Today was a pretty blue day in DC. The city was both subdued and running very late. With the red line in two pieces and all the other lines delayed as a result, people seemed to be averaging about 30-45 minutes late. Which, in the scheme of things, isn't too shabby. While Metro doesn't typically handle the daily broken trains the best, when there's a big emergency, they can keep things running fairly well.
Overall, it seems as if people aren't too upset about the delays. Delays always happen; be it for a train, traffic, protest, bomb threat, or motorcade, it's just a fact of life down here. And at least in this situation, it's actually understandable. What seems to be the bigger issue is the media.
It started yesterday, when the national news outlets had more information about what was going on than the local stations. I actually found out about the incident from CNN. More than once today, someone mentioned they learned about what happened from an out-of-town relative checking in on them (the best story I heard was from a girl that works in my office building, whose brother called her after she finished up at the gym. He asked her if she was okay, and, unaware of the situation, she responded with "Dude, it was a rough workout, but I think I'll make it."). Part of this might've been because when the accident was originally reported, the severity might not have been clear-- as in, the early first responders were under the impression the cars bumped together. It wasn't until they saw what had actually happened that major back-up was called in. Additionally, Metro's automated alert system isn't equipped for situations like this. Metro's Twitter feed said there was a train with "mechanical difficulties" at Fort Totten long after the accident. Yeah-- mechanical difficulties.
Then today, the national media's going nuts, trying to pin blame on something, anything at all. Was it the old car Metro didn't check when they were supposed to? Was the driver inexperienced? Was she doing something she shouldn't have been doing?
I'm so angry with the media. I do appreciate them sensationalizing something that was initially seen as minor so that the word got out yesterday, but that's about it. What's particularly upsetting are the articles trying to malign the conductor because she hadn't been on the job for decades. For crying out loud, the woman just passed away-- show some freaking respect!
Truthfully, I think very few people in DC could care less what caused it. I think the main concern lays in the people who passed away, those injured, and how everyone's going to get to work/home. As much as I feel DC can give Mos Eisley a run on the wretched hive of scum and villainy title, I also think people here are pretty loyal and protective of one another (at least those off The Hill). Remember a couple of weeks ago with the shooting at the Holocaust Museum? Not everyone who left flowers and visited once it reopened were tourists. In many different ways, I think when the city's down, you start to see the best its people have to offer.
One great example of this are the interviews with the conductor's friends saying that she would've done anything in her control to prevent this from happening (later backed up by a report stating that not only was the train was running on automatic, but also showed signs of the emergency brake being pulled), and Mayor Adrian "Badass" Fenty's nimble smackdown of Matt Lauer when he tried to get him to admit that the conductor didn't have enough experience this morning. So priceless.
I have to add in my two cents-- Ms. McMillan used to drive my bus route. She was as kind and friendly to her passengers as the article implies.
Today calls for another silly Alice picture. Here it is:
I love this photo. Sure, it's a little blurry, but it's an action shot. This is from the Walk for the Animals event at the beginning of May. Look at that happy little face! She had such a good time that day.