Another day, another child killed by an Escalade:
But, you know, it's the victim's fault because she wasn't holding mommy's hand:
The girl was not holding her mother’s hand as they crossed the street near 5th Avenue and 55th St. in Sunset Park around 3:15 p.m., sources said. The little girl drifted into traffic and was crushed by a white Cadillac Escalade, sources said.
So, take a deep breath and say it with me now:
No criminality suspected!
Now, I may be suspicious by nature, but when I see a little girl dying in the street I actually do suspect criminality. I know, call me crazy, right? So I looked more closely at the picture:
First of all, the windows on that car are more tinted than Lindsay Lohan's sunglasses, which is illegal in New York City. Fine, not a smoking gun, but it's a start. Next, I looked up the license plate number, which is also legible in the photo. The system only gives you information on parking tickets and red light camera violations, but I found that this particular vehicle had received three tickets for not having a valid inspection:
The most recent of which was issued this past Saturday:
I considered the possibility that maybe I'd looked up the wrong plate, but the system is pretty clear on the fact that these tickets were issued to a white Cadillac.
Okay. Even though we're talking about a dead child for fuck's sake, let's give the owner the benefit of the doubt. Let's say after last Saturday's ticket he went and got his car inspected, and so he was operating his car fully legally when he ran over the child. (You know, apart from the windows.)
No. Fuck that. I'm pretty confident that tub of shit Escalade should not have been on the road. And I don't want to let the driver off the hook here, but I also suspect that if they'd towed the shit tub after that third ticket it would now be sitting in the impound at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and not on top of a dead child. If someone can't be bothered to get their potentially deadly $60,000 car inspected in two weeks then they shouldn't be allowed to have it. At the very least, you'd think that a dead child would be more than enough to arouse suspicion of criminality, and that maybe someone would, you know, look into it. I found this stuff in about 19 seconds while sitting around in my underpants drinking coffee. What else was he doing wrong? Are we not even going to investigate the possibility?
I'd love to see a mayor with the balls and/or vulva to admit that if you cracked down on all the assholes with expired inspections, no insurance, suspended licenses, out of state registration to save money when they actually live in New York, and so forth, you'd take a shitload of dangerous drivers off the road. Three tickets for no inspection? Tow that shit! "Oh, boo hoo, it's hard having a car in New York City." No shit, asshole. It should be hard, and if you can't hack it then don't drive. You're asking a lot of the city and its residents to accommodate your car. You should be creeping around town at 20mph with your valid paperwork on hand at all times, petrified at the idea of making contact with anything.
Sadly, instead, all you need to do is strap on your stupid bumper protector, mash your foot to the floor, and let everyone else clean up after you. It's actually surprisingly easy to own an operate a car in New York City, even if you do it by the book. You can park your car for free here, which is insane. Even if you get a parking ticket a month you're getting the deal of the millennium. Market rate for real estate in Brooklyn is something like $750 per square foot, so you do the math for what a parking space is worth. (No, seriously, please do the math, because I can't.)
Also, look at this car:
I have a car. I've pretty much always had one in New York City. It's registered and insured--to me, at my current address. Ironically, the reason I've always had a car is that I'm a cyclist, and I wanted to be able to get myself to races. (Bike racing makes you do really dumb stuff, like shave your legs, spend stupid amounts of money on crabon, and own a car in New York City.) Also, like many bike dorks, I like operating vehicles with wheels, and I actually enjoy driving. (You know, open road driving, not city driving.) Therefore, I like to be engaged in the act of driving while I'm doing it. My car has a manual transmission. It has four doors and a hatch, but it's small (miniscule by American standards), and it's pretty low to the ground. If I go over a bump I feel it. The engine is small (miniscule by American standards), but with a manual you can work the motor hard when you need to, and anyway, any car that can carry three cars on the roof at highway speed and still have a little left over is more than enough power in my Haggadah.
On my recent vacation to Mt. Tampon, I rented a car, because you can't really get around there without one. The car was what is called a "compact crossover." Yeah, "compact" my balls. (Actually, please don't compact my balls.) I was sitting higher than I would have been on the roof of my own car, which made anything happening in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle ambiguous at best. The windows had a slight tint to them which made me feel like I was driving stoned or wearing sunglasses at dusk. Besides that, the stupid shape of the windows made visibility poor, and I really couldn't see out of the rear window at all. Hence, the car came equipped with a backup camera system. Holy shit, is that weird and annoying! Forget being detached from the driving experience--it's like wiping your ass with a series of levers and pulleys. (Or an "aubesian"--which, come to think of it, would make a great model name for a "compact crossover.")
Seems to me you should need to get a special license for any vehicle that requires using a fucking camera to operate.
Anyway, I fucking hated this car. I especially hated it the couple of times I had to drive it into the city when I had to drive this stupid loaf with its poor visibility through intersections and crosswalks. It was like walking around in a fat suit. And then I look at that white tub of shit, which could easily drive over my rented "compact crossover," and all I can think is no fucking way. Giant trucks driven recreationally without inspections in the second-most populated county in America? (That's Brooklyn.)
Yeah, no shit people are getting killed.
In any case, sure, I guess I'm part of the problem with my car and my free parking and all the rest of it (uh, my car's OK, but any car bigger than mine is BAD!), but you have to wonder when, how, or if people are ever going to refuse to accept that it's okay to kill people here with a car. Even I didn't think about it that much before starting this blog. Hey, a story like this may ruin your day, but at least it didn't ruin your life. (Yet.)
On a lighter note [SMILEY FACE!!!] Robin Williams went on the "Daily Show" and talked about riding bikes:
Not sure about the helment crap or the little "push-them-off-their-bikes" gesture Jon Stewart made, but this is about as enlightened as bike-related conversations get in mainstream America.