A Stranger reader is not happy with Katie Herzog's post about the mystery cyclist who climbed the Ballard Drawbridge the other day while it was up. She's not happy with the climber, but she's especially not happy with Herzog's enthusiasm for the prank.
Herzog wrote, "Kudos mystery climber! Way to make the morning commute a little more fun."
Today's letter, from someone who also writes a blog called The View from a Drawbridge, begins: "As a bridgetender, I have to take exception to Katie Herzog's kudos to the anonymous Ballard Bridge Climber recently. Encouraging such reckless behavior is irresponsible."
The bridgetender linked to her blog post "Three Cheers for Stupidity?" where she writes about the stress of her job, what would have happened if the guy had fallen, and the ramifications of "millions of pounds of lurching, shuddering concrete and steel."
I’ve been opening drawbridges for almost 16 years. That photograph made me sick to my stomach. Someone tried this with me once, but I realized it rather quickly and aborted the opening, which caused a 2000 ton gravel barge quite a bit of panic, but prevented injury and potentially loss of life. My adrenaline pumped for several hours after that, and I literally went home and vomited.
She also writes:
If “mystery climber” had fallen, he would have splattered all over the pavement. We’d be scraping him off the sidewalk with a shovel. Would that have made your commute more fun?
People wonder why the bridgetender didn’t see this guy. He was on the opposite side of the span from the operating tower. We do have cameras, but they can only see so much. The bridgetender would never have continued the opening if he had been aware this was happening. Not in a million years. Safety is our number one concern. Killing someone is not something that would be easy to live with. Personally, I don’t think I’d ever recover from that. And despite the fact that it was this climber’s choice to be a total idiot, if it happened on my watch I’d probably lose my job, and therefore my house and my car and… on and on.
Fair enough, and a good point worth considering: Someone's conscience is involved here, not to mention their job, potentially.
Reached for comment, Herzog said, "Okay, fine, you're right. Don't climb bridges. Climb buildings instead."