Current weather

  • Clear sky
  • 79°
    Clear sky
  • Comment

Nothing romantic about train trespassing

Posted: March 27, 2013 - 12:02am
Photo by Jim Blaylock    Columbia County Animal Services Manager Linda Glasscock and Field Officer Eric Atkinson play with the four dogs that were picked up with a group of people who were caught riding a train in Grovetown on March 16. The dogs are being held at the Animal Services shelter until the owners are released from jail.  Photo by Jim Blaylock   
Columbia County Animal Services Manager Linda Glasscock and Field Officer Eric Atkinson play with the four dogs that were picked up with a group of people who were caught riding a train in Grovetown on March 16. The dogs are being held at the Animal Services shelter until the owners are released from jail.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Columbia County Animal Services Manager Linda Glasscock and Field Officer Eric Atkinson play with the four dogs that were picked up with a group of people who were caught riding a train in Grovetown on March 16. The dogs are being held at the Animal Services shelter until the owners are released from jail.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Columbia County Animal Services Manager Linda Glasscock and Field Officer Eric Atkinson play with the four dogs that were picked up with a group of people who were caught riding a train in Grovetown on March 16. The dogs are being held at the Animal Services shelter until the owners are released from jail.

We’ve all likely seen the Depression-era images of desperate train-hoppers riding America’s rails in search of jobs. The novelty of six recent arrests demonstrates that we’re obviously less accustomed to 20-somethings illegally trespassing on trains in search of aimless adventure.

Railroad companies are familiar with both, which is why they vigorously ferret out, arrest and prosecute train-hoppers – including the six who were caught March 16 by CSX Railroad police when the train on which they’d stowed away stopped briefly in Grovetown while en route from Atlanta to Savannah.

Plenty of people in the community have been dismissive of the charges against the six modern-day hoboes, even expressing their own fantasies about a vagabond lifestyle. Certainly, the idea of freely roaming the country flashes across everyone’s minds occasionally, especially when it’s sunny outside and job duties keep the daydreamer chained to a desk.

But those flights of fancy give way to the reality that 442 pedestrians were killed on train property last year alone. With those kinds of numbers, rail companies aren’t going to be lenient with train-hoppers. In our hyper-litigious society, surely no one rationally believes the railroads should simply look the other way as people sneak aboard freight trains for a free ride – one that might leave the stowaway dead or locked inside a car for days on end.

Having said all that, 38 days in jail seems like a somewhat hefty price to pay for what amounts to trespassing. The six arrested in Grovetown don’t appear to have the means to post their $1,100 bonds, and will have to sit in jail until their April 23 court date.

Still, four of them are even more fortunate that they were caught in Columbia County, where a compassionate manager of the county’s Animal Services is looking after their pets until the owners are released.

Without human intervention, it’s entirely possible that all four dogs could have been released to adoption or even euthanized while their owners continue to enjoy the taxpayer-funded hospitality at the Columbia County Detention Center. The owners’ actions endangered not only themselves, but their pets, too.

It probably won’t happen, but we wouldn’t object to turning them loose (at least, the ones without scary criminal records) with time served – right after they spend a few days of community service cleaning up the county’s kennels.

  • Comment

Comments (3)

Riverman1

Columbia County Famous

No one is saying it's a good idea to hop on trains. I knew a guy once who tried it and was killed. Still the whimsical nature of these kids with the dogs is a modern day "Boxcar Kids" that got our attention. They appear to be harmless souls. I can't see giving them any time in jail beyond their time served by the time they go to court. The story could even have a happy ending if they would find help and jobs here and decide to stay. They could be Columbia County famous.

Sweet son

Maybe a Movie?

Sounds like the stuff of which movies are made! I actually do think it's romantic and those who participated and were killed knew the risks!

Little Lamb

Good Idea

I like your idea about rehabilitating the adventurers here in Columbia County, RM. As part of their probation, they could be ordered to become productive citizens of Columbia County, and the county could step up to the plate with assistance. First, the county could provide them with Section 8 vouchers for housing assistance. Next, provide job training. At least one of them could be given a job working with Linda Glasscock at the animal shelter. Internships at Georgia Iron Works, John Deere, the printing company over on Evans-to-Locks (whatever their name is this month), and other large industries in the county could be forthcoming. The medical district over there on Belair Rd. could provide health care until they get on their feet and pay their own premiums. Perhaps one of them might want to work at one of the clinics over there. The many Columbia County churches could attend to their spiritual needs. If it turns out good, there indeed could be a movie made about this, as Sween Son mentioned.

Follow News-Times:

News-Times Video »

CONTACT US

  • Main: 706-868-1222
  • Fax: 706-823-6062
  • Email: cnt@newstimesonline.com
  • 4272 Washington Rd, Suite 3B, Evans, Ga. 30809

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES