Some People Are Stupid. Some People Are Lucky. And Some Are Both.

Take this guy, for example. He came to a railroad crossing while out riding his bike and decided to ignore the flashing red lights and the clanging bell and go around the gates.  He ended up under the locomotive with injuries to both legs … but alive.

While I haven’t kept an actual count, I think it’s fair to say that incidents of people being hit by trains – in their cars or on bicycles or on foot – happen at the rate of about one-a-day.

Almost all of these incidents are avoidable … attributable to human carelessness, inattention, stupidity or all-of-the-above. Some, tragically, are suicides.

I’ve always wondered why some poor soul would deliberately choose that particular way to exit this life. So I recently put the question to a former classmate of mine, a distinguished psychologist, now retired, but with years of experience in treating and counseling patients, including some who were thinking about suicide. What I got back was a thoroughly interesting and detailed explanation, which was summed up in one sentence:

“The choice of train suicide is most likely made because of its high lethality and low agony when compared to other methods of suicide.”

Makes sense! People choose suicide-by-train because it’s quick, it’s certain, and it only hurts for a second.

It’s quite different for the engineer at the controls when someone steps in front of the locomotive. Many of them end up in therapy themselves. And a few are never again able to get back into the cab.

That hurt lasts for a long, long time.