I had decamped to my parents' house for a nice relaxing weekend in the country when I made the mistake of opening the editorial page of the local paper and stumbled upon this breathtaking display of feckless ignorance. Some choice quotes after the jump.
His whole argument, if you want to even call it that, is based on the fact that ten days ago his cousin and two others were killed in a one-car accident caused by excessive speed; his cousin was the driver. That is obviously sad and tragic, but the author immediately kneecaps his point:
"I have not seen my cousin... since his childhood and cannot fathom how his life ended so tragically in the June 19 crash on a stretch of Route 82 in Bozrah. What circumstances forced a 3.0 liter engine to end up behind the car and project two young men 30 feet? Cynics will argue negligence, but it's more than negligence - it's engineering - cars designed for excessive speed."
I mean, what is that? "I didn't really know him that well, but there's no way it could be 100% his fault." That second sentence is just nonsense. And the third, well, Kevin Durant can't even reach that far.
"Why do NASCAR drivers, who race 200 mph, receive extensive, professional training, but the licensed consumer can operate a 160-mph vehicle without similar advanced instruction? It's frightening to think that a critical characteristic that separates my vehicle from a NASCAR is 40 mph."
Because they're racing and we're driving, you nitwit. And I don't have to tell you all how much separates "a NASCAR" from our daily drivers. Someone should tell this guy, though. You know what? Don't bother.
"Motor companies design vehicles to exceed 150 mph then target them to consumers who are obligated by law to drive at no more than half that rate. Why are there no laws requiring motor companies to produce products that abide by speed limits? Why do they design passenger vehicles to go so fast?
Because they sell, of course; profit placed before safety.
Why not demand the design of consumer cars that travel at 75-80 mph maximum? This may not prevent all speeding crash deaths, but it could help reduce fatality rates."
Gahhhhh. I can't, as they say. Here's a question for you - why did they give you a whole brain when you seem intent on using less than 1% of it? Since when do you need to be traveling above 80 to kill yourself or others in a crash? I'm familiar with the stretch of road where his cousin crashed - 60 mph and a bad decision would do you in. Oh, and here comes my favorite part:
"In a crash in which speeding above the limit is the cause, the driver bears responsibility. In this case that choice led to three deaths - of Jesse, Terrance Garland and Kenneth Barki, a recent college graduate soon to be a school teacher.
However, Jesse is not the only negligible party. Shouldn't Mitsubishi be held accountable for engineering the 3000 GT to violate speeding laws?"
OK, so I have a big kitchen knife for when I want to pretend to cook. If I take it and go stab to death, should we hold the knife manufacturer responsible for engineering a product that can violate murder laws? After all, I was using it in the intended manner - cutting something - even though it's generally frowned upon to cut faces instead of tomatoes, just like it's frowned upon to do 100 in a 45 zone. But no matter! Down with Popeil!
He closes with a point that automakers have been forced to adopt standards in the name of safety many times before, so why shouldn't speed be one of them? Here's the rub - it is a terrible, horrible thing to lose a relative in such a violent way. But so much good can come from taking that pain and using the accident to advocate for safer, more responsible driving practices in general, while this guy obfuscates that point by trying to shift the blame onto cars themselves rather than acknowledge the responsibility we all take on when we get behind the wheel. It's a shame all around.