My brother has been out of high school for about 9 years now, but It took me 6 whole years to consider the possibility that something was wrong. I was in undergrad and focused on my studies, and then moved to NYC, so my time wasn't really spent at home with my brother, which should never be an excuse when it comes to family. But I let it be. Until my child was born.
9 years ago, my brother dropped out of high school and started seeing a therapist with the help and support of my dad. Both of them hid this from me until a month ago. The details of his high school days weren't revealed, but my brother has spent 9 full years dreading human interaction. I scolded him a year ago for not wanting to come to my wedding, and a month ago, begged him to come celebrate Christmas with my in-laws so that he can meet his nephew. He didn't end up coming, and that's when my dad finally revealed the details of the past 9 years.
It doesn't have to come to death to point out our primal fears as fathers. I used to be ambitious for the sake of being ambitious, but the arrival of my son, confounded with the revelation of my brother, has lead to a change in perspective. Everything can change in an instant, and contrary to the popular opinions of HN, the largest changes in our lives are beyond our control. The utter powerlessness of not being able to rewind to 9 years ago to be there for my brother gets at me. As does my fear and uncertainty of the life my son will be subjected to.
1. Forget the term "playdate". Don't schedule your kids' time to play with other children. I know it sounds strange, but adults used to have adult lives and people would just go visit each other. Their kids would play together while the adults did their thing.
2. Don't post pictures of your kid all the time on social media. No one really cares. Sorry. Send those pictures to your parents or friends directly. Better yet, go over to visit them and show them pictures in person. If you can, drop social media as much as you can stand, and just enjoy the fact that you love your child as much as every parent without turning parenting into social signalling and narcissistic indulgence.
3. Remember that your kids will leave you. They will go away to preschool, grade school, maybe college. And then one day, they will leave for the last time to set out on their own. Yes, you need to protect them, but if you are fearful and see the world as ugly, your kids will sense that growing up and most likely feel the same way. Do you want to send them out to the wide world with a viewpoint that the world is a scary place? Is the world a scary place? Why did the world turn ugly and scary when you had a child?
These are just my opinions, and there is no wrong way to do it. There's all sorts of ways of living. I just hope you find something that gives you some faith in your ability to raise a child that will turn out just fine. Because he or she will.
For many people, social media is how you send things to parents and friends. It's more straightforward than managing an email list, and needn't be any less real a connection.
I don't deny that ubiquitous social media is deforming our interactions, but I think a lot of people don't understand why Facebook et al got so popular in the first place. It's not just email for idiots. It's a tremendously useful tool for maintaining connections with a large and changing group.
The connection via Facebook is so trivial and transient but it is better than no connection to people I'd have no contact with otherwise.
The people I email photos too will probably look at them a few times and may want to print them and will send an email response. Via FB it's all seen and then forgotten in 30s
For me to send a birthday card to my friends I have a reminder that goes off a week before their birthday so that I find the time to go out get a relevant card. Then writing something of purpose inside the card and sending it with enough time to get there. So it's a week's worth of remembering their birthday vs the 30s that occurs in FB before reading all the other news.
So not worthless, but certainly worth less, to almost zero.
But I was recently at a wedding, and was prompted to post a few photos up (more to share the photos with the bride/groom in a way that can also be seen by their friends too). It surprised me the number of messages I got saying how people loved seeing pictures of the kids and how they'd grown etc etc.
I don't have time to keep up with a lot of these old friends (many live far away) so I count this as a positive interaction on facebook.
Every time we get into a car, we are choosing to take a risk not only with our own life, but with the lives of everyone else near the road. I mean, we kind of choose that by continuing to live in areas where our density makes public transit less practical, but there's a lot to be said for just taking the responsibility of driving a lot more seriously, and treating driving as something risky, and taking steps to drive less.
The message was something else - sometimes, bad things just happen to people, and there is little you can do about it other than move on, and learn from the experiences.
It is also very controllable.
That is why it gets the focus that it does.
The trouble is, it's easy to get distracted by speed as a coefficient in collision intensity, and not pay attention to what causes that collision in the first place.
People often think that because speed is such an important factor that they shouldn't drive faster to help traffic flow, or even that they should block faster traffic. Those actions are very likely to cause collisions, which is more important than the factor they are trying to minimize.
The likelihood of a collision causing death is just as proportional to mass. A semi hauling a trailer cannot stop in a short enough distance to prevent some collisions, and can be deadly even at very low speed. Even so, we realize the impracticality of reducing mass, so we focus on speed instead.
The real problem we need to focus on is collision prevention, not collision mitigation. Let's stop ignoring the reality of "bad fate", and do real work to minimize it's occurrence instead.
There's a whole slew of other pedestrian-friendly street design that we could & should adopt as well, but that doesn't make speed any less of a valid approach.
I'd wager, also, that speed itself is rarely the direct cause of an accident. High speed, though, will make an accident more severe. My bet is that distracted driving is the #1 cause of accidents. On my daily 2-hour round trip on Chicagoland highways, I usually see 4-6 accidents each involving >2 cars. The shear amount of people I see on their phones is staggering. Hard to tell if it's social media or texting, but you can always tell because their head is staring at their lap, or they're holding their phones at the top of the steering wheel for all to see. I also see people with their phones mounted on their dashes watching movies or TV shows. Playing with your phone while driving is far more dangerous than paying attention & speeding.
That sounds like an extraordinary statement to me, by which I mean that you need to support it.
First, let me make a distinction between crashes where drivers lose control after the collision, either due to shock to the driver or damage to the car, and crashes where they don't. In the latter case, I agree with you; a freeway scrape where both cars can slow in a controlled manner is probably pretty safe. And you are more likely to have that sort of accident when you are going at similar speeds in the same direction. But it's not a certain thing;
Cars are complex systems, and designed to operate without colliding with other vehicles. Cars are also much more likely to lose control when they are operating closer to their speed design envelope.
However, in the case where either the car or the driver is incapable of continuing to control the vehicle, at that point the car continues to hit other things until it's stopped (and is often hit then by traffic that isn't stopped.) At that point, total speed matters a lot.
There is just a whole lot more energy involved when you are moving fast than when you are moving slowly, and when energy is dispersed in an uncontrolled manner near people, those people tend to get hurt.
Certainly! Falling from great height isn't dangerous either, you know.
For example, a 4-lane road that I drive on to get to the city will usually have two cars in the front driving practically the same speed, and slower than the traffic behind them. To fix this situation, the car on the left should speed up and get over, so that traffic can flow around it and spread out. Unfortunately, there is so much educational focus and enforcement on speed limits that the driver on the left believes [s]he is driving correctly.
In addition the density of the traffic can be so high that just a single wrong step can decide your destiny every minute.
> In large central metro areas, those aged 35–44 years (2.08), 45–54 years (2.60), 55–64 years (2.60), 65–74 years (3.36), 75–84 years (5.19), and ≥85 years (5.24) had statistically higher death rates than those in the same age groups at other urbanization levels. 
The road system is designed with inherent danger. The street she was driving had a high speed limit with children near the road. If we design better systems, then no one has to live with needless guilt. And, even better, less people die.
However, the message I take away from this is that somehow we have accepted into society this incredibly dangerous thing which while convenient it not necessary at all. While we make everything else in society safe, we seem to ignore the most dangerous thing around us, that kills around 1.3 million people every single year.
We treat automobiles as a necessity of modern life in all places, but it wasn't always this way. In the 1910s and 20s, many writers excoriated all of the roads bringing dangerous cars into places where people live and play. It turns out they were right, but we just became blind to the danger.
Read Super Freakonomics for the interesting data that they observe between the two.
(My assertion is that if we had a place where we had US standard driving safety requirements but more than half the miles traveled were via public transit, we would have fewer per capita injuries. Or more generally, that the per capita injuries goes up with miles driven in cars. I have so far failed to provide statistical evidence of this.)
I drove a couple of times after that, but the screaming kids in the back of the other car was enough for me.
Now I cycle everywhere. Or get the train. I was not prosecuted or anything but I didn't want to almost kill anyone (and their family) ever again.
I consider myself lucky.
Point being: cycling is good too.
Even so, cycling is wonderful. I certainly recommend it.
It's possible that local traffic circumstances invalidate these for many locations, but at least the "generally" part of your claim seems to be reaching too far.
Out of interest, do you have a citation for that in European countries?
Danger goes both ways. If you are on a bicycle rather than in a car, you are more susceptible to the danger created by the cars around you. In effect, all of the cars around you are more dangerous than they were before, because there is a cyclist (you) on the road.
Two things greatly increased the probability of a fatal incident in this case:
1. Mailbox across the street from the home: If the mailbox was on the same side of the street as the home, there would be less cause to cross the street.
2. High speed roadway in a residential area: 45 mph is much too high for a residential neighborhood; 25 mph is generally regarded as safe.
I'd be hard pressed to call a rural area a residential neighborhood.
I used to live on a road like this, it's not exactly a neighborhood like in most cities (so "residential neighborhood" may not have been accurate) - it's a linear neighborhood along the road. We were lucky enough to have our mailbox at the end of our driveway, not across the street; if our mailbox had been across the street, it would have been unsafe to walk and get the mail.
The proper engineering solution to this is to have an angled turn-off on to a side road (either perpendicular or parallel) which /is/ limited to a "safe residential speed".
You may be correct about the authors intent; I maybe should have attached this to one of the threads where fathers talk about their vigilance in protecting their young, but I usually avoid talking directly about children and how they should be raised, because being someone who doesn't have or want children, my words often sound more offensive than I intend.
