As if my beloved St. Louis hometown hasn’t had enough bad news over the past year, Friday morning a 58 year old woman was fatally struck by a light rail train on my side of the river. Sandie Konopelski was walking the Metrolink tracks near Belleville, IL around 8:00 AM that morning when she was killed by the mass transit train.
After reading those first two sentences, you may be wondering what in the hell I’m covering this story on my blog for. I’m generally not a Debbie Downer, and the only grief and agony I typically dish out to my readers are usually your responses to my lame attempts at humor. However, if you click on the link for the official story on this incident by STL Today, you will instantly see how it ties into The Nest….
Ms. Konopelski worked as a wildlife rescue volunteer, and the reason she was in the path of a speeding train in the first place was because she was responding to a call expressing concern about a wayward opossum on the tracks. Yes, this woman lost her life trying to rescue a fucking possum.
While I applaud the efforts of those like Ms. Konopelski who come to the aid of wild little critters that most thoughtless people would rather put out of their misery, the problem with possums is that they’re little walking suicide machines. They are extremely slow (both physically and mentally), they love to play in areas where big motorized machines can inflict massive harm on them, and of course they are very squishable.
You’ve all laughed, cried, and uncontrollably barfed over the various gruesome deaths I have put Buster through in my Thursday comic strips. However, the sad truth is that most possums really do have about the same shitty luck with staying alive that Buster has in my fictional world. It’s like the little marsupials are just born to be flattened on some rural road.
And so the question must be asked…. is it really worth it to ever attempt to rescue a possum from its natural born desire to become flat as a furry pancake? We at The Nest think not. And not because we don’t totally love the mangy little guys, because you know we definitely do! But it’s every possum’s destiny to die under the spinning wheels of human transportation, and sometimes it’s just not wise to intervene as nature takes its cruel course.
While it’s unfortunate that Ms. Konopelski’s passion for our underappreciated wildlife cost her her life, it’s also quite possible that her action did in fact save that possum’s life. And while it will survive only to be obliterated when it waddles in front of an 18 wheeler later on this week… it no doubt is very appreciative for the heroic actions of its fallen savior…
I feel sorry for this woman… and yes, I’m with you for the possum …
I do as well. The people who shoot critters for the fun of it should be the ones in the path of oncoming trains…
that’s a wise solution of a problem …. :o)
Does this fit into the category of “no good deed goes unpunished?” Sure sounds like it. It’s not just possums, either. Tortoises develop a fixation with The Other Side of the Road. Wild turkeys, too … and they have a whole attitude issue as well as a death wish. Sigh.
The skunks seem to be as unlucky as the possums, though at least they get to go out with a bang and be remembered for weeks after they were flattened….
Poor Ms Konopelski 😦 Didn’t she see/hear the train coming?
I was interested to find out the difference between “opossum” and “possum” and found some pictures of the Australian/NZ one vs the US one. The Ozzie one is very cute! In fact, one of the pictures I found described them as “Australian – cutie, American – freaky”. Heh heh 🙂
As far as I know, possum is just a shortened (and much more popular) monicker for opossum. But yes, as I’m sure Aunt Sharon will also cheerfully chime in with, the Aussie possums are extremely cute…. whereas our Virginia opossums are…. well, an acquired taste.
Poor lady (and family)!
Totally cracking up at that whale pic/caption though.
The penguin buffet line is one of my favorite Photoshops I’ve seen! If I had a picture of a line of possums, I could make one of them waiting their turn to stroll out in front of a truck…
Sad story about misplaced good deeds, Bill. Really, the moral is to stay off the train tracks, people, they’re dangerous.
That’s true. We have so many railroad tracks round here, that trains are a way of life, and death….
I did that bus trip to Pella yesterday and on the way home we hit a fucking pheasant at 70 mph. *THUMP*
I’ll bet that left a mark on the windshield!
my chime is they are all look cute to me but aussie possies are adorable. I must caution my friend who is a wildlife rescue volunteer and has baby possums in pouches in her garden. Be very careful I will tell her!
Baby aussie possies in pouches sound toxic cute!!!! 🙂
I second the observation above that surely she should have heard the train coming? Or at least had the sense to check and keep checking for a train and kept out of its way. I guess sometimes it’s natural selection in process even with us humans…
Yeah, I’m not sure what was up with that. The Metrolink trains aren’t that noisy, but having caught them for years as a student, I know there’s no way you can not hear, or even feel one coming. Which brings us back to the curse of the possum…