Monday, July 23, 2012

On the many ways the cookie crumbles

Guns don’t kill people. Automobiles do. Before Americans get too vocal about the disastrous nature of guns, they might consider the sanctioned slaughter of hundreds of thousands on the nation’s highways perpetrated by certifiably sane people. Many babies who never agreed to the odds are included in this. More people are destroyed in cars every day than in a year of gun incidents. Every year the highways of America approach the carnage of the Viet Nam War. Where are the protestors? Where is the outrage? Where are the pro-lifers? In what cause does this particular misery and grief reach into as many American households? Why, the solvency of the various transportation industries. Production of automobiles is, after all, a traditional source of American pride. As usual the public debate misses the big picture and the real issue. And the real issue is not about us holding onto our guaranteed freedoms, like owning guns and cars. It’s about industries profiting by making these instruments of destruction available to us; and affordable, if barely. When it benefits them for us not to have these items, I’m pretty sure they will be no longer available. Furthermore, with our general over-population, every little bit helps. People want the freedom of movement a car grants them, yet they sit in an office all day to afford a car to zoom back and forth to work in. Does anybody actually think about the merits of this trade-off? How About this? As a caring, compassionate country of people, we might view the horror produced by cars and balance it with the convenience and fun they seem to offer, noting how the scales tip. Next we could imagine being the one paralyzed by a crash or the one whose loved one has been torn from him on the highway. Then we go read John Donne’s No Man is an Island and stop looking at the victims as “the other guy.” We adopt the new perspective that we are part of humanity with individual wills. We believe that what befalls our fellow man befalls us. We realize that humanity together is a powerful force that can improve our destiny while individually we have no such influence. Then we start challenging the major evils instead of granting them immunity and quibbling about their various details as if they were the weather. We drop the token righteous indignation the media wrings out of us and we, us millions, make a sacrifice in aid of Americans as a whole. We do something wild, extravagant, completely unimaginable, not through the appropriate government channels through which all things threatening navigate to nowhere but with the leverage we possess only outside the prescribed paradigm. We stand up for all the people who will be killed and maimed on our highways in the coming days, weeks and years, all the people who today wear bullseyes on their backs and we boycott. We don’t buy cars and we don’t drive them. Next we could tally daily the number of our fellow Americans not killed and maimed in their cars and the number of households not wracked by the resulting grief. We could stand tall and feel gladness in being sentient beings instead of consumer-puppets. Now that would be a true case of the slave throwing off his shackles. That would be an exciting episode of people caring enough about other people to do something about it. What a national adventure it could be. Okay, let’s ratchet it down. Over 3,000 people are killed each year by driving on the phone. How about we take that as a national affront? That’s 3,000 fellow Americans, (including babies, you pro-lifers) going to be executed next year by irresponsible drivers using their phones. The phones easily could be manufactured incapable of operating in a moving car but they’re not. That is because the communications companies are willing to accept that human sacrifice to boost their profits and keep their products popular. How about we practice a bit of the Judeo-Christian ethic we supposedly live by and save next year’s victims by boycotting cell phones until the proper adjustment is made? It would be a great, inspiring spectacle but let’s face it. It’s probably not in our genetic make-up. As our pets look to us, we look to our masters.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:16 PM

    yet here is the conundrum: people are required to get a licence to drive a car but not to shoot a gun