It is true that we should take "the responsibility of driving a lot more seriously, and treating driving as something risky" but treating this as a story about driving less broadly misses the point.
It is terrible that a child did not get to live his life, and there is nothing we can do in hindsight to bring that opportunity back to him.
It is also terrible to torture this woman over a flaw in the system. She was paying attention, and driving the speed limit. She was not at fault. Her actions could not be changed to lower the likelihood of her accidentally killing another child. Only the surrounding circumstances can be changed.
We do not accept how dangerous this is. This is severe carelessness. We should all recognise that driving more than 30 mph when there's houses around has the real possibility of killing someone. We shouldn't need the Government to tell us, we should be aware every time we step in our car that it can kill.
Plus the woman makes no indication of how close she was to the other cars. I will never believe that she is completely blameless.
The people killed by cars are the most cruel, because in every other way they were healthy.
I don't know how you can possibly think it's appropriate to tell somebody who is suffering through the grief of accidentally killing a child that "it IS your fault".
Striving to drive less is a great thing to do for many reasons, but the vast majority of people will still be required to drive regularly. Some of those people will have genuine accidents. We don't currently live in a world where it is possible to completely prevent traffic accidents (which, for the record, are also occasionally caused by cyclists and frequently caused by pedestrians)
It is inevitable that some people will be involved in tragic accidents, and your comment does nothing to prevent that. It just makes life worse for the people in that situation
Wd usebplastic, wrong for ecology. We wear t-shirts, manufactured by poor people in China. We watch TV, whuch uses electricity bad for the environment. We drive i syead of walking, we eat non-sustainable stuff.
I could go on, and show how much of our "choices" are wrong and how, everyday, we "decide to make them".
So this boils down to either mental sanity or some kind of Amish life.
It's seriously this stupid. There's no driving test after you're initially licensed, nor any recurrence training required. All you have to do in most states is pay a fee to get a license renewed, and you can do it online. They just want the money. Some states will want your vision retested, in my state that's only once every 10 years.
My elderly aunt could teach me how to drive, start to finish, exclusively. That's legal. Her view is that driving is a right, not a privilege. The government's role is only to prove that you're incompetent to hold a license, otherwise it's between you and your insurance company.
I don't see this worldview changing very soon. I'm not confident autonomous vehicles will take over any time soon, but whenever I think of the reality of car driver incompetency it makes me wish it could happen much sooner.
This, if enforced, would internalize the externality of injury into the cost of driving, and probably would make driving dramatically more expensive, which would hopefully create demand for alternate systems.
I learned from that. I won't tolerate no amount of bullying, shaming, or excluding of an individual of groups I take care of or am part of. If they'd care it is not difficult for adults to stop bullying of kids by kids.
Even in your peer group it isn't always difficult to block bullying. If you are open, direct, loud, and confrontential enough against the transgressors, they usually stop. Though, care must be taken to not bully themselves.
I think that those that bully have themselves been hurt before or have other issues, and bullying is just a way to deal with. So, having that in mind can make it easier to deescalate these situations.
It becomes even more difficult if you finally decide to open up about how hurt you are, and you are brushed away, and not taken seriously.
As weird as it sounds, it helps to read a comment like yours to see that there are people that care, so thank you for sharing.
I agree with you that bullies themselves have been hurt and bullying is a way to deal with it. Ever since I found out my brother was bullied, I came to the realization that this social interaction may be a situation where your best defense against bullies is actually being a bully. I don’t want to believe that, but deterrence is a real thing. For me personally, I simply laughed off the bullies when I was young, and that worked. But that was my genuine reaction to the bullies, and I just happened to have it in me to just laugh.
I'm not bullied any more, and can effectively defend myself now.
I'm not sure I learned to cope with having been bullied, or if I ever will. It is an invisible scar that shows itself in counterintuitive, suprising, and sometimes creeping ways. I don't know how to generically deal with it. Self-chosen social isolation is an intuitive way to deal with it, though I don't want it for myself.
I'm quite stubborn and don't easily give in to social pressure, so that might have made it easier for me. I'm also curious and want to try out new things, so I try to benignly ignore social conventions to see what happens and learn from that. This has made me in some aspects very social, because consciously refusing or experimenting with implicit social norms can lead to behaviour that is not often seen. For example, a coffeehouse is not for people to drink coffee even though that is the implicit convention; It is much easier, cheaper and more comfortable to drink a coffee at home. People go to coffeehouses for social interaction. I realize that and act accordingly. I just go to people I'd like to talk with and ask them if they feel like chatting. My experience with that has been astonishingly positive, so I assume my understanding is correct. But doing that is not easy for everyone because the fear of rejection is so strong, even when the decision to try it was made very consciously. Humans are masters at unconscious interpretation of behaviour and social situations. We know when and who to talk to about what because we dread social punishment so much. This is just one example, and I don't understand psychology very well including my own, but hey, at least I can share my experience. :)
I learnt how to act as a bystander from many experiences. There is a good german explanatory video that gives an introduction. Key to stop bullying is to understand that passive bystanders make the situation for the victim significantly more painful. Those around can easily and effectively stop most bullying. If you are bullied it can help to call out passive bystanders directly and individually.
Deterrence absolutely works, and it is not necessary to bully others to build up deterrence. For instance adults can easily seem like demigods for children; unsurmountably strong, more knowledgeable and experienced, larger and heavier, with deeper lower voice and unmatchable social standing. This is why children don't often pick on adults.
My radar is up whenever I am in public with my daughters. I notice if strangers look for too long in their direction or if I see someone hanging out where children are, without a child of their own.
Occasionally, I'll spot another father like me. We'll lock eyes for a moment and it's clear that we recognize each other (for what we are, not necessarily who we are) and then go back to scanning the area.
I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your brother. Kids can be horrible to each other. I don't say that to minimize his experience but to say that I understand.
This heightened awareness that you feel, it comforts me to know that there are others out there. Obviously, there are no guarantees in life but your vigilance will give your son a better shot at safely reaching adulthood than many other boys who don't have someone looking out for them like that.
A very young child needs supervision and precautions to prevent them from hurting themselves, as this article sadly shows, and even then, its blind bad luck sometimes.
But otherwise I can’t think any of my family (two young kids, 1 year and 8 years) or friends (many kids of various ages) being super cautious about their kids in public. I don’t live in the USA, mind you.
We let daycare staff care for the little ones, which includes daily walks through the downtown core. We let kids walk to school on their own when they turned 10, we let them play unsupervised outside around age 7, or go for a bike ride with neighbor kids, etc. It’s not that different from when I was growing up. Hanging out and playing the at the park is probably less of a thing, perhaps, but that’s more because of iPads and Xboxes than safety.
A small boy had wandered off and was found dead in a pond, he had fallen in and drowned because he could not swim. It turned out that the child had been seen by a labourer cleaning a ditch, but he had no cellphone and did not intervene because he feared the pedophile hysteria and did not want to be seen with a child that wasn't his.
It's understandable if you remember what Rupert Murdoch's Sun was like.
The original group of kids played across a very large area (something like a couple square miles of woodland) and roamed across their hometowns with little oversight.
Two decades later their children by comparison were very closely monitored and played in controlled areas or fenced yards only.
The reasoning of the parents being that crime and abduction have risen when in fact they’ve fallen by a huge amount.
There’s no real sane reason behind it - I’m a parent and there’s no way I’d let my kids play in the local woods alone despite doing so myself as a kid. The world ‘feels’ less safe and it’s very hard to overcome our feelings even when we know they’re irrational.
This really resonates. My kid for example has wanted one of these little scooters which you see toddlers riding around everywhere. I've been refusing up until recently when I realized that by denying her access not only am I excluding her from a valuable social experience with her friends who own scooters but I'm quite possibly harming her ability to master and safely ride the thing.
It's important to realize that sometimes when you're saying to your kid "I don't think you're ready" you're really talking about yourself as a parent.
New father here...do you feel comfortable talking about what life skills / experiences you missed?, so I can (try to) avoid making the same mistakes?
Yes, we did, and the media-driven false perception was already well-established 20 years ago; I saw papers about the media-driven false perception in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
Media sensationalism isn't new. Even the heightened form driven by the 24-hour news cycle is older than that (CNN, the 24-hour news network that drove the 24-hour news cycle, is 37 years old. Fox News and MSNBC, the two competing general 24-hour news networks that made that cycle competitive were each founded 21+ years ago in 1996.)
Obviously with little kids in an urban environment we kept them pretty close to home. Once they were in 7th and 8th grade then the ranges got longer. And honestly, it was a challenge dealing with my spouse and other families who insisted on hover-parenting or refusing to let their kids walk 3 blocks to our house. To a certain degree, that is to their detriment because it doesn't allow kids to learn and explore.
Of course, my argument, along with the article above, was "They sneak out at night and wander all over multiple neighborhoods, so why do you feel the need to keep them in your sight at all times?" But that leads to lots of other parenting stories that I'm not going into here.
I balance the likelihood with the potential consequences when making my decision.
For example, logically, I know that there's no danger of contracting anything from sitting on a public toilet seat but I still make a bird's nest when I have to poop in a public place.
Intellectually, I know that the world is now statistically safer than it was when I was a child but I still do not allow my children to roam unsupervised in public places.
I choose to guard spend more time being vigilant against the former.
I imagine it's the deceptively mundane that is the true danger, automobiles being the most obvious.
A few months ago, I discovered that one lived on my street. He has since been arrested and is no longer in the neighborhood.
