Friday, March 02, 2007

I woke up this morning to the sound of helicopters buzzing over my house, and I knew something unusual was up.

The alarm clock radio was playing the usual songs, I think it was "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash, but then the traffic guy came on and announced something about I-75 being completely shut down. All southbound lanes were closed, during the morning southbound rush hour no less.

That got me up. Something different was happening.

A terrible accident, a tragedy. As you've probably heard, a bus flipped over off of an overpass here in Atlanta and crashed to the highway below. A baseball team from a Mennonite college in Ohio. Speculation is that the driver took the bus up the limited access exit ramp, the white diamond lane, thinking he had an express lane all the way through Atlanta. At the end of the ramp, he realized his error, cut his wheels to try and make the sharp turn at high speed, lost control, and the centripetal force flipped the bus onto its side, and off of the overpass.

That overpass, Northside Drive at I-75, is within easy walking distance from my house. It's the entrance to the highway I take every day to work (at least until they opened a new Starbucks at Howell Mill, one block over). It's just over there, right over that hill.

The physical proximity made me feel the reality of the event - this wasn't just a news story, it was real life. As I watched on television the story that was unfolding two blocks away, I thought about walking over to the scene with my camera so I could post some pictures, but then I saw the bodies.

Six dead. The television news showed the bodies wrapped in sheets laying on the side of the road under the overpass, but I don't think they knew what they were showing. As the helicopters ducked lower and the cameras zoomed in under the bridge, the newscasters kept saying, "We have reports of four fatalities," while the cameras were clearly showing six bundles under the bridge.

Out of respect for the deceased and the terrible gravity of the situation, I decided to leave the scene alone. The last thing anyone there needed was me trying to get pictures to post on my blog.

I had a hard time getting to work. The bus had fallen across enough lanes of the highway that it completely stopped all traffic. Traffic was being diverted onto Northside Drive and onto Collier Road, streets I have to take to get virtually anywhere. I eventually eased my car into the crawling traffic, didn't even try to get to the Starbucks on Howell Mill, and headed north, against the gridlocked traffic, on Northside.

I stopped and got my coffee at Paces Ferry and reflected on the strange week. A 21-year-old man was arrested Monday after he tried to cash a $50,000 check from God at a bank in Indiana. The check was signed "King Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Servant," yet the man was arrested and may face jail time.

God, angry that his check wasn't honored, then sent a tornado into a high school in Enterprise, Alabama, killing eight students there. And to further make his point, he flips over a bus full of Mennonites on their way to a baseball game in Florida, killing another five. Eight plus five equals thirteen. The unlucky number, the number of his disciples.

And if all that isn't Old Testament enough for you, tomorrow he is expected to eclipse the moon. Now while some of you might be thinking that it's merely the shadow of the Earth passing over the moon, true believers know the Earth is not rotating, nor is is going around the sun. Just ask the Creationists (when have they ever been wrong?).

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