A death on the Metrolink near my home

This morning as Trini and I walked in what is a regular routine for us most mornings, we came across a stopped Metrolink train near the Sylmar/San Fernando station, a 15-minute stroll from our house. As many of you know, in recent years LA has been hit with some horrendous train accidents--11 killed in Glendale, 25 killed in Chatsworth, and 2 just about two weeks ago near downtown. This does not take into account the ones and twos killed in suicides or accidents in intersections with cars.

People were standing around as passengers on the train were left to wait, although they were a short distance from the station. We asked what happened. Across from us, on the side of the track, was the dead body of a man. He looked in his 60s. Apparently, he had stepped into the train's path just five minutes before we got there. It looked like a suicide, although at that point nobody really knew. People said they heard a loud sound as the train hit the man. His shirt was up to his chest and he had terrible marks on his body, and his face had blood. He was dead--as paramedics soon found out, placing a white sheet over him.

Trini and I were saddened, always, when someone goes like this. Again, who knows why, but regardless I said a short prayer for him in my head to commend him to the Creator's benevolent hands. For the rest of us, we have to find out why the LA Metrolink and Metro lines are so dangerous. Of course, if someone wants to die there's not much you can do about that. But the other accidents posed questions of real rail safety for the thousands who use these trains--including my 14-year-old son, Luis, who takes the Metrolink to downtown's Union Station, then a bus, to get to LA County's High School for the Arts on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles in East LA. He makes the return trip every evening.

It's the best way for Luis to go, and normally the safest. But this is becoming a big question mark for us.

Suicides tend to mount in times of deep crisis. We are in a crisis in housing, jobs, debt, as well as politically, culturally, and spiritually. Both Republicans and Democrats have responsibility in this, but so too the rest of us. We just got a call from one of Tia Chucha's staff that her brother, 14 years old, has been cutting himself. This is generally a response by young people to a world gone numb. We can't just be negative, sidelined or unresponsive. We have to make a move, any move, although it's better that this move have purpose, meaning and some long lasting outcomes.

People are not really living. Live out your true natures, your stories, the songs in your head, your dreams. Whenever people do this, they won't want war, money, greed, fame, or power (that's the purview of those who have abandoned their real purposes and gifts). Peace comes from inside of us. We're letting some wounded, raging, narrow-minded, superficial and foolish people run things--the government, the banks, industry, the bureaucracies, and even our families.

So I say prayers for everyone. But I also try to make good things happen. Think about that, every day, do something good for others. Do it from your own nature. Your own art. Your own practice. I don't know that man who died today along the train track. But his death has to help the rest of us realize--if you live a full life, you'll help others do the same. Be the change, as they say, be the life, the dream. The hope.


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