But, it's not just out-of-place perverts. I am also on the lookout for under supervised children who "play" too violently.
I knew that I would be concerned about vehicles, so I was sure to buy a house with a large, fenced in, backyard. It's away from the street and even adjacent to a small patch of woods. They can have outdoor adventures and I can have peace of mind.
They're also not left unsupervised with clergy.
Can you expand? What type of father are you?
Honestly, you'd do better to be more vigilant of bees and mosquitoes, both of which are much more likely to kill or harm your child than a stranger abducting them.
Try not to worry so much. ;)
BTW if you want to give your kids the best chance at later childhood, select their school not based on hearsay or image, but based on how resilient, motivated and kind/warm their teacher-to-be is. Those teachers keep bullying at a minimum, and let kids keep their natural curiosity. Spending 4-5h every day in class can make or break you at 6-8y old.
Everything I know suggests to me these two things are profoundly interrelated and that if you can sort out how it is you did not see your brother's distress and/or did not understand that it had to come from somewhere, you will feel more comfortable as a father.
That isn't a personal attack. I was molested as a child and I knew how to protect my sons from the same. I did not live with the kind of fear as a parent that you describe.
I never seem to know how to say such things properly. When I try to comment on it, it is frequently taken as an accusation and that is not remotely my intent. My hope is to help you find a constructive path forward so you can make your peace with the past and make your way more confidently into the future as a parent.
I don't want to have children, and very large part of that is the fact that I don't want to cause someone to hurt as intensely as many do growing up. I know I and my siblings had a very difficult time.
In other words, it's out of love. I am keeping someone safe.
I very much respect anyone who has chosen to have children and is dedicated to protecting them and keeping them safe. The world needs more people like you.
Maybe you view the world as peaceful and rosy, and that's a good view to have, but always have a fallback.
Speak softly but carry a big stick, you know.
People get bullied all the time. Even as adults, just in different forms. Resorting to authority early on is not the best solution.
And as adults, every day can be a battle, if you can't hold your own, you have societal resources to back you up.
Of course, this needs to be taught as being a last resort, otherwise they may grow up to be bullies themselves. Having children is hard.
> the largest changes in our lives are beyond our control.
My brother and I started a very small humanist school in Hungary to give my nephew a better education and yes, to shelter my nephew from being bullied. Yes, quite a lot of things in our lives is beyond our control but with a lot of perseverance you can wrestle back control. Although the necessity to do this is exactly beyond our control...
Edit: just wanted to add, spend the most quality time you can with your kids. I resigned from my job when my eldest was 1 year old to be able to spend more time with him. Best decision of my life in retrospect.
If you have not read the story yet, don't it will stir shit up.
Most importantly I am sorry for your lose.
Edit: I'm not one to shy away from something difficult but i won't be reading this story either.
When my grandfather died, we thought she was going to go ballistic. But she didn't even cry, she took it better than anyone. I asked her how she was able to handle it so well. She told me the loss of a child makes anything else in life seem trivial, even the loss of a decades long spouse (I'm paraphrasing). It's like a scar so big you don't have room to feel anything else, or the ability to. So thankfully, I don't truly understand, but it put the fear of God in me.
People in their 20s often care about their career. People in their 80s often do not. Who's right? It's often a trade-off. The goal is not to be happy on your deathbed; it's to be happy throughout life.
I personally agree with this sentiment and am striving towards a better work life balance, but there is at least one person who has apparently said that:
"I have only one regret... that I have not worked harder." - Henry Royce (of Rolls-Royce) - https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Henry_Royce
edit: yes yes, harder != longer
We could speculate that nothing was enough, he was never satisfied and never happy (despite all he achieved).
Contracting services that could you could otherwise do yourself (e.g. cooking, cleaning, renos, repairs, etc) and spending that time with your son seems to fit the bill.
I'm sorry. That's awful. That's beyond awful. There are no words.
I travel a ton for work and take the earliest flight out in the morning so I can tuck them in the night before. Then I get back late so I'm there when they wake up the next morning. Physically painful but worth it.
Just a concerned stranger. I wish you well.
There’s always more work (it honestly never ends if your skills are valuable). But time with your kids is very precious - and that becomes very clear in retrospect.
I’ve noticed my relationship with my three year old has become closer as I’ve put more time and effort in engaging with her. There is really no replacement for quality time with your kids - no amount of toys or treats makes up for it.
Since then, two close friends have lost their children under tragic circumstances. You can't really put it into words what you'll feel for them. The only thing I try to take out of it is to be kind to others (you never know what they are going through or have gone through) and to live in the present, because you never know what can happen in the future.
I often think of how Tycho from Penny Arcade describes this phenomena: "Children carve something out of you, a place for themselves; people can twist the knife in that spot, and it just bleeds and bleeds."
In the past, stories like that would make me angry, but that's about it. Now that I have a kid, my brain plays through the scene with him as the baby being taken. My response is violence. I'm not a violent person at all, but I think I'd probably kill those kidnappers in the heat of the moment if I realized what was happening. I mean I would find anything to use as a weapon, and I'd just beat the everliving crap out of them. It's probably the worst reaction I could have, as it would mean me spending my life in jail, my son growing up without a dad, etc. Just a terrible, terrible decision, really. But I think that's what I'd do in the moment unless I could manage to overcome emotions with reason.
It's hard to express how having a kid changes your perspective on things like this.
I don't understand this approach. Alternatively, find a place to live, and a lifestyle to live, that lets your children develop without your anxiety weighing them down. You leave them unattended for hours and hours at a time while you sleep. The only difference your mind isn't racing with potential threats, it's asleep.
I don't know. all kids are different, mine too.
Yeah, I have 4 kids, and this right here, in my opinion is the core of the current trend to overparent. Let your kids play where you played. Let them have their own life outside of your control and influence. There is something very unhealthy about the way we have started viewing children and childhood in the USA.
Regardless, the story wasn't the point of my comment. The reaction I have as a dad vs pre-parenthood is the point. Where I live is the sex-trafficking capital of my state, which probably heightens my reactions, too. The problem is real and pervasive, fake news not withstanding.
Everyone could let their kids walk to school and chances are nothing bad will happen. Though it may lead to those kids being a bit healthier, more independent and more confident. And less likely to die in a car crash - which is far, far more probable than kidnapping.
Walking to school is an interesting scenario. I hate the car, so I'd probably walk with them or ride bikes together.
Side story: My dad had a friend who was almost kidnapped while on the way to school. The only reason it didn't succeed is that my dad and another friend grabbed their friend by the ankles while the guy in the car was tugging on their friend's arms. The kids all screamed bloody murder, and the men in the car gave up and drove off.
In most areas of life I like to think that I let statistics drive my thinking (e.g. I don't try to beat the stock market no matter how bad things look, unless I'm gambling for the fun of it). But in the case of kids, man... it's just much harder to overcome emotional biases.
It doesn't look that way:
>...During the study year, there were an estimated 115
stereotypical kidnappings, defined as abductions perpetrated
by a stranger or slight acquaintance and
involving a child who was transported 50 or more
miles, detained overnight, held for ransom or with
the intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
So, 115 children were abducted by strangers that year.
The national weather service estimates that 300 people are hit by lightning a year.
Like you said, it's hard for people to overcome emotional biases.
As a comparison, sharing a bed with a baby (which many people think is safe) is implicated in thousands of deaths a year:
>...After analyzing data on 8,207 infant deaths from 24 states that occurred between 2004 and 2012, researchers determined that nearly 74 percent of deaths in babies younger than 4 months occurred in a bed-sharing situation, according to the study published Monday in Pediatrics.
>Among older infants – those aged 4 months to 364 days – the rate was slightly lower at nearly 59 percent.
As another comparison, over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year in car accidents.
I mean, either way, it's exceedingly rare, but the odds of a young child being abducted is a good bit higher than the odds that they are struck by lightning.
Both odds are really rare. But my point is that it's just logical to take precautions. Not leaving your kids unattended in public places and not leaving them out in thunderstorms... both strike me as reasonable advice. :)
Edit: throwing in the link that shows ~20% of lightning fatalities are for people between 0-19 years old.
Your link is talking about fatalities. Just as the number of fatalities from lightning is much less than occurrences, the same applies to kidnappings. The probabilities for the two things aren't that different.
>...But my point is that it's just logical to take precautions. Not leaving your kids unattended in public places and not leaving them out in thunderstorms... both strike me as reasonable advice. :)
Yea, the low number for lightning strikes is likely due to the fact that people do avoid going out in lightning. Also while it is reasonable to not leave kids unattended in public places, kidnappings of children have always been very rare and the extra paranoia people have about it today isn't helpful and as posters have pointed out, actually makes the world a more dangerous place.
Because it's not pervasive, it's a false panic.
Trafficking is a problem that impacts runaways and immigrants. If you want to help, help them, don't get hysterical over imagined babysnatching.
Have another one.
There are plenty of these examples over the years. It is not that it does not happen, it does happen, but it is pretty rare. My point was that you can not simply dismiss all these cases out of hand as fantasy.
It does very rarely happen. But even of the subset of events that aren't totally fabricated, many turn out to be more innocent than they are made out to be.
People getting their worldview from these sources are going to be unnecessarily worrisome about such things, which is really the point of the grandparent.
The story in my original comment was reported in a local news paper's website, which my wife assumed was reliable... So who knows.
Never? Come on, how far are we going to take this? Not sending them to school so you can stay home and watch for kidnappers? Never sending them to grandpa's house because grandpa might bring the kids to the grocery store and turn around for a second to pick up some carrots?
