Gene Lewis Perry

If life were like fairy tales, I'd have been devoured by trolls already.

the SUV in the room

Posted on | October 15, 2010 | Comments Off on the SUV in the room

Steve Lackmeyer deleted my comment on this post.  Not sure why.  (For a minute I worried that I was becoming a troll, but then I realized that trolls never worry about being trolls, so therefore I’m not.)

Anyway, I might as well post here “What OKC Central Doesn’t Want You To See.”  Lackmeyer complains about a Forbes list that ranked OKC as the 9th most dangerous city because they included transportation deaths, which put a “skew to the data.”  But why should people killed by cars be out of bounds?  They are just as dead, and I would say just as murdered, as someone who fell victim to a mugger.

As illustration, here’s a side project that I have been doing for a little while:

Yes, it’s morbid.  But it has to be, because otherwise we would never notice these deaths.  The constant trickle becomes ordinary background noise.  You have to see them all at once to realize the scale.  If we had an average of 2 people every day dying from violent crime in Oklahoma, it would be a huge deal.

It’s indicative of a very widespread misconception that the negative effects of car culture are somehow a part of nature and therefore don’t count.  We say people died in a “car accident,” which is a nice way of holding no one responsible.  It’s the same logic as when people argue that mass transit doesn’t work because it is subsidized, even though roads receive many times the amount of taxpayer subsidies every year.

But we are responsible, as individuals and as a society.  We make the choice when expanding highways every year instead of investing in mass transit and walkability.  We make the choice to condone wreckless driving, often blaming pedestrians for being on the road when an inattentive driver runs them down.  We don’t take seriously our responsibility when behind the wheel, and we show it by texting, eating, or talking on the phone instead of paying attention to not kill someone.

That doesn’t describe all drivers, of course, but it describes enough of them that it is a legitimate problem.

Update: Some time after this was posted, my comment reappeared on OKC Central.


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