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Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's Time We Had a Serious Discussion About Assault Vehicles

Americans are in love with anything on wheels. This is the country of the Corvette and the Hog where driving fast is considered a national birthright despite the toll in lives and pollutants. And most of the rest of us have come to accept that.

We may shake our heads at the billions wasted on gasoline, on air fresheners and dashboard ornaments that could have been used to feed the starving children of the world. But when tragedy strikes it is important for us to set aside the political rhetoric and have a serious discussion about assault vehicles.

Let's talk about motorcycles.

Unlike cars, motorcycles have no practical purpose. No one commutes to work on a motorcycle. No one drives to pick up their children from soccer practice on a motorcycle. But for some people a motorcycle is a symbol of their masculinity and that symbol has become death on wheels.

Americans are in love with motorcycles. 9 percent of Americans own 11 million motorcycles as part of the 18 billion dollar motorcycle industry. Some Americans even own more than one motorcycle, even though one motorcycle is the most that any normal person could possibly need.

Motorcycle deaths have risen sharply in the last ten years and the motorcycle industry is to blame for preventing us from addressing this horrifying epidemic of highway death.

In 1994, there were 2,320 motorcycle deaths. In 2012 that number increased to 4,500 as the assault vehicles greased their wheels with the blood of innocent men, women and children.

1 in 7 US traffic deaths is now caused by the motorcycle. Or what we should properly rename the Assault Cycle. Unfortunately movies like Easy Rider glamorize motorcycle culture and the motorcycle industry preys on the vulnerable male psyche as riders chase after some escapist fantasy of personal autonomy.

Motorcycle culture has always been associated with violence and the escalating death toll now threatens our moral standing as a country. America was once known as a nation that the rest of the world looked up to, but now whenever I visit Lichtenstein or Luxembourg for an environmental conference, one of the first questions that I am asked is when Americans will join the rest of the civilized world in restricting the manufacture and sale of assault cycles. And I can only sadly shake my head while downing another Shirley Temple.

But perhaps tragedy will serve as a wake-up call. In Fairfield, California, an off-duty California Highway Patrolman is killed in a collision with a pickup truck. In Duarte, California, former MLB pitcher Frank Pastore died of injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident.  In Florence, Kentucky, a motorcycle driver lost control of his assault vehicle and collided with a utility pole. In Tarpon Springs, Florida, a woman riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle fell off and was run over by a passing vehicle. These are just a few of the deaths caused by assault cycles that have taken place in the last week.

We cannot meet these awful tragedies with apathy. Only immediate unthinking action will suffice. A serious dialogue must begin in which all options are on the table. The politicians who have been in thrall to the motorcycle industry must look at these dead people that I have just mentioned and completely ignore the law and all other considerations to do whatever I want.

No one is talking about completely banning the motorcycle, except for those who are, but we must work together to reach a sensible solution. Motorcycle owners will still be able to keep and even drive their toys, but we must take action against the deadliest overpowered assault cycles with too much horsepower that have no legitimate purpose.

There is no reason for any law-abiding motorcycle owner to own one of the "superbikes" whose accident rate is 30 times higher than that of cars. These insanely overpowered assault vehicles, such as the Suzuki GSXR1000 and the Kawasaki Ninja, are literal killing machines. Although assault cycles only account for 10 percent of the motorcycles on the road, they account for 25 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents.

200 horsepower is far too much for any legitimate street bike and it's time that our elected officials stood up to the motorcycle industry and said no to the assault cycle. 

And it cannot end there.

As pernicious as motorcycle culture is, car culture is even deadlier. Millions of children will grow up coughing and wheezing from asthma attacks because they live near a highway. And many more will die in the daily car accidents that mar our nation's roads, bridges and tunnels.

Americans are in love with their Assault Sedans and their Murder Hatchbacks.  The U.S. had 246 million registered vehicles for just 209 million drivers in a country of 311 million. There is no better evidence of the power of car culture than the fact that some people actually own more than one car, so that they can perhaps crash their first car into a crowd, and then get into their second car and crash that it into a crowd too to maximize the death toll.

40,000 people die in car crashes a year. That's 400,000 a decade or 4 million over a century. That is the grim ugly face of America's macabre love affair with cars. America leads the world in car ownership, aside from Monaco, and if we are going to take a horrible place like Monaco as our role model, then I no longer want to be an American.

The children, the most innocent among us, are the real victims of America's insane car culture.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 2 to 14 years old. An average of 6 children die every day in car crashes... and 700 more are injured. Some of those injuries will cripple them for life.