Perspective! Assuming that its not a fabricated story the risk of this sort of kidnapping is so incredibly low it might as well be zero. This sort of anxiety about it is unhealthy and unproductive. Never bring them outside because a stranger may snatch them out of a stroller? If you go to the grocery store your going to turn away for a quarter of a second to grab something off the shelf, it's a fact of life.
One of the biggest risk to children is car crashes. In which case an equally ridiculous but much much better piece of advice is "NEVER allow your children to ride in an automobile."
Traffic is a far bigger danger than kidnappings, and the biggest danger to a child who walks to school is the parent of another child who insists on driving the kids to school.
Kids are unpredictable. I remember being 7 years old and waiting with my mom to cross a busy street. For some reason that today is unknown to me, I decided to just run across the street as soon as the lights turned yellow. I almost got hit and my mom almost had a heart attack. I use this example to keep me alert when I'm with my daughter in a potentially dangerous but seemingly safe environment. You never know what's going on in their little heads.
Children need to live in an environment where they can have adventures make mistakes and get hurt. Even badly injured. But not killed.
Your post complains that helicopter parenting causes broken bones, meanwhile other anti-helicoptering activists argue that breaking bones is a necessary part of healthy development, that helicoptering prevents.
>meanwhile other anti-helicoptering activists argue that breaking bones is a necessary part of healthy development
Who says that? The fact is, the broken bones came, in her case, from the fact that she has no experience or confidence in things kids her age are able to do but ends up playing with other children (often younger!) who can. My kids already had their falls and scrapes when they were younger and closer to the ground. Now they know how to swing on a swing, roller blade, etc., without getting terrified and falling over. They also know better how to fall to minimize damage because they have experience with it.
Look, over-protection is simply bad . That's why it's called over-protection. If you're doing it, you're harming your children and you need to stop.
I still force him to hold my hand when we're anywhere near cars, and I worry when I can't hear him. But I also look the other way when I know his step-brother is playing a little too rough with him. And I let him bang hammers in the garage when I'm working in there. I guess I'm trying to find a balance, but I'm sure I make some mistakes.
Some age over 12 is well into the age where anti-helicoptering advocated would be likely to expect the harms of early helicoptering to have manifested, so the description in GP does not, to me, seem at all inconsistent with the common anti-helicoptering argument.
The primary risks to children are traffic, drowning, and as a teen and preteen suicide.
This gives you and your kids a pretty small number of things to be scared of, and consequently a small number of important safety lessons to impart.
I have on occasion experimented with public transport in the country where I live and it simply does not work at a reliability level that I can trust not to result in regular embarassment due to inability to be where I need to be when I agreed to be there. This is a pretty bad state of affairs but I did not create that state of affairs and the day that this is fixed I will be more than happy to stop driving.
As it is, between email and driving I do not know which I hate more and as soon as I shut down my business and can retire I will be happy to get rid of both.
Please do not make assumptions about other peoples lives.
Powerful stuff. It feels vitally important to confront this fear. But I do feel deeply unsettled.
That fear doesn't go away, and, as I indicated, it actually got worse over time for me. Not crippling/anxiety or anything like that, but comes out at random times, not to mention all the expected times (e.g., reading news, watching media, etc.).
That feeling of utter panic and helplessness watching him run while my wife and I screamed for him to stop will never, ever go away. It still pains me when the memory comes up, of what could have been.
He stopped 3 feet from an oncoming 18-wheeler and turned around in more fear than I've ever seen in a little kid since.
But then maybe it's good to have a dose of it once in awhile, to keep me from getting to comfortable with his safety.
In otherwords, most people would agree with it, but then comes the hard part. Fundamentally transforming default thinking patterns that have been etched deeply through years of habit and experience.
Why leave out step 2? Can advice on step 1 be helpful without a plan for step 2?
...and hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We are hard wired to spend an inordinate amount of time and attention on averting losses of all kinds, often to a degree that confounds any sort of cost/benefit analysis.
This is bog standard behavioral economics. I highly recommend Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow".
I try to use it to motivate me to be mindful of enjoying this time and grateful for my luck.
A Freudian slip that exemplifies even more how it feels to have a child.
I know several people that get really angry when they are subjected to a movie with this in it.
A few weeks later I was watching I Am Legend in the theater, and when (spoiler alert) I could see what looked like the inevitable demise of Will Smith's dog, I hoofed it out as quickly as I could. I was completely unprepared to deal with that, and to this day I've never finished the movie.
I'm sorry you had to have your dog put down. It's an awful decision. When my parents decided to do that for the dog I grew up with, I really hated them for awhile. I didn't have a dog for a long time after that, but now I have a one year old Shiba, and I dread the day when I'll have to make that decision. Hopefully that won't be for a long time from now.
That may seem a morbid thing to think about, but everything happens for a reason ... circle of life and all that.
Most of the time when harm to a child is depicted in a film or television show, it is sort of a cheap, unfair way to get at the viewer's emotions.
What is suggested here is nowhere near the same thing as having a "safe space" which restricts the speech of others.
Additionally, the first article linked is one of the worst long-form stories I may have ever read. It's scattered, making a claim and then jumping to another without justifying it in any way, shape, or form. This is the furthest thing from being scientific, and having looked at the authors, I see why. One is "president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education" and the other is "Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University Stern School of Business and the director of Heterodox Academy". The Heterodox Academy is a right-wing group trying to de-left college campuses via bullshit propaganda. They don't care about diversity of views, they just want college kids to take up their antiquated mantle.
Regardless, there may be something harmful that comes from the (over)abundance of trigger warnings, and there may have even been some science along those lines, but it certainly isn't present in or referenced from these links.
I don't think Haidt is some sort of evil troll, are you sure you've really listened to him?
You can say what you like about Jonathan Haidt but he's a credited psychologist who's simply going to know more about this subject than you do (or what that troll in the 3rd link did). Your assessement of Heterodox Academy is also, itself, bullshit propaganda of the worst order. (1) I don't believe Haidt is actually right wing. (2) Social justice is a fringe thing on the left, not all (probably not even most) liberals actually subscribe to it (see Bill Maher). (3) They're not trying to "de-left" colledges, they're trying to ensure colledges remain a place of debate and sharpening of ideas instead of pandering to spoiled helicoptor children. (4) The statement "They don't care about diversity of views, they just want college kids to take up their antiquated mantle." is a bold face lie. Please edit your post to remove this, or I'll be forced to conclude you are a liar.
How about not having a 40 or 50 mph speed limit on a residential street?
For example all of the things nickspacek mentions here would be brought in in due course based on pressure from the drivers themselves: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16107645
Legal driving does not mean I have the ability to repeal basic physical laws like inertia. If you're trying to legislate cars off the road altogether, then this is probably one way to do it, but good luck with the general program.
No, that is not how you build a culture. :)
Well, for one thing, putting rural mailboxes on the same side of high-speed roadways as the houses they serve would seem to be an obvious mitigation, though it would probably have some additional mail delivery costs.
The road should not have had such a high speed limit, should have had speed bumps, and possible the little boy's parents should have had a fence.
Punishing the driver in this case doesn't fix the problem at all.
In this particular case, there is one thing that stands out to me above all others: the mailboxes were on the opposite side of the road from the houses. The second thing that distressed me was that the cop, after investigating and deciding there was no reasonable suspicion that the driver was criminally culpable, went on to lecture the driver anyway.
The road should have had a high speed limit, with no speed bumps. And there should have been no reason for pedestrians to ever set foot on it. Those mailboxes were on the wrong side of the road, because the postmaster decided that the driver on that rural route should not have to turn around twice or exit their vehicle to service those addresses. That boy died to save $300 in postal employee wages per year.
The homes should have had a gravel frontage road--behind a guardrail, bollards, cable, or Jersey barrier--with the mailboxes on the same side of the main road as the buildings.
And the cop should not have been lecturing anybody. That's the judge's job. No arrest? That means no judge, and no lecture. "Here's the number of the guy we called out to tow your vehicle, and the department's photocopied resource list of local businesses that may be helpful to you today, in the aftermath of your incident. I can give you a ride back into town, where you will have an opportunity to give a written statement for the accident report. Then you can use one of the payphones in the lobby to call somebody."
I can't imagine.
By your standard we should all jump off the nearest bridge for living our lives in a way that we can not guarantee that something bad will ever happen to children, our own or someone else´s.
Attempting to guilt trip people for taking part in society is pretty low.
Instead, let´s try to live within the law by the rules set by society, accept that life is risk and will never be risk free, no matter what rules we decide to live by and let´s strive to make society incrementally better rather than to pretend to live a life that is ´better´ by our own standards and to recognize that for every item that is better in our lives there are probably plenty left in which they are still worse.
In other words, get off your high horse, and recognize your own shortcomings rather than to ram your personal view of the right way to live down others' throats.
So, let´s campaign for more bike paths, other means of separation of traffic streams, safer vehicles for outsiders, pedestrians, bikes and occupants of other vehicles. But spare me the self-righteous holier than though attitude. It reminds me of militant vegetarians, they tend to give other vegetarians a bad image. If you are trying to make the case for cycling you are doing a piss-poor job of advocacy.
40,000 deaths a year in the United States, top cause of death in every age group to 1 to 44 (killing someone with your car counts as "unintentional injury" in the CDC's reporting) is an ongoing moral tragedy of huge dimensions.
So sure, life can never be "risk free" but to equate that with the total carnage and destruction on the road, is frankly evil.
- mixing different kinds of traffic
- the existence of different kinds of traffic
- speed differences between the various kinds of traffic
- situational elements such as poor visibility
- not adapting to circumstance
- breaking the law
and so on.
