What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

31 January 2018


Last summer at the Ohio State Fair, a young man was killed when the ride he was on broke apart and sent riders hurtling to the ground, resulting in the kind of blunt force trauma that the ER docs likened to car crashes. Several others were injured. The midway was immediately closed, all the rides were re-inspected, and the ride in question--the Fire Ball--was immediately shut down at fairs across the country, just in case.

I was unlucky enough to walk past a TV right when the news was showing social media video of the incident, and it nearly knocked me to the floor. It's horrifying. (Please be warned before you Google that you will not like what you find.)

All of this--closing everything down, re-inspecting, and so on--was absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, the correct course of action.

But why, then, don't we demand the same level of action when there is a car crash? Machines fail--we know this. Human error happens--we know that, too. But when machines fail and human error happens over and over again in exactly the same way, one begins to wonder if there isn't more that could be done. (There is, by the way. Traffic engineers have all sorts of tools they can use to make streets safer, and some of them are unpopular with the folks who are still alive, and that's why people keep getting killed.)

There was, and may still be, an intersection in Lubbock that was marked with a sign warning drivers (and bicyclists, and pedestrians) that it was a high-fatality intersection and to use caution. That was the city's response to the most deadly intersection in town. Not, "let's take a look at the design of this intersection." Not, "maybe there's an issue with the traffic signals that we can adjust." Not, "let's get officers and engineers out to find out why people are dying here on a weekly basis." No. The response was to put up a sign and leave everything else unchanged. Anyone want to guess how much good the sign does?

I'd love for there to never be a need for another one of
these. Wouldn't you? Source: Albuquerque Journal.
The young man at the state fair should not have died while out having a fun night with his friends. Nor should anyone die on their commute to work, or while taking their kids to school, or while picking up groceries, or on their way to a night out. Somehow we've decided that 35K traffic deaths per year in this country is the price of doing business. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of child death (age 14 & younger) in the U.S. Our kids deserve better, our future deserves better, we deserve better.

If you've lost someone in an avoidable tragedy like this, my heart breaks for you. Please, please, please, let's demand better.

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