Any decent person, even a car owner, can't help but look at these statistics and demand immediate unthinking action of some kind. It is up to decent people like us, and even them, to join together and call for that action. It is up to us to capitalize on the deaths of these sweet innocent children for the greater good of all.

No one is talking about banning all cars. Some cars, like those that drive environmental activists to environmental conferences, are strictly necessary. But there is a big difference between legitimate and illegitimate cars. 

There's no reason for a law-abiding driver to own a car that goes faster than 35 miles per hour. Above that speed is when most fatal accidents occur and closing that speed loophole will save millions of lives. Cars that travel faster than 35 miles per hour, let's call them assault vehicles, have no purpose except to cater to a sick car culture that values speed over the lives of innocent children. We owe it to our children to give them a better world. A world where 35 miles per hour isn't just the speed limit in  my gated community, but throughout the entire land.

An assault vehicle ban will also be good for the environment. Many drivers will discover that they can get to work faster by riding a bike than by driving their fume-spewing murder machines.

Speaking of bicycles, there has unfortunately been a sharp rise in cyclist deaths as well. I remember many hours of joy riding my bike up and down the street as a child, and I still put in a few miles on my exercise bike when my schedule allows for it, but these innocent vehicles are being upstaged on the road by killing machines that have very little in common with my 12 inch Huffy and exist only to race and kill.

I have never understood why there must be any bikes with more than 6 speeds. The bike industry, the bike lobby and the bike culture is irresponsibly pushing multi-speed bikes that are completely unnecessary. These Assault Bicycles which have 18 speeds are murder vehicles of death.

It might be best if we put an end to vehicle culture altogether. It might be best if everyone just walked. So long as they walk responsibly.

The number of pedestrian deaths has risen sharply in 2012 and the problem may lie with what I like to call, Assault Walking, or walking too fast, not to mention Assault Running.

To all the paranoid alarmists out there, no one is talking about banning you from going on a light jog or even a brisk walk; so long as you keep it under the speed indicated on your government issued Citizen Pedometer with built-in breathalyzer. If you wish to walk faster than that, you will have to apply for a license, undergo a psychological evaluation, give up your health insurance and then wait six weeks.

America is a great country, but we can be an even greater country if we just banned everything... for the children.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget rollerblades, skateboards, scooters, and stolen supermarket carts. Still more innocent deaths yearly can be laid at the door of assault vehicles on runners: sleds, skiis, skates, snowmobiles, toboggans and plastic garbage can lids. Stop the slaughter on snow hills NOW!

And why stop with land-bound vehicles? Don't you know how many needless deaths occur on the water? Think of the Titanic, man! Isn't it time to ban anything that can go faster than a canoe, including speedboats, racing yachts, ferries, surfboards, and passenger jets making emergency landings on our waterways?

Damn, we forgot planes...

Thanks for the bracing dose of satire along with the reason and insight, Daniel.


Anonymous said...

One nation under lockdown.

Anonymous said...

Remember, more than once, shopping carts have been used to kill and maim, by dropping on heads, just this or last year.

Also, think of the many times simple rocks have been used to murder people by stoning or bludgeoning, rocks need to be banned or licensed.

And doctors and hospitals, are but ante-rooms to the graves, (from E. Topol). See this following piece:

Subject: Accidental. Deaths

Subject: A STUDY==RR
Doctors
(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.
Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept. Of Health and Human Services.
...

Now think about this:
Guns
(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .0000188
Statistics courtesy of FBI.

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.'
FACT: Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has at least one doctor.

This means you are over 9,000 times more likely to be killed by a doctor than by a gun owner!!!

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

And I speak as one who was injured permanently by a doctor, and only by catching his mistake in time, avoided death by doctor.

Jack

Leo said...

Some time ago I came across this strongly resonating "death through fun vs. death through gun" article: As for debating the 2nd Amendment, there's nothing wrong with using facts to refute the notion that more guns equal more deaths. But this should be only part of the debate, not the debate itself. Otherwise, we miss some great principles, one of which is that life at all costs is too great a cost. Living is about more than just life, and whether the matter is sports that can kill, drink that can kill, or guns that can kill, you can't really live if you're suffocated with a Big-Brother bubble-wrap mentality. Selwyn Duke | What Everyone Forgets When Debating Gun Control | Jul 26, 2012

mindRider said...

yeah, yeah, yeah, satire indeed, but non of the rolling murder machines are a constitutional right and that's the difference. The left wants to mold the world to their hearts desire, it thus wants to take away anything sensible that finds it's legal base in straightforward, conservative, honest (at the founding fathers's time called liberal) thinking.

Triton said...

