But the word can also simply describe “a happening that occurs unintentionally.” That seems to be the obvious spirit in which most traffic reports use accident today, and why not? Our justice system distinguishes between negligence and criminal intent for good reason.
Come on. Is it really all so "obvious?" Police and media referring to collisions in which people are maimed or killed as "accidents" before the investigation begins--if they even bother to investigate it at all--isn't problematic to you? I'm sure plenty of abusers don't mean to kill their partners, either--they just want to "discipline" them. So maybe we should start calling these incidents "Domestic Violence Accidents." And why call aviation disasters "Plane Crashes?" More often than not the pilot didn't mean it, right? So let's start calling them "Plane Accidents!" Of course, we already do use the phrase "Accidental Shooting," but that's only because the only thing Americans are dumber about than cars is guns, and we'll bend over backwards linguistically to make sure nothing ever threatens our unrestricted access to either. "Accidental Shooting?" It's a fucking gun! What else do they expect it's gonna do!?!
You could even assert that baked into the prevalence of accident is the fundamentally American idea of “innocent until proven guilty.” Ascribing bloodthirsty motives to a careless motorist feels as problematic as suggesting that she bears no responsibility for the pain she’s sown.
No, "baked into the prevalence of accident" is that when you're behind the wheel you're automatically shielded from any consequences for your actions, regardless of whether you were negligent or downright antagonistic. Why automatically rule out "bloodthirsty motives?" Holy crap! All too often motorists commit crimes behind the wheel and are never charged for them--if you've never seen or experienced a motorist using his or her car as a weapon then please invite me into your bubble sometime so I can meet your pet unicorn who farts rainbows.
But yes, we can't assume every automobile collision is the result of depraved bloodlust. I mean, sure, probably at least half of them are, but not all of them. That's precisely why we should be using a neutral, objective word like "crash." There's no blame or absolution inherent in the word. It is what it is. So how could you possibly be opposed to that?
Well, you can be opposed to it if you're a pretentious bloviator who's the product of an overpriced education:
In classical philosophy, accidents are the opposite of occurrences that “happen without a cause.” In fact, they are precisely events that are contingent upon other events, rather than expressions of telos or inner nature. From that perspective, accident seems like the perfect word for a mishap that unfolds not necessarily from a person’s core being or values, but from his stupid lapse in judgment. (At the extreme edge of this claim lies drunk driving, which represents a choice and perhaps a deeper pathology.) You forgot to turn on your lights. No one repaired the pothole. These qualify as blameworthy errors with foreseeable consequences—exactly the sort of thing that might cause an accident.
Firstly, if there were "blameworthy errors with forseeable consequences," how the hell is that an accident?!?
Secondly, starting your argument with "In classical philosophy..." is the rhetorical equivalent of starting your story with "This one time at band camp..." It means you're on a collision course (sorry, "accident course") with a non-sequitor. But sure, by all means, let's not allow our language to change or evolve because you took a course on Aristotelianism in college.
The fact is that it's important to update our language and discard certain words from time to time (or at least change when and how we use them) in order to reflect what we've learned and to expunge the retrograde attitudes some words come to embody after awhile. Saying we shouldn't stop calling car crashes "accidents" because of classical philosophy is like saying we shouldn't stop using racial slurs because they're simply rooted in the Latin word for "black." Of course, this is not to say we should banish the word "accident" from our language--obviously there are about a million circumstances in which it's totally appropriate--but you've got to admit it's pretty stupid for law enforcement and the media to use the same word for a deadly crash that we use for when someone takes a dump in their pants.
You know, classical philosophers like Aristotle had some twisted views on women too, but fortunately we moved past those. Time to drop the faux intellectual act and do the same thing with people who run other people down with their cars.
Thank you, thank you.
Please allow applause to play for remainder of post.
Speaking of accidents...OOPSIE!
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- An individual has confessed to starting the Hull fire that broke out Wednesday.
Carrie Bilbao, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, said the fire was caused by a mountain biker who burned toilet paper after making a restroom stop.
By the way, something to keep in mind:
The agency said the fire could've been avoided by burying human waste, not burning toilet paper in dry grass and on public lands and lastly, if you pack it in, make sure to pack it out.
I am a resolute urbanite who goes to great lengths to make sure I'm never beyond riding distance of a clean toilet, but even I could have figured that one out.
And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right great, and if you're wrong you'll see how drivers never have bloodthirsty motives.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and remember: accidents are for pants.
--Wildcat Rock Machine
1) What are these NYPD officers doing?
--Recovering a stolen bicycle
--Photographing the bicycle of a salmon who hit a pedestrian and cracked his head open, presumably so they can charge him before he gets out of the hospital or dies
--Ticketing the bicycle for being upside down
--Ticketing the fire hydrant for riding on the sidewalk
2) The Canadian equivalent of driving your car into a Dunkin' Donuts is:
--Driving your car into a Tim Hortons
--Driving your Zamboni into a Tim Hortons
--Launching a curling stone through the front window of a Loblaws
--Apologizing for driving your car into a Dunkin' Donuts
3) The $13,499 Look 795 comes with new "Neck Brace" headset technology, which means you can no longer turn the bars.
--Alert you to when you're about to drive into the garage with your bike on the roof rack
--Allow you to drive the vehicle remotely with your smartphone while you're standing outside of it for some reason
--Activate a highly sophisticated "Crash Anglicisation" feature in the event of an imminent collision that will replace the word "accident" with "cock-up"
--Warn fellow road users that you're a douchebag
(Louis XVI really should have been wearing a helme(n)t)
(Seattle's most ticketed rider.)
6) Police officers who enforce helme(n)t laws are child molesters.
7) Why is this bike getting a colonoscopy?
--They're checking for motors
--They're checking for cracks
--They're checking for hidden drugs
--The goddamn press-fit bottom bracket won't shut up!!!
***Special Bonus Question WITH PRIZE, Sponsored by Classic Cycle!***
Fill in the blank: "Dick _____"