My husband and I had this brought into our lives this past week. The stupidity of a couple of teenagers in Minnesota impacted the lives of people and businesses across the country.
We are on vacation at the moment. Last Saturday we took a commuter train to Chicago then were scheduled to board the Empire Builder at 2:15 PM and travel west. We didn't leave Chicago until 6:30. It was pretty amazing that we were only 4 hours late when we heard the causes which led to our delay.
If you're superstitious you may blame Friday the 13th. I'm not but I can see how people might think the chain of events worthy of the traditional view. The Empire Builder journey's daily between Chicago and Seattle. It is supposed to arrive in Chicago around 3 - 4 PM and leave the next day after the train is cleaned and restocked. The crew has the night to sleep off the train to be fresh and ready to head out the next day at 2:15 PM.
The trip to Chicago that day had a series of happenings causing it to not arrive on Friday afternoon but 18 hours late. A freight train derailed 16 cars causing traffic back ups and detours. Because of the detour, the engineers and conductors had to be bussed to the train rather than change at the normal station. Delays with freight trains having the right of way. But, you say, none of that was caused by someone sinning. You're right. It's what comes next.
In front of the Empire Builder was a freight train. I'm don't know if there were other trains between. It doesn't matter. On the tracks were a couple of teenagers. Were they drunk, high, or just plain selfish and stupid? I don't know and they can't be asked. They are now dead, hit by the freight train.
Once the freight train hit the teenagers all traffic on the rails stops. The coroner must come, the mess cleaned up, who knows what all must be done before the trains can run again. All told it adds another 6 hours to the lateness of the passenger train. It adds that much to all the freight trains using the tracks as well.
The sin of those teenagers demonstrates stupidity. It caused a tsunami through their families and friends. The wave continued out from the point of impact all across the nation with stopped freight trains. The lives of the Amtrak employees and passengers were swept along in the flood of consequences.
Would the Empire Builder still have been late getting into Chicago? Yes. It would not have had the additional 6 hours all the trains along that route had to endure. There's no way I can estimate the cost of the 6 hours. The loss of life and grief of loved ones is beyond price. The cost to businesses, the train staff having no time for rest between the trains arrival and departure. The aggravation to the passengers waiting for four hours in Union Station. The delays on the route heading west.
Sin makes you stupid. Stupid sinful choices drove a tsunami wave across the midwest and who knows how much of the rest of the nation.