beyond foolhardiness.
To be drinking, as one of Nass’ final tweets reportedly indicates, while sitting there only enhances the possibility of tragedy.
Walking down a railroad track is one thing; walking across a railroad bridge is something else entirely.
Several years ago a fisherman not far from my home was walking along a railroad bridge to get back to his car. He was caught in no-man’s land when a train approached and could not outrun the diesel engine. He was killed. Trains are unforgiving.
I know young people sometimes do stupid things, and teenagers think they will live forever. The reality, however, is that we live in an already dangerous world and human life is extremely fragile. There is no sense in asking for trouble.
Unfortunately, people do it all the time. Think about how many mountain climbers get caught in avalanches or fall to their death climbing icy peaks just for the challenge of it.
If there were a pot of gold at the top of the mountain, I could understand it, but there isn’t. The climb is just for fun and excitement. Sometimes other lives are lost trying to save stranded climbers, not to mention the cost involved.
Sitting on a narrow railroad bridge in the middle of the night is just as dangerous as scaling an icy mountain cliff, at least in my book. Both involve intentionally putting oneself in harm’s way and increasing the odds for disaster.
Yes, some people, especially kids, think they are indestructible. But they’re not.
Whether you’re driving drunk, climbing a sheer rock cliff or sitting on a railroad trestle in the middle of the night, you are just inviting trouble.
And if you’re on a railroad bridge drinking and dangling your feet off the edge and a 9,000-ton coal train comes along, there is no place to run, especially if it derails.
That’s just common sense.