Thursday, January 27, 2005

Train wrecks waiting to happen

For something that's statistically rare, it hits me as odd that this is my fourth train wreck story.

The first two I covered when I was just starting my news career in Bakersfield. The third was not quite two years ago in the City of Commerce and now we have the Metrolink/suicide attempt from yesterday.



If you watched any news at all yesterday or listened to the radio, then you probably got the complete story already.



There's not a lot that I could tell of what went on behind the scene that would be of interest. We covered the story to the best of our ability.

One small thing that I found pretty great, Costco provided free food all day. Sweet. A nearby Starbucks opened up later in the afternoon and gave out free coffee and hot chocolate to the media.



I got called in early at 11:30am and worked through our late newscast at 11:00pm. That's a pretty long day for me even though I'm not active that whole time, I have to be alert for anything that might be important to our coverage.



By the time the sun had set and we started our nightside coverage of the accident, we knew that 11 people had died and the suspect believed to be responsible for the crash had been arrested.



The suspect was believed to be trying to kill himself and lost his nerve. I've always been strongly against suicide. Maybe my happy-go-lucky outlook on life oversimplifies the problems and complexities that other people might face. Maybe I've never had to experience the types of problems that the suspect faced.



Even though I know life isn't meant to be "fair", I just believe that the people on that train deserved better. It's horrible to think they were killed and never knew what was coming.

They were in a perfectly safe environment. They weren't in a bad neighborhood or doing something anyone would consider risky.



I never wish death on anybody and I'm almost willing to cut the suspect a little slack, because really he didn't intend to kill anybody.

Well, he intended to kill himself, but that didn't work out.

I know it's wrong of me to feel this way, but when I think of the pain and suffering he caused, I can't help thinking that the suspect should have tried a little harder.

9 comments:

Tara said...

What a senseless way to die. Tragic.
How you cover all this, I'll never know. You're stronger than me, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Tara - I think we're all as strong as we need to "be".

gemmak said...

I heard a news flash about this yesterday pm and immediately thought of you.....not a nice job this one for you, how you remain cheerful is sometimes beyond me.

I have no problem with suicide as such and I hope I understand, or at least accept that some poor souls are that desperate. What I don't understand is why it must involve the death of innocent bystanders. Let's face it, there are plenty of options that don't require the deaths of so many innocent people. Very sad for all concerned.

Karlita said...

He was too chicken to kill himself, so instead he kills 11 people. I agree with you, he should've tried A LOT harder.

Michelle said...

Those who choose suicide are selfish fu*&^. They inevitably leave loved ones and families behind who are wanting questions answered. Its ok if you have no family, however i find this is rarely the case. Now days, there are places, shelters,doctors etc for people to go to for help.
In saying all this, reports down under say this dude had mental probs and it was his 4th suicide attempt (most usually take about 3 go's before successful). I don't think he deserves the death penalty however community service and a lonnnnnnngggggggg strech in a psych facility with rehab is in order....perhaps he could do a stint a t the morgue or something.

beFrank said...

gemmak - I guess I feel like I owe it to life to live to the fullest no matter what. A lot of people feel as if they're owed something by life for simply being alive or by having suffered.

I smile because I'm reminded often how random life can "be".

beFrank said...

Michelle - After considering it later in the week, I think I need to apologize to everyone for my post. It's difficult to not react out of frustration and anger over the loss of life suffered so needlessly. That's still doesn't make it right to have written what I did. I don't want to be a hypocrite, my immediate honest reaction was what it was. I realize after reading your post that I was casually wishing for death on the man responsible and that's not right.

It's not always easy to believe it, but life is precious and the man needs help more than he needs me to pass judgement on him.

I'm not any less angry, but it ain't for me to judge him.

Grace said...

Is it true he was at the hospital earlier, having attempted suicide? and they let him go?...perhaps he should have been admitted. Doesn't that make the hospital and doctors who let him loose in such a state partially liable? I know they can'yt keep everyone who doesn't hav good insurance, but, ....

beFrank said...

Thomai - I hadn't heard that, but it sounds very possible. If true, in hindsight the hospital should absolutely have done more. It's just hard to say if the hospital should be held liable without more info.