Some of us have chuckled. Some of us have laughed out loud. Some of us have thought about payback, going around/coming around, and karma.
Some of us have even said what we thought and said before the video became available, with the video now supplying incontrovertible evidence: "Senator, you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about when it comes to rail safety. Railroad rights-of-way are not for playing, electioneering, fund-raising, vogueing, posturing, personal agendas, photo opportunities, or press conferences."
Sure, we laughed. And just as certainly, there's nothing funny here. There's nothing funny in an official who has been denouncing a railroad for what he considers gross incompetence, irresponsiblity, and near-criminal negligence, almost getting his clock cleaned by a train operating at 70 mph. There's nothing funny about a senator, a member of a parliamentary body-- a body that passed legislation requiring the installation of tactile warning strips on passenger platforms in order to indicate the approaching edge of that platform to the visually disabled-- ignoring the tactile warning strip and almost getting his clock cleaned by a train operating at 70 mph.
Truth be told, we laugh because it's not funny. We laugh because it makes us nervous. It scares us, those of conversant with and responsible for safe train operations, and it scares us not because we're concerned with the well-being of a senator, or all senators.
On the contrary, it scares us because of our concern for the railroad. It scares us because of our concern for the locomotive engineer in the operating cab of that train, who is, and must be, responsible for the safety of his/her train, and the crew members and passengers on that train, but is helpless to prevent anyone from exercising a full measure of evolutionary maladaptive arrogance/ignorance, a measure of which clearly senators have more than others, and some senators have even more than other senators.
We develop rules to anticipate and pre-empt, as much as possible, that full measure of evolutionary maladaptive arrogance/ignorance that jeopardizes our operations, our employees, our service, and yes indeed, our revenue streams. We even create special job categories-- flagman, employee-in-charge-- to protect the interests of the railroad when there are activities that might obstruct train movements.
If the senator had bothered to advise, in the interests of safety, the operating personnel of the railroad of his intended activities, the railroad would have assigned such an employee in order to protect its own interest, and coincidentally save him from something much worse than looking like a fool. Nothing personal, senator, but until you attend a roadway-worker-protection class, also provided by the railroad, stay off the property.
I wonder if that locomotive engineer filed a close-call confidential report after completing his/her run?
April 22, 2014
Remember this: "Employees and other personnel must expect the movement of trains in either direction at any time".