Dereliction of Duty By the Louisville Metro Police as Epidemic of Red Light Running Hits University of Louisville Belknap Campus area

July 24, 2008

(The image at left is not my own, but grabbed off Flicker. It is similar enough to what I am about to convey and will suffice to illustrate).
A colleague of mine just yesterday noted to me that he’d read a report that traffic accident incidents were way down due to people driving less because of high gas prices. To this I expressed surprise, because my darker side assumed that drivers would compensate for the price trends by ignoring red lights and stop signs, thus raising the odds of accidents. Nothing in my everyday biking experience, though, had provided real evidence of this; people seemed to driving just as well or as badly as always.

This morning, though, my more cynical assumption received validation.

Within the span of a minute, just two blocks apart from one another, I witnessed two blatant runnings of red lights. And I’m not talking about drivers who made it just under the wire as the light changed from yellow to red—I’m talking about lights that had been red for a good several seconds. In the worst case, the second incident, the light had been red for almost 10 seconds. This was the sort of incident where pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers and car passengers who happen to have the right of way, aka. a green light, get killed.

The cyclist in this case was very nearly me.

The first incident happened at Third and Lee where I, safely passing under the yellow at Lee heading south on Third Street noticed in the lane to the far left behind me a large produce type truck barreling down Third with no intention of stopping. Mind you, cars on Lee heading east or west for the light at Third cannot be seen by anyone heading down Third, so someone trying to run the light on Third takes an insanely stupid risk. But this jerkoff, sitting high in his mega-truck would not have been the one killed, and his fucking ass probably knows that. I looked over at him and shook my head vigorously in disgust, but regretted my lack of quick-thinking in failing to look for a brand name or license number or truck code number as he passed. Things like this happen so fast that they stun you in your disbelief.

The second incident was even worse than this. As I was passing east on the green light at Cardinal Boulevard, a white SUV traveling north on Second Street at high rate of speed blatantly ran the red light after it had been red for at least five seconds and maybe as long as ten seconds. I had barely passed under the green when this fucktard whooshes by right behind my back tire; I could feel the wind and the rumble of the asphalt from his vehicle weight right behind me.

The guy was practically out of state by the time I could react in any way, which was to look back at him and mouth out loud, “Oh my fucking God! Another one!”

So was this a case of some SUV driver—angry at the world for his own stupid choice of buying a gas guzzling penis-extender-mobile now getting back at a $4-a-gallon-gas world by thinking he now had the right to obey or disobey whichever traffic laws he chooses?

Or was he just on a cell phone? Or asleep? Or just a fucking jerkoff. I would not be surprised if all four of these applied.

So how is it that I’ve got the traffic situation north of the UofL better covered than our vaunted law enforcement?

(Postscript: One day after I posted this, two innocent little girls with the right of way crossing the street at Floyd and Warnock on the eastern side of the UofL campus were killed by a maniac hit-and-run driver eluding police; just a few blocks from the area referred to in my posting. Fortunately, they caught the motherfucker. I volunteer my services to drive over him…)

-EG


We Need the Crying Indian Again

May 1, 2007

crying-indian_fullhead80p.jpgLike every issue, global warming—or global climate change to be precise—has become an either-or, polarizing, divisive issue between the Left and the Right; between science and religion: Either you believe humans are causing it or you don’t. And if we are, then we need to change the way we live.

The crux of all this for the Righties, of course, is that anytime anyone is asked to change their habits then that must mean a Commie plot is afoot to take away their freedoms and steal away their Amurkin way o’ life.

So, that leaves us at an impasse in which the Rightie-Corporate-led government undermines science and does all it can to keep us from changing our ways.

For the record, I side with the scientific consensus and with Al Gore. I think that we have to dramatically decrease our greenhouse gas emissions. I do my part: riding the bus and biking every day, walking and no longer driving a car.

And guess what? I manage to get to work even though I live 20 miles away—and even manage to finish a book while in transit every few weeks. And I feel healthier, too.

People who say that cars are the only way are just lazy, whiny, wimpy bastards. I find it ironic that all the tough-talking SUV, Hummer, and 4×4 pickup types act like they’re the shit, when it’s “sissy liberals” like me who better exemplify the classic, pioneering, American can-do progressive spirit. I get out there on the road on a bike, and I manage to find a way to get it done. Most of these dependent fatsos know that they can’t bring their suckling, coddled cottage-cheese asses to do it, so they wimp out and sit their overweight carcasses right back into their plush rich corinthian leather and protect their timid little selves from the elements.

And furthermore, I’m installing those ice-cream-cone-style curly energy saving lightbulbs in my lamps. It will save me money, and that’s something that even polluters and energy wasters just might understand.

And there’s more I intend to do.

Even so, there’s one other thing that I think we possibly need to stop doing.

And that’s to stop arguing about global warming. In fact, I say let’s take global warming off the table, period.

crying-indian-silhouette75p.jpgAs long as the issue continues to be divisive, nothing useful is going to get done.

It’s time to look to the past and reframe the issue: This is about pollution.

Whether pollution causes global warming or not, nobody with any kind of sense can argue that pollution is good for anybody or anything.

Breathing toxic air and drinking toxic water is indisputably a bad thing.
No argument.

So let’s get the issue back to where it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
At that time the message was simple: Pollution is bad; let’s stop it.

As a result, the momentum swung against pollution, and polluters. Even a Republican president, Richard Nixon, was eager to put strong laws on the books.

And, like then, we need to find one strong, simple symbol that makes the issue easily, starkly understood. Something like the “Crying Indian.”

Anybody out there who’s over 35 knows what I’m talking about.

In 1971, one of the most dramatic and powerful public service ads ever made was first broadcast—and it was shown for years repeatedly throughout the 1970’s.crying-indian-tear65p.jpg

Rowing his canoe through sludge and silhouetted against a nasty pink smog-laden sky, the great crying Indian sets foot on Modern America—only to suffer the indignity of fast-food garbage thrown at his feet.

If you haven’t seen the ad before, then you can catch it here at good ole Youtube:

So I say again, let’s make the issue pollution; not global warming.

The rest will follow.

-EG