Exactly Daniel. Do "something" so that we can feel good about ourselves, regardless of the facts or whether that action is meaningful/effective or not. Doing nothing in the wake of tragedy means we are an uncaring society. We've lost the capacity for critical thinking, or at least sacrificed it on the alter of emotions

Anonymous said...

Love it. After all, it's For The Children, and what would we not be willing to give up to keep them safe?

Anonymous said...

"We cannot meet these awful tragedies with apathy. Only immediate unthinking action will suffice."

THAT's funny!

Anonymous said...

In the UK a television fell on a child recently, killing the poor tot. I know of one council block near where I live (you'd call them the projects) where the people who get fed up with their TVs simply throw them off the balconies.

While we are banning dangers to children, we can start in the home: television offers a non-stop diet of violence and idiocy, and on both sides of the pond. Plus they can kill from even from a low height.

Ban the TVs now!

Don Greenfield said...

I know what we should do -- we should have a voluntary surrender of these assault machines -- and put me in charge... :)

A.K.A. Damo Mackerel said...

Folks, the left doesn't do irony nor humour. This post will just give them excuses to ban even more things.

Anonymous said...

don't forget the instant billion-dollar scaffolding payoff industry in new york, a legacy of our beloved ed 'how'm i doin'?' koch. once, there was a brick that fell off a building. the next day -- and for the 32 years ever since -- every building in new york must be draped in scaffolding, like something out of a christo nightmare.

-- spanky

Sam L. said...

Satire, you say. Merely an attempt to obfuscate your true intentions!

George J. said...

Brilliantly put.

Anonymous said...

The truth is, and we all know it, people aren't safe anywhere, even in a fortified home.

The criminal mind and the insane, when determined enough, can cause murder and mayhem in a myriad of ways.

So the question remains. Should we simply ban people so that no one ever again has to worry about their safety? ---Elaine

Leo said...

What should be a proper citizens' reaction to a massacre of innocents? (kind of reaction that does not encourage future acts of violence, but discourages them, some important thoughts):
Jerold Levoritz | A Proper Response to the Massacre of Innocents | Dec 20, 2012

1) Never mention the name of the perp and certainly not any putative cause for which he committed the atrocity -- as a matter of law.

2) Remove the body of the perp and drop him in the ocean, uncovered by the press, unattended by officials and unaccompanied by any ceremony -- as a matter of law. Just as we pay no attention to the contents of the toilet bowl after flushing, our press and government officials should be encouraged to move on quickly.

3) Funerals should be private, not national events. The comfort offered by elected officials should be by a personal note, not by personal appearance.


Personally, I would add a quick response team to deal with journalists-from-hell, but that's really tricky to keep out of the way of honest and ethical reporting, while protecting traumatized people by preventing and discouraging unethical behavior.

Leo said...

@Elaine
The criminal mind and the insane, when determined enough, can cause murder and mayhem in a myriad of ways. So the question remains. Should we simply ban people so that no one ever again has to worry about their safety?

I guess "banning people" at this point would be just a little bit extreme - but I can't help thinking that maybe there's more to Dexter TV series idea than meets the eye (some people very much dislike it, and I find it hard to disagree, but think for a moment of a living organism trying to boost its immune system in somewhat unpredictable and unanticipated ways).

VA_Rancher said...

HEY NOW MR KNISH!!!!!

Them's Fighting Words!

I curently own FOUR Harleys, and both myself and the Wife are Life Members of HOG (Harley Owners Group).

Glad I saw that "satire" tag when I skipped to the end of the article so I could comment...

Now I will have to admit, it is pretty danged funny afterall...

Be well Daniel.

Anonymous said...

The analogy is not a good one here.
Guns are for killing and hunting.
Vehicles are not made for that purpose though they can lead to death.
Then again so can stairs,etc.
Guns have a specific purpose.

You would find out why bikes need more than six gears if you were out riding around on one without.

Nick Gallo said...

And we regulate cars and trucks.
We require safety inspections.
We require seat belts.
We require vision tests.
we require serious identification and a special license with photo for those intending to drive.
They are then registered for that purpose along with the registration of all cars.
We require all cars be insured (sane states do anyway)
We require special safety seating for infants and children up to a certain weight.
We set speed limits and enforce then with fines and even jail time.
There are severe penalties in some states for drunk driving.
We run road blocks randomly and on holiday evenings to test for impaired drivers.
Many states are very strict in the enforcement of speed limits.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

And now it's time we did the same for people who talk too quickly down the street.

Action must be taken. We must not hesitate.

mushroom said...