Where I live cycling is common, we have a cycling culture. Almost nobody wears helmets. Even so, people drive quite a bit too, and the cyclist of one moment is the driver of the next. Accidents - while not as common as in the states - can and do happen. And just like we are not going ban children from traffic we are not going to get anywhere by demanding we ban cars or cyclists. That is just this side of silly and will not get us anywhere. Improvements are made because of reasonable argument, not by shrilly demanding society stops working to comply with one´s personal demands.
The number of my assumptions about you is three:
1) You feel guilty about driving and good about biking. Source: your words.
2) You care about human life. That's just extrapolation from 1) and from the fact that you were interested in (at least the comments on) this article, and is moreover, charitable towards you. Take that away and I'd be assuming you're something much worse.
3) You feel conflicted when you get behind the wheel. Probably the least fair assumption of the three. No real grounds for it, other than 1) & 2) and the fact of how strenuously you defend driving (but not in a way that proclaims it's right and just, rather in a way that says I'm wrong to remind people about it).
The rest of it is about people in general, people I've witnessed talking about this in various contexts in the past. I see I used the pronoun "you" occasionally in that portion, so if that was confusing, I apologize, it's the usage of "you" that means something more like "one" or "someone."
You've also made some assumptions about me, which I don't find "ok" at all, but I let most of those go as the cartoons they are. My flaws that you want me to enumerate (which would in no way affect your own, even if it turned out I was a mass murderer or an angel) do not include driving a car, and as I said, that's relevant because that's how I know it's possible to avoid it. And it's also the source of some other flaws you're witnessing, including being rude, pissed-off and fresh-out of patience with people saying how messed up the world and the roads are, while contributing to the problem. People hate being confronted with that shit, more than anything else. I don't care, this is not your "safe space" any more than the roads are mine. Nor am I an ambassador or an advocate trying to gently coax and sell people on something. I know most of them would sooner jump off a bridge than change voluntarily, and you implied that very thing. I just want to be a pain in the butt and remind them they're doing something that benefits themselves at the expense of others, and pissing people off like me in the process who have kids and lives also.
In the UK we have 1 child killed and 37 seriously injured every week.
In the future, little Johnny and grandpa are fishing on the lake, after being driven there by their self-driving car.
"You see that car there Johnny? When I was young, we had to drive these ourselves if we wanted to go fishing. It was great! You felt the wind in your hair, you could go wherever you want, whenever you want, you could make out with your sweetheart in the backseat, you would never feel so free!"
"Whoa, grandpa! Wasn't that dangerous, going so fast without the help of a computer?"
"Oh yeah, millions died".
A better solution would be to set towns and cities up in such a way that the various traffic streams are separated vertically.
Sold my car, moved to Europe, commute by bike. I do rent a car now and then when it can't be avoided and in those scenarios I drive with extreme caution.
The US has a 9/11 every month on the roads and almost nobody there gives a shit. I never understood it.
Besides the homicide rate is not far of a 9/11 every few months is it?
Think about this. If you want to increase your probability of dying in an car accident to about 100%, then you need to drive roughly 100,000,000 miles. Of all the things to worry about, this is pretty low.
As species, what impact did that have on us? Child abuse has a long history of being accepted, with child sacrifices in some cultures to forced marriages of children (not to say any of these events were super common, but there were cultures in which they were accepted even if not common). Look at 16th to 18th century and what happened to orphans of single mothers and it is horrible by modern standards. In some cases orphans were treated as child slave labor or worse (granted, they would grow out of it if they survived, while with actual slavery it was for life). Even into the 19th and 20th century we had children working in factories where dismemberment was all too common.
But around the start of the 20th century, that started changing, and today harming a child is one of the worse things that a person can do. Many would quicker forgive an ex convict that killed a rival gang member than someone who intentionally seriously injured a child.
I wonder if this is at all tied to drops in child mortality rates.
Someday our children and descendants will look back at our time period in horror at the atrocities we continue to allow happen globally.
300,000 children under 5 die every year of malaria. The extensiveness of the agony that causes is difficult to comprehend.
Why would the pain be equivalent, despite the vastly different context: life experiences and expectations, cultural details, worldviews, etc?
To be clear, there are many aspects/phases to the pain of loss. I can imagine that the initial suffering may be very similar, but that the integration/processing of the event in subsequent months and years be significantly different.
That's not to say that, overall, it wasn't worse back then, but I'm guessing the pain from a single loss event might be noticeably different due to the vastly different context.
Exactly, the preciousness of childhood and children in general is a more modern trend. Certainly our ancestral parents felt the loss, but not nearly so keenly because they still had to focus on feeding the rest of the family.
And it is absolutely related to the drop in child mortality. Falling child mortality leads to less need to have fewer children since they're more likely to survive. This leads to families with fewer children (a trend seen world-wide), and each family invests more heavily in the children they have. It very much looks like loss aversion and the sunk cost fallacy.
Having recently read a few accounts of early European settlers in New Zealand, nothing about their accounts would make me think that they felt the loss less keenly. New Zealand was colonised by Europeans relatively recently but older accounts of loss don’t make me think any loss was somehow less either.
I’d agree that the loss was less unexpected.
Unsure how you would measure this effect though.
Here's the description of a man losing his son, from Beowulf, a thousand years ago:
(lines 2444-2464 of Heaney's translation)
It was like the misery felt by an old man
Who has lived to see his son’s body
Swing on the gallows.
He begins to keen
And weep for his boy, watching the raven
Gloat where he hangs: he can be of no help.
The wisdom of age is worthless to him.
Morning after morning, he wakes to remember
That his child is gone; he has no interest
In living on until another heir
Is born in the hall, now that his firstborn
Has entered death’s dominion forever.
He gazes sorrowfully at his son’s dwelling,
The banquet hall bereft of all delight,
The windswept hearthstone; the horsemen are sleeping,
The warriors underground; what was is no more.
No tunes from the harp, no cheer raised in the yard.
Alone with his longing, he lies down on his bed
And sings a lament; everything seems too large,
The steadings and the fields.
Such was the feeling
Of loss endured by the lord of the Geats
After Herebeald’s death.
Suffice it to say, we have a very unusual society today, compared to the arc of human history.
When has this ever not been true? People instinctively (and reasonably) consider crimes to be more serious where the victim is more sympathetic or vulnerable, and vice-versa.
 Though they might be unreasonable in their sympathies and/or assessments of vulnerability, like a misogynist who always assumes female accusers are liars, and claims a woman punching a man is as serious as the reverse.
Or, the identity of the victim might engender unreasonable, emotional reactions: a jury might vote to convict despite the prosecution not proving the case, or the evidence pointing to a tragic accident, because the victim was a child.
In the past before child abuse became seen as a big deal. Granted, if you hurt the child of some wealthy/powerful individual it was considered bad, but children of the poor, and especially children of single mothers were offered no where near the status they are given today.
Just look at societies where infanticide was common place to see that harming a defenseless child wasn't considered that bad an action (especially in cases where the child was showing signs of having developmental issues, I've read about there even being mythology that developmentally delayed children were treated as if the real child had been replaced by some demonic like figure who was being left to die/killed).
Or consider societies where children were effectively property of their parents (namely their father) and he could do as he liked to them?
Look at cultures where children were forced into marriages, something that would not be accepted today. Yes, people vastly overestimate how often such marriages happened (especially when at least one was young), but it was still far more tolerated when it did compared to today. Even in the last few years we have a few countries who still have laws on the book that reduced/removed punishment for a rapist if they married the victim. This historically applied even when the victim was a child (the Bible even has two passages that require such a punishment, one for when the child hasn't hit puberty (where the father can void the marriage) and one where the child has (where the father cannot void the marriage).
Or just look at a society that sacrificed children.
That's a separate issue from what you were (or seemed to be) saying in the post I responded to, that in the past criminal gang members would be considered more sympathetic victims than children.
I don't believe there has ever been a society anywhere or at any time where violent crime between rival criminal gangs (of adult males) was considered morally worse than violent crime where adults harm children, in both cases assuming no third parties were harmed, and there were no differences in social rank, blood or marriage relations, blood feuds, religious reasons etc. which that society and its laws considered wholly or partially mitigating factors.
See, this is the problem he's pointing out: if it wasn't considered ok, it would have been a crime. The point being that children as a whole weren't seen as a protected class the way they are now. At best, you might treat the child of a wealthy person well but only because of the consequences the father might inflict upon you, not because the child itself was worthy of that treatment.
If we had a time machine and brought an ordinary American from the 1950's to the present, or asked ~40% of Americans nowadays, chances are they'd be horrified by what they'd see as the legalized murder of tens of millions of children (abortion). I'm not trying to bring politics into this (I'm strongly pro-choice), just pointing out that the definitions of "crime," "violent" and even "child" are highly subjective.
In any society I can think of which left a substantial enough written and/or archaeological record, it's clear that people were particularly affectionate towards and protective of children, which is the only way it could be since our brains and emotional/hormonal responses are literally wired that way.
That's in turn because those instincts are necessary for the continuation of the species. Objectively, it takes well over a decade of near-constant, stressful labor before a child provides net-positive economic utility, which, at historical life expectancies (early 40's), would usually be after one parent's and shortly before the other's death. So if we weren't hard-wired to want to care for and protect children, babies would be left to die of exposure and we'd die out after one generation.
The people who come up with this crap hardly ease suffering.
If you have more than one child there is a future because you have to carry on for your other children.
