New dance move: The Swerve
“Life is a bad neighborhood.”
–Tom B. Taker
Oh, out on a lonely stretch of road
Beware o’ that unwritten code
Make an illegal pass again
He’ll leave you a fucking road stain
‘Cause the asshole is a person in your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
He’s in your highwayhood
An asshole is an asshole in your neighborhood
A person that you street each day
Life is hard. We all get that. Some of us, though, are a bit more proactive. We take that knowledge then go out there and do what little we can to make it even harder.
There are people who walk among us who do shitty things. Unimaginable assholes. In the old days they’d get away with it. But now, because lots of us cover ourselves with video cameras when we step out of the house, every once in a while one of them gets nabbed with their dirty mitts in the cookie jar.
Meet William Crum, age 68. Angry. White. Elderly. Texan. While out driving a two-lane blacktop with a double-yellow line he was illegally passed by a motorcyclist. We know what happened next because another motorcycle rider who was following behind got the entire thing on video.
As the motorcycle attempted to pass, Crum’s vehicle sharply and “violently” swerved and sideswiped the motorcycle, sending the two people on the bike to the ground. The motorcyclist suffered cuts and road burns. His girlfriend passenger, however, was airlifted to the hospital with more serious injuries. After spending time in intensive care she was moved to a regular room and is now in stable condition.
Confronted at the scene, Crum was recorded on video making this statement: “I don’t care. Double yellow stripes. I got stung by a wasp.”
Crum refused to apologize to the motorcyclist, saying, “To her [he would] … but to him, no, because he was doing something illegal.”
I now break out my Asshole Decoder Ring and offer the following analysis:
- Crum. Probably the best-named human of all time.
- “I don’t care.” Hmm. This statement reads on the meter as sincere. We’ll take him at his word.
- “Double yellow stripes.” This goes to state of mind. What’s the most important notion stuck in his craw after wreaking violence on other human beings? Apparently he was fixated on the criminality of illegal passing. This is a solid piece of evidence that his swerve was intentional.
- “I got stung by a wasp.” Now this is an interesting non sequitur. I can find no news coverage confirming if this has been medically confirmed. My guess? It’s a little self-defense tip he picked up from the book Always Blame Road Rage on Our Friends the Bees.
- “He was doing something illegal.” There you have it. Judge. Jury. Swervecutioner.
- Irony: While swerving to take out his victims, Crum crossed the double-yellow line himself, thus literally crossing the line from brooding hero vigilante to rabid criminal scum.
What do you think? Was it intentional? The police seem to think so. Crum has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.
Sorry, Mr. Crum. I don’t dance.
The Motorbike Sonic Boom
It was a hot day and I was out for a ride in the car. It was the kind of hot that made people wish they could die and hurry on to Hell so they could cool off a bit. Since my A/C was broken (like always) I had all of my windows rolled down. Suddenly an infant rolled by with a binky in his mouth.
Um. Wait one. Scratch that. Let me try that again.
Suddenly a grown man rode by on his motorcycle. And when I say “rode by” I mean that he whizzed by (illegally) so close that the cute little pink tassels hanging from his “ape hanger” handlebars literally dug ruts in my paint.
Ape hangers. Has there ever been another vehicle part in the history of time so aptly named? Methinks not. I love it when products describe their owners so accurately.
Meanwhile, since my windows were rolled down, my ears were in for a real treat.
BRAAAAOWN, BRRAAOOOM, RROOAAARR!!! BLAT BLAT BLAT!!! VROOM!!!
Nice onomatopoeia, eh?
A Boeing 747 taking off from inside my pants wouldn’t have been as loud. (But a lot more fun.) The sound waves from this dude’s audio wake slapped me in the face, driving my head back and into my car. With blood leaking from my ears and my ears ringing from a mild concussion, I paused a moment to ponder the psychology involved in this sort of event.
Continue reading →
Click It Or Sticky Wicket
I freely admit it. I cried like a little girl that first night in jail. They say never let ’em see weakness but I couldn’t help it. But at the same time I wasn’t oblivious. I could see the other prisoners betting cigarettes on how long I’d last. But I’d show ’em all!
The next day I was released to the yard along with everyone else. Dammit. Then a big mean looking bald guy approached me. Here it comes, I thought. This is how it ends for me.
“What are you in for, man?” he asked me.
I looked him straight in the eye. “Seat belt violations, motherfucker,” I said. “One shitload of tickets.”
They pretty much left me alone after that…
I’ll be straight up with you. I think our nation’s fixation with programs like Click It Or Ticket (CIOT) is misguided. And I’ll tell you why.
Some argue that CIOT is a violation of our civil rights. They say that government has no business in coercing us to take care of ourselves. This is especially a sticking point for opponents of motorcycle helmet laws.
Some have argued that seat belt enforcement is an invasion of our privacy because officers have to look into vehicles without probable cause.
These are interesting points that may or may not have some validity. But I say fuck all that as irrelevant. I say that safety enforcement should be prioritized based on a very simple criteria. Just for fun, I’ll call it who is the meat with the brain splatter.
