Just when I thought it was over...

With my last post I was hoping, almost desperately to move away from the public and institutional safety issues of the Sewol disaster and get back to things that I am both more apt and comfortable with writing about.

It seems however that fate did not have that in store for me. Halfway through work today I get a text from my girlfriend about how the train just in front of the train she was riding crashed at Sangwangshimni station (상왕십리역) on line 2. As this has just developed I don't want to jump to any conclusions or even guess what the problem here was, but from the twittering of my co-workers I gathered the incident happened around 3:30pm, and that 170 people were reported injured. I will update this with more verifiable information as I hear about it.

While the cause of this has yet to be reported, the collision was between two trains and it seems there wasn't a derailment. This doesn't bode well for anyone who voiced their commitment to improving the dismal adherence to safety regulations that appears to be far too commonplace, especially as the trains are supposed to have fail-safes that prevent this kind of collision. And it may prove true my prediction from a previous post in a most dramatic way. It is getting pretty difficult to be positive about travel in this country, and it makes my argument about manageable safety risks in regards to motorcycling ring a little more hollow than it otherwise would have.

UPDATE: It seems that in the week since I wrote this piece, this event has already garnered it's own Wiki page. To summarize for the lazy however. The total injuries went up to 238. This included everything from bruises to a few fractured collarbones and shoulders. In addition to this it seems that a faulty safety device was not reported after it was detected as faulty. This allowed for separate trains to get within 200 meters of each other and resulted in the crash as these trains were being manually operated.

UPDATE 2: Up until recently I've always been pleasantly surprised by the laissez-faire style of policing and government that existed in Korea. I realize now however, that in my appreciation of this I was ignoring a heavy influence on the government that called for more care to be given to the public. Those who were mistrustful and criticizing of the government had reason to be. Most likely this was always the case, and I was just happily unaware of it as I could enjoy drinking in public and not get arrested for it. That was a breath of fresh air from the neo-liberal protection bubble that seemed so stifling in America. The problem is, regardless of the safety issue... greed exists everywhere. In both America and Korea... And if left unchecked, greed is gonna fuck everything up...

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