One day, I'm not sure how it was brought up, he remarked to me that he once killed a 22 year-old man in a construction accident when he was operating a large crane.
It rocked his world, and he was never the same.
I can't imagine living with that amount of regret and anxiety. Trying to fix it in your head. What could I have done differently? But it never changes, and you can't undo what you did.
At the same time, there is ultimately forgiveness from both parties, though there is a lot of grief. Things will never be the same, but staying in the past is the best way to never move forward.
Maybe nothing grand, but it's pretty hard to stomach movies that don't go anywhere at all. I come away wondering, what is the point? Why are you telling me this story?
There is no major turnaround and everything is all better moment. You learn to live
That's still 'something happened' and/or 'the movie went somewhere', and is acceptable.
Is this even true? I think we tend to assume so but isn't it likely that many people simply move on with their lives? I mean Laura Bush was responsible for a fatal car accident and she seemed to do fine.
The mother of the other driver was in the front passenger seat and the driver's baby was in the back seat. The mother of the driver was shocky, but they were all okay.
I'm still pretty glad I made the mistake.
That's BS. Sweden has essentially zero pedestrian fatalities annually, and its overall traffic fatality rate is well under a quarter that of the US.
There are two main components: reducing speed limits and spending money on infrastructure. Both of these are anathema in the US, but the refusal to do so is borderline criminal, IMO.
This seems to be a common excuse from people in the US "Oh yeah - well - of course you could do <something positive> in such a small place - the US is just too big for <something positive> to happen!"
I looked up some stats for the inevitable "But the US is bigger than that! We simply cannot solve this problem!" replies. The EU is pretty big too, but the fatality rate is half of that in the US despite being of comparable land-area.
US road fatalities per 1m population in 2013: 104 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_i...)
EU road fatalities per 1m population in 2013: 51 (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/...)
If a small country can do it, a large country should be able to do it much better, either per state if there's gain in small scale solutions, or on a federal level where you only have to solve the problem once for 30 times the population size.
Likewise, stupendous amounts of Federal and State taxes are forcefully siphoned off into wasteful, money-losing highway programs. Money that could go towards safer transit, pedestrian, or biking initiatives.
States and cities can do a lot, and in fact can do a lot more then the federal government because they don't have a 10th amendment restricting them.
But not safety which is the issue here.
Are you saying local governments can't do those things?
When I look around San Francisco I see lots of space to build dedicated bike lanes, etc. In the Americans I see:
A) A lack of faith that anything can get better.
B) A willful disregard for other people (lack of empathy).
As an example for the prime driving age bracket, the average driver in the US, 20 to 55 years of age, drives nearly 30,000 KM per year.
In the EU it's half that.
You would expect fatalities to increase meaningfully when you double the distance driven per person.
> In the EU it's half that.
I'd like to see a source on that. I think the average American drives about 30% more.
The US figure is around 22,000km per person for 2017.
In Sweden for example it's closer to 12,000km per person.
There's a dramatic gulf between the distance driven in the US and most everywhere else.
The passenger vehicles per capita are also reasonably over twice that in the US as in the EU (driving is far more distributed and common per capita). Around 263m passenger vehicles in the US, and 250m in the EU, with the EU having ~743 million people.
If you double or nearly double the distance driven per year, and significantly increase the share of the population that drives, it's not far off to expect a doubling of fatalities vs what you see in the whole of the EU. In fact, I might expect worse than that, as if you're pulling so many km driving, you're probably likely to be driving more often under increased stress and inclimate weather circumstances, driving at times when you perhaps should not be etc. (due to no alternatives). The risk of a bad driving outcome likely accelerates with such substantial increases in km per capita. If you take the US figure on up to 50,000km per capita, I would expect to see an even greater acceleration of fatalities per capita.
There are many, many variables which complicate the study of traffic safety and my hat is off to any traffic engineers able to deliver meaningful results. It does happen, but it's far more complicated than tracking per capita miles driven (not that you were making this specific argument, just pointing out the obvious).
x2. A drunk driver going off a cliff is uninteresting since it's a known problem with known solutions (regardless of your personal opinion on how adequate the implementation of those solutions is).
Stuff where no party did much that was unreasonable is what's interesting because those tell you what edge cases cause the system to fail.
Because if you have, I can't imagine how you'd think it's a solvable problem.
The US is too big... at least a lot of cities are, in terms of distance covered. EU benefits from population growth pre car-era. Density necessitates lower speeds and smaller roads, and good luck regulating US cities into that state.
Most European cities dream of having the same amount of road space US cities have.
Yet, many European cities build dedicated bike lanes... It takes serious political will-power to close of roads from cars.
It's lack of "will" do something, nothing more.
But yeah, I like to measure annual traffic fatalities in 9/11s. Here in the US, we typically do >10 of them per year. We toppled the governments of two countries, created a whole new department of our federal government, and continue to advance prosthetics at a breakneck pace to fix the men and women we send to be disfigured overseas as a response to just one single 9/11.
It’s a question of political will. We’ve become comfortable with the level of death, dismemberment, and disfigurement associated with transportation as we’ve built it in this country.
One of these works. One of these handicapps your infrastructure's capacity, reduces safety in certain conditions and has a handful of other negative externalities.
I would wager that were it not for someone following the speed limit the woman in OP's story would not have been cruising along in a line of traffic with her situational awareness diminished by limited visibility and temptation to follow the leader without giving her full attention to driving.
Traffic is safer when segregated by type (e.g. you don't ride a bike on the highway) and/or speed.
You can design roads to reduce speed but just posting a different sign has minimal positive effect so better limiting/controlling interaction between different types/speeds of traffic on roads you already have (e.g. adding sidewalks or bike lanes) works better there.
As a cyclist, my observation is that "share the road" signs are strongly negatively correlated with how well drivers treat cyclists. The signs are a response to bad driving but do little to improve bad driving. In effect they should be considered warnings to cyclists put up by the government to cover their asses, because it's obvious to me that almost no drivers notice them. The presence of the sign means that drivers mistreat cyclists here, and not much else. I try my best to avoid any roads with one of those signs.
Segregating types & speeds of traffic is still good though, especially dedicated trails for pedestrian and/or bike traffic.
Lastly, your point about the psychology of risk is well taken. I can't remember where I saw (perhaps it was a comedian?) the lament that climate change doesn't have a beard and turban.
But what really killed that culture was the internet. The expression was: "There are only two types of entertainment in a small town: drinking and fucking". Now teenagers just spend all day playing Call of Duty.
At least they're not regularly dying in drunken car accidents like they used to: in my high school we lost well over 1% of our students to it.
Not worse. Better.
What I mean is, whenever I have to go to the county courthouse (entirely for civil matters!), there is a constant stream of poor men and poor women attempting to stay out of jail so they can keep their jobs, pay the costs for their previous jail stays, keep their licenses so the asshole deputies don't just park outside their place of employment at shift's end, get custody of their children back from the last time they were sent to jail...
No decent purpose is served by the unending cycle of punishment, and drunk driving laws are a cog in that infernal machine. I guess I'm glad that the drunk driving crusaders are too busy feeling superior to notice the plight of those who suffer so that they can feel good. If they did notice all the misery they cause poor families, they'd probably be even happier with themselves.
as for war efforts, it is a very good business to few. they are few relative to the rest of the country, but their influence on politics is profound, hence the result.
You can change the driving culture and mindset, starting by designing roads that generally cause folks to drive slower, implemented at next upgrade. You can more strictly enforce driving laws, especially things like speeding or being distracted. Revamp curves that have lots of accidents. Offer larger access to public transportation.
Save for the interstate highway infrastructure, most roads are done at the state or county level anyway. If you simply start doing this stuff a roads are upgraded (some can be done now and might bring in money), you aren't really spending lots more.
You can change the driving culture and mindset, starting by designing roads that generally cause folks to drive slower, implemented at next upgrade
You mean you can get voted out of office for implementing these policies.
Probably... There is nothing reasonably stopping the US from being nicer, only it's voters.
Maybe the problem is that US voters don't care much about the body count (probably an issue in most Americans politices).
Now, some folks will be upset they can't go as fast and stuff, but they get used to it.
Some things aren't even obvious to folks, like roads designed to decrease speed. Generally, they are narrower rather than wider. I'm not sure folks will put the two together. Roundabouts? Well-timed streetlights, so long as you are going the speed limit? The first folks complain about, the second gets folks to go the speed limit.
The thing I'd personally implement that would get outcry is increased drivers education, which would increase cost. Id' have everyone take an actual course unless they have previously held a license in recent years. I think some exception could probably be made for farm families (special license for equipment and off-road vehicles) and quell the outcry a little bit.
Note that this makes getting your license fairly expensive (on the order of 1500 to 2000 euro), some parents save up for this like American parents save for their childrens college, others simply work a part time job or wait until they've finished college to get the license. I feel that the way the US is structured this alone makes it infeasible to implement these requirements, you can't be 30 and not have a license in US suburbs.
The €1500 cost would be meaningless in the US for most people. The median parents purchase a vehicle for their children directly or otherwise assist them in acquiring one, at far greater cost. That level of license cost wouldn't have any impact for the average person.
Where those variations would have a huge impact, is for poor people, overwhelmingly black and hispanic in the US. Any attempt to implement that licensing approach would be called out as being racist or otherwise discriminatory. I'm not exaggerating or making light of it, I'm being dead serious. That's exactly what would occur. I'll leave it to others to debate whether it would in fact be racist, I'm sure some (most?) of that opinion is determined by one's position in society and how each person feels discriminated against or not.
