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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Punked by God and Gravity

Posted by on March 21 at 6:55 AM

In the forthcoming Last Days column, I refer to the phenomenon of ridiculous death, those instances of fatal horror so terrible and perverse they register as something close to comedy.

Last night I was reminded there still exist things beyond the reach of such humor, as this BBC report makes clear.

Not-so-long story short: Yesterday in Uruguay, thousands of people gathered to watch a taping of the television show A Challenge to the Heart, in which contestants raise money for local charities by completing challenges set by the network. Today’s charity was a hospital in the town of Young, and the challenge required contestants to maneuver a train a certain distance down railway tracks. Maybe it was wind, or an incline, but somehow, as contestants pushed and pulled the train and its two carriages, the train gained speed, running over a number of contestants, injuring eleven, killing eight. Limbs were severed, and the accident was witnessed by nearly 3,000 schoolchildren.

“Local authorities have declared three days of mourning,” reports the BBC.

Full story here.

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Who do we blame? Japan, or America?

Regardless, this won't be funny for at least ten years.

Oh, how a hardened heart breaks.

But a very appropriately named show. Recovering from witnessing this will indeed be a great Challenge to the Heart.

How is that ridiculous? Tragic, yes, but not ridiculous. They have crocs in Botswana, and he had a good reason to be there. Ridiculous would have been if it was Steve Irwin, holding his baby over the side of the boat.

Why is the story linked by Boobee ridiculous?

The answer comes from the story's first sentence, which is also its first 'graph:

"Dr. Richard K. Root, a gifted clinical teacher at the University of Washington Medical School and former chief of medicine at Harborview Medical Center, moved to Botswana earlier this month to help alleviate Africa's desperate shortage of doctors and nurses."

And, as everyone knows, feeding doctors to crocodiles is one of the least effective ways of combatting a shortage of doctors.

exactly. i meant no disrespect to Dr. Root. i actually worked with him. it's horrific.

exactly. i meant no disrespect to Dr. Root. i actually worked with him. it's horrific.

I clicked on the comments just to see how many people were pissed off at the suggestion that this (quite funny) story could be funny. I'm only moderately dissapointed.

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