Friday, June 06, 2008

Life is cheap on the street

The police chief of Hartford, CT made a bold statement after a hit-and-run driver mowed down an elderly pedestrian crossing the street in his city last week.

"We have no regard for each other," said Daryl K. Roberts. A report this morning on the Disney Morning News said he later softened that stance.

Too bad. Because that's succinct summation of how it feels to try to get around a crowded, supposedly public, thoroughfare when you're not in an armored vehicle.

I'm not saying we should dissolve into chaotic gridlock of doe-eyed drivers waving each other through stop signs. But why does it NEVER occur to drivers to slow down in congested areas? It is exciting to rip through a city street like Luke Skywalker screaming through the metal gullies of the Death Star en route to delivering his deadly payload, but in theory the objective of driving on a normal street is NOT to leave a trail of death and destruction.

Regardless of the fact that people called 911 within a minute of the incident, the fact remains that drivers maneuvered past the body as if it was just any piece of debris.

Few people want to see something distressing and gross. Later arrivals would not know if the body lay there because of an accident or perhaps a shooting. This may explain their reluctance to stop. But how about the ones with a clear view of the incident who just kept going? The two who hit the pedestrian fled with the typical guilty conscience of people who do things like this. They probably already had things to hide, and this incident is just one more.

Meanwhile, in Manchester, NH, an aggrieved boyfriend punched out his girlfriend while she was driving, causing her to run a red light and smash into two other vehicles. That's right, folks! Play out your personal dramas in any old inappropriate place. Don't just punch on someone. Do it while she's piloting a ton of steel, glass and plastic in traffic.

So you see you just never know what might be going on in those tins of canned humanity rolling by on the conveyor belt.

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