The US has a substantial bifurcation between the top ~60% and the bottom ~40%, roughly speaking. The top 60% is overwhelmingly white + asian. The gap between access to quality driving instruction / education, the ability to pay licensing costs of €1500, etc. would separate along that division (ie white/asian and black/hispanic). It would impact poorer people in a significant way, and barely impact non poor people.
If the US were to adopt a stricter approach, to convince everyone that it was fair, it'd be necessary to put meaningful resources into providing greater driving education opportunities to poorer people, and probably adjusting the licensing cost based on household income (if your family makes $30,000 the fee is $250; if your family makes $90,000 the fee is $1500 or whatever).
Most countries are fairly homogenous, which lends itself to a singular-ish mindset and culture. The US is not really one country, it's a melting pot (remember that word from social studies?) of many different cultures and ideas. That's one of the big reasons why we can't really be compared to any other country on many topics. Every locale is different, in many cases fundamentally, and that's part of the point of the Federal-State system we have.
I see this stated a lot by folks in Europe vs. the US discussions, but having visited both I'm pretty baffled by it. Switzerland has four national languages - hop on a train for an hour or two and you may go from French to German areas. The folks in Paris would laugh at the idea that they've got the same culture as Provence. Same with northern vs. southern Italy, Moscow vs. Siberia, etc.
Three possible explanations for the low fatality rate:
- Bars, nightclubs and stores that sell alcohol must close by 2 AM, plus our other state and local alcohol sales regulations (particularly on hard liquor) are among the most restrictive of any state.
- The additional fatalities caused by the relatively high number of bad drivers are more than offset by forcing the silent majority of good drivers (and pedestrians) to maintain concentration and alertness.
- Many elderly drivers move to warmer states, and the ones who stay tend to be in better health than the ones who leave.
Edit: A fourth possible factor is that we're one of the most affluent states and cars succumb to corrosion faster than average due to the long, harsh winters (off the top of my head, I can't think of any state that's both more affluent and has longer winters), so cars are newer (therefore, safer) than average.
See Jeff Speck's "AMERICAN CAR-NAGE" passage in Walkable City: https://books.google.com/books?id=kbfeAQAAQBAJ&lpg=PA37&ots=...
Slow traffic just plain doesn't kill people.
Sprawl and exurb farming country is where fatalities happen. That's where people are driving fast but without the protection that expressways provide. Massachusetts is one of the most urbanized states, and has less of that fatality-prone terrain.
IME, driving in Boston seems to involve the most potentially-deadly situations given the number of pedestrians and cyclists. Twice in the past year driving on Comm Ave I've had to swerve into the left lane to avoid hitting one, first a cyclist who blasted through a red light at an intersection, then a woman who, on her phone, dressed all in black at night, stepped directly in front of me in 30mph traffic, half a double-length block from the nearest crosswalk or stoplight.
If I had glanced at my phone, adjusted the radio, talked to a passenger or otherwise had less-than-instant reflexes in either of those moments those people might well be dead, or else severely injured. (Also, I and others could've been injured or worse if I'd swerved into another car).
- You are demonstrating the difference between anecdotes and data. Massachusetts' drivers aren't worse than than those elsewhere.
One of the craziest encounters in my life was driving on a windy rural road and getting stuck behind a tractor. The road was so windy there was no passing zones for miles. It was frustrating, yes, but part of driving on that kind of road. Eventually a driver came behind me. Without skipping a beat he or she passed both of us (illegal) in a no passing zones (also illegal) and ON A BLIND CORNER! Nobody was coming but that driver had zero way to tell that.
My heart still jumps a little just thinking about it.
Another issue happened in Brooklyn. I was driving on a narrow residential street with cars parked on both sides going a little over 20mph. I did not feel safe going any faster as a kid could jump out between the parked cars at any time. Guy comes up behind me and just lays on the horn for a good couple blocks (it's NYC after all). Then the car passes me illegally and took off going at least 40 mph.
But much more relaxed than in Greece, Italy, China, or Thailand, or even Russia.
I live in the UK where we have a road fatality rate of 2.9/100'000/year. On average 1 child dies and ~60 are seriously injured every week.
I don't know how much further this accident/death rate can be decreased - but I agree that we are down a rabbit hole - is it acceptable that this happens? Obviously not. But are the population going to agree to ban cars? No.
That's exactly the mindset. Nobody cares enough to change their routine even an iota, and it makes all these words ring rather hollow.
That's, like, a huge part of what state governments do. Well, except perhaps the “makes sense” part, but that's largely do to the same political problems that affect federal governance, not some particular failure of the states.
You can argue the specifics, but it seems modern recreational horseback riding is fairly dangerous. http://freakonomics.com/2006/08/28/whoa-nellie/
These things (safety) aren’t binary. Just because it wasn’t absolutely false before doesn’t mean it was much more true after.
The vast majority of accidents are due to sloppy, aggressive, or distracted driving, which autonomous vehicles will completely eliminate.
I believe autonomous vehicles are a huge overkill for what can easily be solved via decent public transportation. Public transportation via autonomous / centrally controlled vehicles would be way easier if the amount of private cars on the roads were reduced. And I'd guesstimate that a great majority of people using cars could easily switch to electric bicycles or mopeds. And that's a huge step forwards, as these vehicles are less likely to kill you if they hit you, and can steer away more easily. Add to that them being way more clean and fuel- and space-efficient in comparison to cars, leading to much more efficient use of both road- and parking-space, and of raw fuel. Also, this may be a local phæenomenon, but lots of large chain-stores offer delivery services, along with many small shops. In my quartier in the Northern European parts Istanbul, I can order from a bunch of chain stores, lots of restaurants (using yemeksepeti.com) and many tobacco shops.
So there's a chance that the cars sensors would spot him. Plus the sensors will be tied to the speed the car is doing so will always attentively watching in the range of where children can come from.
Further to this you can plug this kind of data into an autonomous vehicle and train it to avoid kids.
Humans will probably never have proper driving simulation testing like pilots do because it's too expensive.
So in these extreme events I'm confident that autonomous cars will be better prepared. Perhaps there will still be cases where the child still dies but it will be less.
It was dark, and I don’t have the exact details. The kid was coming from behind a parked car, it was 7pm so night, so I guess it’s the same kind of story that happened (beside the fact that a lot of people here are really bad drivers).
I’m so looking forward the time when human will stop driving by themselves. Of course there will be trade offs, most surely on the tracking side, but I’m deeply confident that accident rates will fall drastically.
No one should have to live with the feelings of having killed anyone, especially if not responsible. Let’s hope technology will finally prevent that.
Funny, because it's technology that caused the death in the first place. Maybe consider how to get rid of the car?
We do it for planes for years so why not for cars.
Think more boldly: public transportation.
I want to walk out my front door, get into an "auto Uber" or whatever, and be let out at the front door of my work.
A slightly larger, electric, van type vehicle, that holds ten people, for public group commuting. It would be a solid improvement over present circumstances and would probably work quite well, and cost effectively, for poorer working class people.
The sentiment I've seen more commonly expressed is — I still want a car for each adult in my household so we can each go where we want, when we want. I'm spoiled and prefer that as well but I know in my heart it is selfish and not sustainable.
you should at least factor in the number of children saved because of the availability of fast-moving vehicles to get them timely help.
Given the steady rise of childhood life expectancies during our fall down this "rabbit hole", your logic breaks down pretty catastrophically. At least without more support than comparing the relative squishiness of these two objects.
I wonder if there are statistics out there estimating the amount of lives saved thanks to quick response enabled by cars (e.g. ambulances).
OTOH, this can get quickly confounded with the second-order impact of cars - e.g. that medical facilities would be closer to people were it not for the possibility to deliver them there by car.
we've already got to use helicopters to flight-for-life folks from one hospital to another because it is impractical to build & staff enough of the specialized emergency medical care you might happen to need when something terrible happens.
(not to mention all the certificate-of-need crap that keeps hospital availability artificially limited.)
I got a new Toyota Corolla (lease, fortunately) with autonomous braking, but it seems to be a “slow down by 5mph pre-collision” sort of system rather than an “avoid the collision” sort of system. Seeing the Subaru system in action gives me faith, but you pay the premium.
Even if blame is cast, in the autonomous future that blame would be upon a company, or multiple companies, whose legal departments will spend great effort diverting the blame onto other people or other companies. No one individual will be charged with killing someone, and no one person will have a death on their conscience.
It really is the same with doctor malpractice, the doctor doesn’t go to jail because their patient died because they made a mistake. Transforming civil negligence into criminal negligence as you seem to be hinting at would be a horrible system.
My guess is, the pressure for advances in road safety over the years have mainly come from activists, people, individuals who have seen and felt the horror of road deaths. The pressure to improve cars is much less from companies facing rising insurance costs due to liability fines. Indeed, the scandals that we routinely hear about are from car manufacturers avoiding recalls because it is far cheaper to just pay out liability claims when they happen, knowing that they will often not face them.
With the removal of drivers from road killings, there will be fewer people feeling the results of road casualties. I don't mean in any way to ignore the families of those killed on the road, of course their anguish and suffering will always be there and will be brutal. But the fact remains, there will be fewer people witnessing and feeling the effects of road deaths. And so it follows that there could well be less pressure to improve road safety.
Civil negligence can turn into criminal negligence when deception is involved (see VW).
Self driving cars are the ultimate in road safety though, I mean, you cannot encode them to willfully disobey traffic laws (or doing so would be criminal negligence). Pretty sure they will initially be fleet vehicles anyways. The death rate will surely go down, no one with any credibility is predicting otherwise, but there will always people berating the few deaths that remain.