But, Nick, there are all kinds of people driving drunk every day. There are people driving without licenses. There are people driving without proper registration, on expired plates, without insurance, over the speed limit.

The laws do nothing to change the behavior of people who a) get away and b) do not care.

Even a good driver can have an accident with a 4000 pound car (or a 900 pound bike, in my case) traveling down the road at 70 mph, meeting other cars and missing them routinely by distances easily measured in inches.

Generally speaking the targets are only on one end of the shooting range.

Keliata said...

Leo, I agree with number three about banning the media and politicos from funerals. The other two? These crimes do need to be reported and believe me, quoting them provides a lot of insight. Many criminals are blunt and honest when it comes to their true motives.

People can guess and debate motives but not the criminals. They very often speak the truth. Ah, those comments made before arrest and before Miranda rights. Sure, they can't be used against them but they are included in police reports along with the statements made after arrest and after Miranda rights.

One community newspaper where I used to live reported very little on crimes. So little as to make the reports useless. Not nearly enough to help the citizens protect themselves.

Keliata said...

Elaine--I'll start the trend and ban myself. Where can I buy an ankle bracelet? Since I am innocent of any wrong doing aside from being alive someone will have to monitor me to make sure I comply with my own orders of house arrest

Anonymous said...

The next time a crazed motorcyclist kills 20 schoolchildren with a two-stroke, holla!

Maybe the crazed motorcyclist has a thing for malls, give me a heads up the next time he runs down 12 teens just out and about.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

How many times has a gunman killed 20 children?

mushroom said...

From a quick and dirty search: In 2008, an average of 4 children between 3 and 14 were killed every day in traffic accidents (not counting 19-year-old gangbangers shot by cops as with firearms stats).

Motor vehicle deaths exceed the total killed at Sandy Hook every week of the year -- not by motorcycles, but that was not SK's point. If you can't grasp satire, maybe you should stick with boob pictures.

Anonymous said...

Keliata-If you ban yourself aren't you simply allowing the controllers to realize their dream?

There just isn't a way to ensure the safety of anyone, anywhere today. The horrific murder of these children and school employees is a symptom of a sick culture. Can't we discuss that? --Elaine

Anonymous said...

Leo-I'm sorry but I've never seen Dexter so cannot comment on your comment.--Elaine

Anonymous said...

I suggest we ban liberalism or more commonly known today as Progressiveism because it is a severe mental disorder that has served to destroy millions of human beings, nations, minds, hearts, and souls.--Elaine

American Genie said...

Ah, you reminded me of those 3 years of my life when my only transportation was a killer Kawasaki 440. No matter the weather, if I went I went on 2 motorized wheels. Wish someone had told me that one doesn't use one of those things to commute to work. I could have had much more fun just riding my bike all day. :-)

@mindRider

You are right about them not being Constitutional rights. Automobiles and motorcycles are highly regulated privileges. Something just not quite right about that.

American Genie said...

We mustn't forget about the killer roads brought to us courtesy of our government. If it wasn't for those damnable roads nobody would want a car or a motorcycle...

American Genie said...

We mustn't forget about the killer roads brought to us courtesy of our government. If it wasn't for those damnable roads nobody would want a car or a motorcycle...

Keliata said...

Elaine--I was just being sarcastic. That's what the left ultimately wants us to do, to get us to condemn ourselves and censor ourselves. That's the point of it all. We get into a mentality of self censorship to the point where government censorship are one and the same. We won't even realize that it's the government and society that is controlling us.

Keliata said...

Anony--a crazy biker hasn't killed 20 people but I wouldn't put it past a terrorist in Israel to resort to it. It nearly happened when a terrorist seized control over a bulldozer a couple of years ago.

Where there's a will there's a weapon:(

Keliata said...

Just to expand a bit on the blurring of self censorship/societal censorship turning to gov't censorship--it's already been set in motion via political correctness.

Leo said...

It is interesting and terrifying to watch how the left is trying to steer the debate toward guns, to focus people's attention on guns - and to shift it away quietly from their very own personal responsibility as first responders and live protectors.

Wherever a regime has become totalitarian, its first step is to disarm its citizens. ... We automatically assume that the state is a responsible power acting, first and foremost, for the benefit of its citizens. We feel good thinking that there is a big brother out there with whom we can deposit the responsibility for our fate. When a shocking shooting spree like Sandy Hook takes place, nobody seriously checks what violent films children are watching. Nobody talks about training armed citizens to prevent more of these insane shootings. The easy solution – the solution that does not require taking responsibility – is to deposit arms and responsibility in the hands of the state. ... In Israel, the gun licensing procedure is more logical than its American counterpart. Nevertheless, the state tends to prevent its citizens from carrying arms. This is another expression of the ongoing erosion of human rights that began with the Oslo Accords and intensified with the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. ... It is easy to slide down the slippery slope of totalitarianism. The loss of the ability to protect oneself is the loss of liberty. Moshe Feiglin | The Slippery Slope Into Totalitarianism | Dec 21, 2012

Tina Trent said...

