Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Trains and Stop Signs

Crossing the tracks to talk to the cops...had to snap a photo.
All the reporters in the newsroom take turns covering the weekend. Frequently weekend coverage just means going to whatever event is happening that day. It also means covering breaking news.

For whatever reason, Norman has had a lot of people hit and killed by trains lately. And all have been on foot. I don't get why. It's not like you can't hear, feel or see a train coming. But nonetheless, it's been happening.

And after the University of Oklahoma's first home football game on Saturday. It happened again. I think the fourth time in three months.

We heard it over the police scanner in the newsroom first — the train had stopped. After chatting with the police on the phone for a minute, one of our photographers and I headed over to the scene to see if we could find out any more information.

It didn't feel real until I saw the woman's body, contorted, on the ground. They released the woman's identity today, a 34-year-old woman from Oklahoma City. But I'm not sure if they know, or will be able to know, what actually happened.

To say the least, I didn't get much sleep Saturday night.

I woke up Sunday morning and was on my way to church, I was driving through a crossroads when I noticed my stop sign was missing. I slammed on the breaks. There weren't any cars around, that I could see, but I wanted to be careful. I called the cops to let them know the 4-way stop was missing a stop sign. I sat, waiting to make sure they came by. Sure, nothing happened — but a missing stop sign, or someone who doesn't stop at a stop sign, could be bad, bad news.

Those 12 hours made me think about rules, laws, regulations and commandments. More often than not, we're given them — whether civil or religious — for our safety. When a law says to stay off the train tracks. Stay off. When a stop sign urges us to stop — stop. Of course, there's plenty of people who walk on tracks and live, many never even have to jump out of the way. But it can take your life, so why risk it?


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