This approach is a simple one and seeks to understand who is at risk, not the nature of the infraction.
Consider an idiot who drives without their seat belt. Who’s meat are they risking? Their own. If they decide to go SVA (single vehicle accident) into a tree or roll their rig, they are the ones who will suffer from brain splatter. SVAs are a special case that, unless the result of something like mechanical failure or acts of God, are generally textbook examples of self-Darwinism. The vast majority of SVAs are caused by intoxicants, excessive speed, and/or operator error.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that shoveling up the brain splatter can be disturbing, but that’s not a valid reason for prioritizing enforcement of seat belt laws artificially high. Besides, the people who scrape up brains – that’s their job. One that probably pays two to three times what I make, and with excellent benefits, too. Sorry, they can deal with it.
Note: I’m not talking about children here. The drivers of vehicles have a moral obligation to protect underage passengers. (This will be address by my hypothesis below.)
The same thing goes for motorcycle helmets, too. When I ride I always wear a helmet. You’d have to be a friggin’ moron to do otherwise. (Case in point: See Ben Rothlisberger.) My head happens to be where I store my gray matter and I’m pretty fucking partial to that shit. It’s all-important to me and oh-so-fragile and irreplaceable, so yeah, I’m going to protect it. Therefore I have never ridden without a full helmet. None of that “screw the cops” half-helmet bullshit for me.
Again, though, if you opt to ride without a helmet, who are you risking? Yourself. Sure, you might get brains on someone’s windshield but the presence (or not) of your helmet is not very likely to have a life or death impact on others.
So why the emphasis on the enforcement of laws like these? Where the friggin’ hell are the programs for things like red light runners? Ever heard of one? I sure haven’t.
The thing with red light runners is that they put the lives of other people than themselves at extreme high risk of serious injury and death. If we want to enforce some traffic laws, why the hell don’t we start with something like that?
My hypothesis is simple:
Proactive enforcement of traffic safety laws should be prioritized based on the danger to innocent people.
Drivers who refuse to wear seat belts, stupid and annoying though they may be, by far only pose a significant risk to themselves. Therefore, under my hypothesis, enforcement prioritization of seat belt laws would be minimal.
Drivers under the effects of intoxicants greatly risk the lives of innocent people, therefore proactive enforcement for that should be very high. Ditto for those who dangerously break laws like running red lights.
To this day our DUII laws are far too gutless. Yes, the enforcement prioritization is there, as it should be. There are DUII programs and funding. But the punishments are far too lax. If I had my say, upon conviction for a first offense the offender would lose their license to drive for three years and the vehicle, regardless of ownership, would be forfeit. Period. A punishment would sure make vehicle owners think about driving while intoxicated, eh? And it would force employers and friends to be highly discriminating of who they trusted with their wheels, too.
A second conviction would result in a loss of driving privileges for life and mandatory jail time.
Talking on cell phones while driving or, worse yet, texting, is rightly getting attention, too. For once, things might be working as they should. Rare, I know. When innocent lives hang in the balance due to egregious selfishness and stupidity, enforcement must drop like a hammer and the laws must have enough teeth to actually make a difference and weed out the most foolish amongst us.
Similarly, I’d drastically increase enforcement on red light runners. Too many people get impatient and take liberties with red lights that they shouldn’t. In my town the problem is at epidemic levels and law enforcement still doesn’t do jack shit about the problem. There is no funding and no enforcement prioritization. I predict it won’t be long until a vehicle is t-boned or a pedestrian is flattened and innocent lives are irrevocably destroyed.
In my experience law enforcement is supposed to have a proactive component. I’ve heard a figure that says 43% of law enforcement should be proactive. (Our local police aren’t there yet.) But the way it seems to work is that this doesn’t happen unless there is some grant that funds overtime, which is fantastically probably the most inefficient way to prosecute things like traffic safety programs. And that grant money is typically narrowly restricted to very specific applications, like CIOT, DUII or pedestrian stings. Those who give out grant money don’t want local communities making their own prioritization decisions. So the money comes with strings attached.
CIOT, for example, is typically conducted with overtime paid for my “federal highway safety grant funding.” Where is the funding for red light enforcement programs, if there even is such a thing?
Why so much emphasis on CIOT? My personal theory is that it is based on some sort of “do-gooder complex.” Some apparently see it as their role to force people take care of themselves. Sounds like they have control issues to me. Perhaps they’ll also come up with a program to enforce restrictions on Texas contributions to world cuisine like deep-fried twinkies, deep-fried pork ribs, deep-fried cheesecake, deep-fried Coke, chicken fried bacon, deep-fried banana splits, deep-fried beer, and, of course, deep-fried butter.
Fuck that. Fund the traffic safety programs that prioritize the increased safety of innocent people. The innocent must be prioritized above the moronic!
Are you a moron? Do you have a death wish? I say fine and dandy. Feel free to take yourself out, hopefully before you’ve procreated and passed along your genes. We shouldn’t spend our time, money and resources trying to stop you.
Let’s concentrate on protecting the innocent instead. Let us prioritize the safety of the innocent above the safety of the stupid.