Mowing down psychological tall grass and tangled weeds; clearing the field and planting new seeds. Thoughts lifted from my angry days, when someone asks my opinion and then denies it. If I tell you my favorite color, who else would have the "right" answer? Challenge it, oppose if you must, but to correct it is to erase my existence. If we all had the same thoughts, there would be no need for democracy. Cogito Ergo Sum.


Another day, another car crash. Another ejected driver.

I was expecting to see another fatality here, but no, surprisingly despite being ejected from the vehicle, this man lived. May his injuries not be crippling. I did not see anything in the article that explicitly says he was not wearing his seat belt, but being ejected from the vehicle is an indication. 

After the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq,  I wrote an essay titled "What Are You Afraid Of?" I related people's willingness to send US troops anywhere in the world to "protect us" and "save lives" no matter what the cost in blood and treasure; meanwhile 25,000 people every year still die in car accidents - and still 20 percent of them won't wear a seat belt. Months can pass without reading of a local person killed in the war zone; yet hardly a day can pass in the Standard Speaker without articles recounting deaths from car accidents, violent crime, domestic disputes, a lifetime of unhealthy habits, and a surreal number of house fires.

People fear terrorists and think their lives hang in the balance if the US is not all over the world "protecting" them, yet like this driver, the same people will spend the money to buy a Mercedes-Benz because it's known as a safe car, and still not wear their seat belt.

I suggest that he immediately devote the rest of his assets to buying lottery tickets, because he's just proven he's a wizard at beating the odds.

I also predict those who know me, and those who read this story will use this as yet another example of a person who did not wear their seat belt and nevertheless still lived to tell the tale. (again, may he recover from his injuries, described as "critical")

They will decry the "nanny state" which has the temerity to mandate seatbelt use, while they echo proud libertarian fantasies about wind-through-the-hair motocyclists without helmets and "I don't want to get trapped in my car if there's a fire" nightmares that are always the rare exception to the statistical facts.

Seat belts were not invented by the government. No, they were first invented - and requested - by those pilots who watched their fellow airmen die, not in a fiery obliteration of their aircraft, but in 'survivable' crash landings where they simply bounced too hard off the inside of the cockpit. Carrier landings would be lethal without a seat belt, even if the pilot was perfect.

And so, despite the testimony of Mr. Mulligan, the man who lives on this road and recounts for us the frequency of accidents, and despite the statistics that count the dead 9 to 1 amongst those who forsake seatbelts over those who wear them, this particular accident will probably become another tale recounted at parties for those who want to believe in the 1 in 10,000 exception and ignore the 9,999 headstones.

Ask someone if they want to jump out of their car window at 40 MPH, and they look at you in horror that you dared to even ask such a ludicrous thing. The same people will suggest that they want to get "thrown clear" of the car in an accident and don't realize it's the same proposition. Then there's all that stuff in the way of being thrown "clear", like windshields and dashboards.

I'm sure a quick phone call to anyone at Mercedes-Benz will be able to connect you to any engineer who helped designed precisely this car who will tell you that they do not intend for the passengers to be ejected.

A New York State Trooper visited my elementary school in the early 70's, and told us always to wear a seatbelt. This was old news and a habit already for me, because my dad was a mechanical engineer and refused to start the engine of any car he was driving until all the passengers, including the stubborn ones, were wearing their seatbelts. But the trooper spoke an enigmatic sentence to a then 7-year-old that fascinates me now that I'm in my 40's  . He said,

"In my 30 years on the force, I've never had to remove the seat belt from a dead body".

...because if they were wearing one, the person survived the wreck and unbelted themselves, and the ones who weren't wearing one were thrown from the vehicle; and therefore did not need the trooper to remove a seat belt that wasn't there. The only people touching the bodies at that point were from the ambulance crew or the coroner's office.

My congratulations to the survivor of the accident. My only wish is that he doesn't brag about it.

When, if he recovers fully from his injuries, I'd like to meet him some day and ask him if he will wears one after this event or not.

Oh, and "water runoff" does not cause accidents; people not paying attention to water on the road and driving too fast for conditions causes accidents.

All the people who drove through it safely can attest to that.


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