I worked in the northern suburbs on Friday. On the way home, I was forced to detour from my regular route when I encountered a railroad crossing blocked by yellow police tape. A few police cars with flashing lights were stationed nearby and a train was parked at the station north of the crossing. I didn't see any evidence of an auto wreck, so I assumed that the crossing was closed because the gates had malfunctioned. Later, I learned that a 70-year-old pedestrian had been hit by a train--probably the one parked north of the crossing.
Assuming this was not an accident but a suicide, is it meaningfgul that the pedestrian would choose to do this during Friday rush hour along a busy commuter track in a very upscale neighborhood? I think so. Though the train wasn't a commuter train, commuter trains make up most of the traffic at that hour. He could easily have chosen a desolate area along a freight route. People do that sometimes.
So was this an angry statement directed toward a world he felt had harmed or abandoned him?
You will notice me! You killed m! Think about that as you try to enjoy the weekend in your comfy home with your wife and children.
Something like that? Just speculating.
I'll tell you who is going to think about this and suffer a great deal: the engineer who was driving that train. Suicides and accidents resulting in death are horrible experiences for railroad engineers. Trains can't stop on a dime, so the engineer watches helplessly as the tragedy unfolds.
A few years ago, an acquaintance lost his daughter in a train-auto collision at a railroad crossing. By coincidence, I also knew the engineer who had hit the car driven by the girl. We once had a conversation about the experience (he was not a patient). He told me that he suffered horrific nightmares on and off for a year after the accident.