Tuesday, January 25, 2005

In Which Two Fire-Related Stories Highlight Our Differences, Then Reveal Our Essential Similarities 

Oh, boo hoo hoo say all the New Yorkers about one little fire in a train station. "How will I get to work? How will I get to school?" Those 670,000 daily A and C riders will not stop whining about how their daily commutes will be a little harder for 3 to 5 years, possibly endangering their livelihoods. Buy a car, already!

Well, in America's heartland, we're having our own problems (note: I am not actually in America's heartland. But neither is David Brooks, so lay off):

Arson blamed in fire that killed hundreds of sheep
NERSTAND, Minn. -- Arson was to blame for the fire that killed more than 300 sheep at Shepherd's Way Farms in Rice County, state and county investigators announced Tuesday.

Susan Lasley, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said investigators determined the fire was started in the lamb nursery.

Veterinary students and staff of Shepherd's Way Farm continued this morning to treat the sheep that survived. However, "we're continuing to have to destroy more animals today,'' farm owner Steve Read said.

Of the 341 animals that died in the fire, 200 of them were lambs, she said.
In the emotional hours after the fire, Steve Read estimated that 550 sheep had been lost. On Tuesday, the number appeared to be significantly lower, but sheep continued to die from their injuries.

Gunshots occasionally rang out from behind another building as sheriff's deputies and others euthanized animals that were too badly injured.

Based on the local tv news reaction to a fire in a mostly-empty warehouse a couple weeks ago, I predict a Minneapolis anchor, wearing his best "serious" face, will refer to this as "the Minnesota Sheep community's own 9/11" by the end of the week (if one hasn't already).

So while you're waiting for your severely overcrowded and irregular A train service tomorrow, having paid your recently raised fare, on the way to your sub-minimum wage-paying restaurant job, just be grateful that the periodic gunshot-like noises you hear aren't cute li'l sheep being shot in cold blood by thick-mustachioed doughy midwestern sherrif's deputies, just (surly, non-cute) former station fare booth employees being shuttled to abandoned stations and (humanely) euthanized, as a cost-cutting measure. And when the train does come, it will be run by a robot. It's just the kind of customer service you've come to expect from the MTA, now in the 3rd fantastic year of their landmark "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" anti-terrorism campaign.

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