unfortunate editorial choices

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Jan 20 04:56:28 UTC 2005

from the 1/19/05 Palo Alto Daily News, p. 1 headline
   local hit by
   train, dies

the sad story of "Robert Pringle, a 54-year-old father of three and
member of one of the Peninsula's most recognized families", who died
after being struck by a Caltrain in Menlo Park.  the p. 1 story says:
"The coroner has not ruled on the cause of death."

the jump from p. 1 to the continuation on p. 58 is CALTRAIN.

alas, the pickup on p. 58 is SUICIDE.  a precipitous judgment, an
unfortunate editorial choice, though likely to be accurate.

well, we have a suicide a month, roughly, on the train line that runs
south from san francisco, north from san jose, just two blocks from my
house.  level grade crossings, so you can just walk out onto the line
and face your death as you want to.  distraught teenagers, the down and
out, the lonely elderly slipping uncontrollably into alzheimer's,
people of all ages and stations who are depressed, often without their
friends and families having any sense of the depth of their despair.
some of them lie down on the tracks or curl into a ball, so as not to
be so visible.  some of them face the oncoming train right on, standing

it's hell on the engineers who drive the trains.


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