Airplanes. Airplanes take college students to ski resorts and semesters overseas, so they do not harm the environment as much as failing to recycle colored paper in a separate bin.

So long as the administration spends enough money hanging banners espousing the virtues of sustainability.



Anonymous said...

You can't Take over the US until you take over the guns.

Bill

Adam Greenfield said...

And let us not forget the strangle-hold the Big Assault Vehicle Lobby has on our country. Even leveraging their power in order to embezzle Billions of dollars out of our government in the guise of "Bail Outs" totaling in the BILLIONS of dollars. And we could even add in all the people maimed, crippled or killed in their Death Machine factories.

Any American with a conscience should stand up and demand a change immediately, for the children!

Anonymous said...

Ban magic carpets, and Star Treck transporters. Also, if you want to ban Assault Walking, we should mandate Birkenstocks only as footwear, with a special license required to purchase running shoes. The running shoes should have to be kept at your local gendarmerie and checked out whenever you want to use them. Your miles will have to be logged so as to account for the amount of wear to the soles.

I bid you adieu.

Norman Broyhill said...

The right makes no serious arguments for their positions or platforms. It is rhetoric, mockery, satire and derision constantly. T
The very same that one accuses the left of doing.
"The left is full of rot, evil, yada, yada"
You get more flies with honey than vinegar.
Simply stated you are preaching to your own choir on this blog and nothing more.
Its becoming a bore.

KuhnKat said...

Hey dufus, I commuted regularly on my motorcycles even in the rare rain. Yeah, I lved in California. Goes to show how stupid these editorials can be doesn't it???

Probably have about 300,000 miles on my several bikes. I'm 60 and will be putting my 2001 GSXR1000K1 back on the road shortly. Friends of mine have far more.

Oh, and one last comment you MORON!!! You obviously haven't checked any REAL MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS!!! The large bore motorcycles have lower death and accident rates than the smaller bore bikes beginners and those with less cash to spend are more likely to start on. But hey, you aren't an expert and are just sharing your OPINION right??

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Leo said...

Speaking of morons, I don't know what is funnier, to read "only immediate unthinking action will suffice" line in the article, or to come across commenter, who convinced that owning a motorcycle is a proper replacement for intellect and manners, and exhibiting "only immediate crapping in comments will suffice" behavior.

Leo said...

If there was one single thing about American politics, which haunted me most for a long time, perhaps it is one described in this article: ...Tocqueville’s nightmare vision, written in the early 1830s foresees “an immense and tutelary power,” and its task is to watch over us all, and regulate every aspect of our lives. ... We will not be bludgeoned into submission; we will be seduced. He foresees the collapse of American democracy as the end result of two parallel developments that ultimately render us meekly subservient to an enlarged bureaucratic power: the corruption of our character, and the emergence of a vast welfare state that manages all the details of our lives. ... That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood. It is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property…what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Michael Ledeen | What sort of tyranny will Americans choose? | Dec 21, 2012

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Norman, there are a variety of articles on this site running from serious arguments to satire

Kuhn, it's a satirical piece about gun control which you would have understood if you had read to the end

Vernon said...

"Guns are for killing and hunting."

False statement. Guns are for propelling a small object, usually metallic, at high velocity in a specific direction. You are confusing the function of the object with the choices made by the user of the object. This is the result of the brainwashing you have received to convince you that an object can be good or evil in and of itself. Or it is a deliberate lie you tell because you don't like "icky guns".

None of my guns has ever been used for hunting or killing. The vast majority of guns purchased by US citizens aren't used for hunting or killing.

Even if the statement were true, how is that relevant? Hunting isn't inherently good or evil. In the absence of predators in many areas, hunting keeps animals from over population their environment, using up their food supply and dying of starvation. Killing can keep a human predator from taking your life to get what is in your wallet.

The ENTIRE point is that the object isn't the problem. The object can't be the problem. The object has no volition, no ability to choose or act on its own. Good or evil, right or wrong exist only as the result of the choices and actions taken by people. Period.

VJ

Road King said...

I sense a self-serving hidden agenda here: you apparently want to return to the days of horse-drawn transport to ensure a fresh supply of material for your blog.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Nicely done

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