#1 By: Xeni Jardin, October 11th, 2013 14:29
#2 By: IMB, October 11th, 2013 14:43
Wow, what a terrible twist of fate, but I wonder if his death will bring more attention than the walk. Life is one strange trip.
#3 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, October 11th, 2013 14:46
I've heard that the greatest cure for grief is distance, but then this happens. I'd go take a long walk to help myself cope with something like this, if only local traffic weren't so bad...
#4 By: Christopher Waldrop, October 11th, 2013 14:51
I'm one of those people who tries to look for a bright side to everything. I was really struggling to come up with something in this case, but all I could think was that this family now has to deal with two tragic deaths when they shouldn't have even had to deal with one.
But you made me realize that, until his death, I hadn't heard about what Joseph Bell was doing. If there is a bright side that's it.
#5 By: technogeek, October 11th, 2013 15:17
Headline is sensationalist. "is killed" tends to imply deliberate. Try "dies in accident"... but then it doesn't grab readers. Which may say something about the story.
#6 By: deaduncledave, October 11th, 2013 15:41
I'm gonna go ahead and call "Asleep at the wheel" reckless endangerment with a deadly. S'why we have laws on the books against Vehicular Manslaughter.
#7 By: skabob, October 11th, 2013 15:46
#8 By: IMB, October 11th, 2013 16:25
He didn't have an accident, "dies in an accident" seems to imply some action on his part. The action was the truck. The truck killed him, it accidentally killed him, but not passively.
#9 By: technogeek, October 11th, 2013 16:27
Absolutely agreed. But it's still a skewed-almost-to-error headline.
#10 By: Tim, October 11th, 2013 16:35
I disagree. "Is murdered" would imply the death was deliberate. "Is killed" is perfectly accurate.
#11 By: Michael Smith, October 11th, 2013 16:42
The father doesn't have to deal with his son's death any more. I am a parent and I can understand that.
#12 By: Michael Smith, October 11th, 2013 16:43
In traffic management circles it would be called an "incident" because "accident" makes implications about intent.
#13 By: deaduncledave, October 11th, 2013 16:46
Yes, I've heard that euphemism for death used previously. Isn't it wonderful how language can make the horrific much more manageable?
#14 By: Shuck, October 11th, 2013 16:50
I'm constantly reading about someone walking across country for one cause or another getting killed by a motor vehicle. Either there are a hell of a lot of people doing cross-country walks, or this country is extremely dangerous to pedestrians. Or both. I rather suspect the latter, at least, is true, as there have to be a lot of places with no obvious, safe pedestrian access.
#15 By: Chentzilla, October 11th, 2013 16:52
All that comes to mind is this:
«There he is, walking from Vladivostok to Moscow along the trans-Siberian roads, carrying a banner reading ‘We Will Improve the Lives of Textile Workers’ in one hand. A pair of spare “Uncle Vanya” rubber sandals and a tin teapot without a lid dangle from the stick he carries over his shoulder. This Soviet fitness enthusiast left Vladivostok in his youth and upon reaching the gates of Moscow in his twilight years will be run over by a heavy truck whose license plate number nobody will quite catch».
(A paean to pedestrians from Russian satiric novel "The Golden Calf", written in 1930)
#16 By: Peregrinus Phoenix, October 11th, 2013 16:56
Didn't we have this entire same conversation after the guy kicking a soccer ball from Sao Paulo to Wichita or wherever got killed by a truck?
It sucks that this guy was whacked, and if the guy was asleep at the wheel, he deserves to go away.
#17 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, October 11th, 2013 17:30
It sucks that this guy was whacked, and if the guy was asleep at the
wheel, he deserves to go away.
I mean, ostensibly it wasn't intended - it was negligence. And while negligence shouldn't simply be ignored, assuming this was what it sounds like - a terrible accident that no one wanted - what good does locking the driver away and ruining yet another life do? What tangible good comes from imprisoning him? Why do we as a society feel that he somehow "deserves" to have his own life ruined in turn?
Punishment for the sake of punishment is one of the great absurdities of humanity. Assuming the driver isn't somehow callously remorseless and unfeeling, surely he's already suffering the guilt of his negligence? He has to live the rest of his life with his crime on his conscience. Every time he gets behind the wheel of a car, he's going to have this terrible accident gnawing away at him - assuming he can even bring himself to get back behind a wheel. He'll lay awake at night, hating himself for such a small, simple, human thing - making a bad judgement call and being wrong, falling prey to the power of exhaustion at a bad time.
And how much chance must have been involved! If the driver had fallen asleep mere seconds earlier or later, he'd have missed the poor father entirely! Or if the father had stopped to tie his shoe at some point, the two fatal trajectories no longer would have intersected. Or if the driver's sleep addled control of the vehicle had caused him to veer left instead of right, or vice versa. Or if he had instead veered to a greater or lesser degree.
There's so much that no one could have known or foreseen. The driver couldn't have known he'd fall asleep at the wheel. He couldn't have known when, or where. He couldn't have known that a pedestrian would just happen to be walking down that particular rural highway, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right place to be struck on exactly the particular trajectory that the truck would end up on while uncontrolled.
Instead of spending money and resources destroying the life of a man by jailing him, we should be spending our efforts improving safety instruction for drivers at large. We should be funding improvements to our roadways, such as adding "rumble strips" to those roadways that lack them, to help combat the threat of driver exhaustion. We should be investing in vehicle technology and research, perhaps mandating safety features such as computerized driver assessment, where the car itself attempts to determine if a driver has drifted off at the wheel, or perhaps investing directly in wholly autonomous vehicles. We should be investing in pedestrian accomodations, making it easier and safer for people to get around on foot.
These are just a few of the countless better options available to us than locking away a man for making a mistake any of us might have done, and that surely many of us have - this driver was just unlucky enough to have someone in the path of his vehicle when he drifted off.
#18 By: Peregrinus Phoenix, October 11th, 2013 17:38
My love for my fellow man leads me down the avenue you describe. I don't believe in rough justice. I don't believe in making people pay; I don't believe in an eye for an eye.
But I do believe that falling asleep at the wheel is a tragically dangerous thing to happen, and if you do it, the laws we've all agreed on have to come into play.
Otherwise, the level of risk that drivers take increases. And it happens more.
If it was booze - would you feel different? On the phone - different? Watching Star Trek on his phone - different? If the dead guy was your brother - different? Your kid's teacher?
#19 By: Duncan, October 11th, 2013 19:03
Ironically, the term Eye for an Eye was meant to limit punishment to 'reasonable' levels.
I just wanted to say that your other example here fall into the category of choice (booze, on the phone etc.) but falling asleep while driving is not something someone, in a moment of bad-judgment, makes. Getting into the car tired, sure, that's bad but I too believe that all the laws, and the wisdom of a fair judge, should come into play here, and probably will.
Also, This isn't the first guy this year to get killed trying to walk someplace for a cause: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Man-on-soccer-quest-from-Seattle-to-Brazil-killed-on-Oregon-highway-207469901.html
#20 By: Peregrinus Phoenix, October 11th, 2013 19:09
The point is - if you're not in full control of your capacities, don't drive.
I mentioned that guy above - the discussion here mirrors the discussion after that incident.
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