The news from the Flagler College Gargoyle this month is about Train Hopping. Immediately I thought of the book “On the Run” by Jack Kerouac, and was ready to read about a fun adventure with quirks and funny stories of wanderers making their way. Instead, the story is about college students doing dangerous things in imitation of wanderers who have to take the risks because they have no money or transportation.
What are the risks? The article (link below) tells of officers with tasers, the illegality of hopping, falling into a ditch and having allergic reactions to fire ant bites, convincing police to forget found pot, jailtime and unfriendly police in various parts of the east coast.
The writer of the article notes how Beasley, the interviewed hopper, wants people to know that there is a form of transportation that is free. But it isnt free. Companies that move freight as a business unwillingly provide the service to these guys and gals. While I am interested in the story of the people who actually need to train hop in order to panhandle in various cities (I want t0 understand what the need is and how to help), the story here is much less interesting. Why?
These travelers tried trains because (1) it sounds fun, (2) it is free if you don’t get caught, and (3) it is unusual. It is a form of entertainment. Honestly, I wish that Beasley got pictures of the homeless that employ this. I wish this was more than self-serving as well. I wish that they weren’t just trying to avoid paying for services. The story is interesting, but in the end, 99.9% of the real story left out.
Read and respond to the Flagler Gargoyle Article here.