Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sad Martin City Train-Car Crash

This morning, down in the Martin City area of Kansas City, a woman and her dog died after having their car struck by a train. According to the Kansas City Star's interview with a witness, the woman drove around the crossing arm, cleared the track, and then backed up so that she was in front of the locomotive. She was declared dead at the scene, as was the dog that was in the car with her.

This is extraordinarily sad, as it sounds as if this woman committed suicide by train. It serves as a reminder for everyone to look out for each other and care for each other. I wonder about this woman's friends, family and neighbors. When they realize or are notified of who this was, are they going to think about what they might have done or said? I've heard it said that suicide is a selfish act. I have never bought that idea, even though I understand where it comes from. Our strongest instinct is our instinct to save our lives. When we take our lives, something has gone seriously out of balance, whether brain chemicals, relationships with people and God, or something else. A suicide leaves a trail of hurt behind it. Often people are angry with a person for committing suicide.

A person with suicidal thoughts must seek help. I would say that when you get into this route of thinking, it is very hard to get out by yourself. You need some help from the community. Whether it's a community of one--a therapist or physician--or a community of several--family, church, therapy group, there must be reaching out. A break, a breath, some perspective, some medicine, and the lure of suicide is removed.

The woman has not yet been identified by authorities. Pray for her family and those who knew her. Pray also for the crew of the locomotive that struck her car. I have been told by retired engineers that this is one of the most difficult things that can happen in the course of their work.

Top photo: The crossing where the incident occurred. The view looks west, which is the victim's apparent direction of travel. The train was going north, from left to right in the photo. As you can see, the crossing is very well marked.
Bottom photo: A shot of an oncoming locomotive at a crossing near this area. I took this shot just because I like trains. It was hard to hang in there, looking at the loco coming closer and closer through my phone's viewfinder, even though I knew I was safely stopped behind the crossing arm. Remember, you can click on the photos to embiggen, they show in Picasa. Just use the back button to come back.


Capt. Schmoe said...

Sad indeed. We get a few suicides by train every year.

Usually, the victims are on foot and often this is the only way they can think of to do it.

Sometimes they just squat on the tracks, sometimes they put their fingers in their ears to stifle the sound of the horn. Once the person just stood with his back to the train and flipped it off with both middle fingers.

If the victim lays down on the tracks, it usually makes a mess that goes on for a quarter mile or more. The coroner's aides have to pick up the pieces, it usually takes a while.

If you are going to choose the train method, you really want to die.

Sad for this lady and also for her dog. She must have been desperate.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
This is very sad.

I am with you, I don't believe it is intrinsically a selfish act. Many times depressed people have tried to be useful to others and feel they have failed.

But it does radiate out. This is a very compassionate post and I thank you for discussing a difficult subject.

Ann T.

P.S. There is a photo of daffs waiting for you--not exceptional, but the best one of three.

the observer said...

Capt Schmoe and Ann T.
Thanks for reading and commenting. I write from both the point of view of provider of care, and unfortunately, experience of the illness of depression.

Reading comments to this news story revealed an amount of anger, as well as a lot of compassion on the part of KC news readers and viewers. I suspect more people have been affected by suicide then would ever let on, if not afforded the degree of anonymous the internet can give.

The Observer