Autonomous cars aren't special, even among cars, in this concern, and it's not a remotely new problem for the legal system.
I don't think having a default response of standing on the brake regardless of the circumstance is the best response. I have no idea whether or not you were far enough away to brake successfully -- it sounds like maybe you didn't at the time either. But if you evaded a collision then you 100% made the right choice.
The only collision that was ever my fault was from sliding attempting to brake in wet conditions. If I had attempted to maneuver, I maybe would have avoided it.
This seems like a weird construct, particularly given that minors do such stupid things. Two of them, together, literally ran into traffic, and the default is "blame traffic"?
For most of history it was very normal for people to run in to the street. It was a place for horses, carts, donkeys, people, and livestock, and more than that, it was a place for socializing _and_ transport _and_ commerce.
Then, a few wealthy folks showed up in their automobiles and said "GET OUT OF MY WAY OR I WILL KILL YOU" and oddly, we sided with them.
https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2012/04/invention-jay... has more.
The advice given to children here is "don't cross at the front of a bus, always behind it". That and "look right, left, and right again".
One of the things that I observed whilst we endured the aftermath is the lack of support for people in this situation and what a taboo there is around it.
It felt as if there was no 'right' to sympathy or support due to the asymmetry of experience for those involved.
It's even difficult to find the right language without it being pejorative. 'Hit and killed' implies some kind of intent or that there was some kind of choice.
From that perspective I find it weird every time bikes come up here there's someone complaing about bikes going too fast or ignoring the rules or digging out the last time someone got killed by a bike, often a years old story. Kids getting killed by cars isn't even a news story, just a part of life.
I commute by bicycle in the Netherlands (good infrastructure). I've been hit (all different occasions) by two cars, one scooter, one moped as well as another bicycle. In every single case I had right of way and didn't notice the other one doing something strange and unexpected. Unexpected as in: car making a right turn while I'm going straight (=right of way) without the car using their indicators or slowing down to make the turn.
It's been quite a while since the last accident, hope it stays that way. It also sometimes happens I make a mistake without this resulting in an accident. It's good that a mistake doesn't always result in an accident.
> "The voice said in this very biblical, Old Testament, angry way"
Is this what people consider "biblical"? An angry person? I've spent years reading the Pentateuch, writings, and new testament and I don't see this voice (I assume she means "God") as angry at all.
Quite the opposite actually, as the narrative is [to the Jews] about God restoring them despite their rebellion and sin and [to the Christians] about God giving us his son despite our hatred and sin.
> "Then about 10 years ago I went to Israel on a trip. I'm Jewish and I went with my rabbi and other people from the temple that I belonged to. While I was there I took a Hebrew name, Bracha, which means blessing."
I assume this "voice" was the guilt that plagued her creeping into anything that mattered. It's sad the torment that we can inflict onto our own minds. It sounds like she was able to overcome it.
He tells Saul (if I remember correctly) to murder subjugated people, women and children included, so at that moment to any sane person God is actually acting as a force of evil, corrupting the believers, who wanted to save them (for a life of slavery most probably, but still, better than murder).
He makes a bet with the devil over Hiob's life, and kills his entire family (or allows it to be killed, same thing) just to see that Hiob's indeed faithful (which he knew beforehand because he's omniscient, but whatever).
God of Old Testament even calls itself "jealous", and tells people he "punishes sins of ancestors on X generations" (3 or 4 if I remember correctly).
Kinda angry and evil, isn't it?
That hasn't changed, it's only gotten worse. A huge percentage of this world kills, riots, and is violent. Is God supposed to handcuff everyone?
God's primary purpose isn't to keep everyone safe in a little sealed box where they can't hurt anything. However, one day he will put an end to to sin and evil once and for all. The reason he doesn't is that he continues to extend mercy to as many people as he knows will take it before that time comes.
(Also, tribe is the wrong word. Many of these countries/civilizations had millions of people in them with wars being fought between armies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers.)
God's primary purpose is as a tool for the religious ruling elite to exert control over the followers. Do Man's desires align with God's will, or does God's will conveniently align with Man's desires? Seems we always have only Man's word on the matter.
There is no book that even comes close to the complexity required for the bible to have been written.
That's quite the claim, since historical evidence sure seems to show every known biblical text was scribed by human hands.
> yet it's unified in the story
That's certainly open to interpretation, to say the least. Many of the story elements and arcs can be found in cultures that pre-date Christ.
> much of which was has already come to pass about nations or events
Over thousands of years one can find examples for any broad prophecy.
Once again we're left with nothing authoritative on the matter except the word of Man, that we're apparently expected to take on faith alone.
Yes, the bible itself claims this (2 Peter 1:21). I was referring to men coming up with the idea and colluding over a millennia.
> Many of the story elements and arcs can be found in cultures that pre-date Christ.
That is because everything in the New Testament (including Christ's life) was an extension of what had already be told for thousands of years earlier.
> Over thousands of years one can find examples for any broad prophecy.
These aren't broad prophecies. They are specific accounts of events such as the destruction method of Tarshish by a Greek commander (Alexander the great) or the name of a future Persian King who would command the rebuilding of the temple (Darius the Persian) or the return of Israel as a nation after Daniels 69 weeks had elapsed, etc...
The most extensive prophecies are focused on Jesus himself and what he would do and how he would die (Isaiah 53, etc..).
How do you reconcile with the fact that there are hundreds of texts and stories that have selectively excluded by human hands to create what we today call the bible?
If my priest gives me a bible and tells me "This is the word of God", but admits that over the last 2000 years there have been several councils were certain texts and stories were added and removed, and that archaeologists have found previously unknown gospels not included in the bible, what am I supposed to think?
I'll add that we have thousands of copies and fragments of the bible with nothing more than small changes in spelling. If anything was changed, we would know from the differences in the copies (unless every nation all colluded to have the same bible from day one). In fact, even the Jews would have to have been in on it even though they deny Jesus is their Messiah. (See the dead sea scrolls)
I only know of one "council" where they "decided" on what was in the bible. The Council of Nicea, where they affirmed what was already accepted as canon.
While many people collectively editing and revising a text over millennia is certainly impressive, there is nothing impossible about it nor is it on its own proof of anything supernatural.
In what way exactly things got worse according to you?
And the important thing about Old Testament is - it portraits wars of Jewish states/tribes as either having the support of the God (because they were doing what God said to them, so they deserve to enslave/kill the pagans and take their land), or going against the God and thus - losing (so the pagans got the support of the God in the murdering or enslaving the Jews as a punishment).
God's purpose is whatever he chooses, but if you do such things you aren't "good" and "loving". You're basically playing Starcraft with people as units. It's evil.
No, it's the old testament god. The one who punished Adam and Eve, the one who decided humanity was such a disgrace he flooded the world to purge them - that angry god.
> "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.. ...and the earth was filled with violence. - Genesis 6:5-11
That aside, there are more as many acts of mercy in these stories than judgement. The idea of an "Old Testament God" and "New Testament God" is rejected by all the Jews and Christians I know.
The New Testament is rejected by most Jews. Yet, even without this "merciful God" of the NT, we can see from the Old Testament writings that they regard God as one whos' "Loving kindness and mercy endures forever".
The funny thing is - most modern people are more ethical, than Old Testament's God.
You wouldn't kill your children if they decided to become hippies, or to burn your house. And you certainly wouldn't kill their children, etc.
And yeah, most Christians believe the God is the same. But the behaviour described in the books changed drastically.
How many Jews and Christians do you know? How many theologians do you know?
I could just as easily state that it is abundantly clear that the Old Testament and the New Testament are written by completely different people at completely different points in time.
Are you saying that all acts of cruelty by God in the OT are acts of judgement? And what kind of judgement is that? The story about Sodom and Gomorrah basically tells us that:
A) Any kind of sin can be punishable by death.
B) Collective punishment is OK, including innocent men, women and children.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 6:23
You don't see sin as a big deal, but God does.
> including innocent men, women and children
That's the problem. What innocent people? All of Sodom and Gomorrah were doing some really, really bad things like burning children alive and torturing people.
> And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. “I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD. Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”... ...Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” - Genesis 18:20-32
Jews reject the New Testament entirely; Christians are the ones who came up with the distinction (which doesn't distinguish different actual gods but either different human understanding of God or different stages on God's relationship with humanity.)
Well, there's also (some subset of) Gnostics, who viewed them as literally different gods, and identified the OT God with the evil(-ish, at least) demiurge. But that's a whole other kettle of fish.
To say nothing of the promise and provision provided to nations throughout the Old Testament, the grace given to non-Israelites by keeping them from accidentally violating the marriages of Abram and Issac when both men lied about their wives out of fear.
Remembering only the anger of God in the Old Testament is a common, but incomplete reading. There is also grace there.
If someone murders another person, we don't immediately start to list out their virtues (He donated to the poor, he was a good father etc.) It is not enough for God to have done "good things", he must also have not done "bad things".
The bar for an omnipotent, all-powerful God should be higher than it is for a fallible human being, but you appear to have lowered it.
Tell that to the media.
Ever heard the expression hellfire and brimstone preacher? A lot of people are exposed to the Bible in pretty negative terms.
The kid was a grade or two below me, so I wasn't really friends with him. 40 years after the fact, that event still sticks with me.
I didn't yet understand how completely insane the situation was. The first couple cars just swerved or honked and went past without stopping, but a lady driving a VW Beetle was slower to react and slammed on her brakes, skidding and swerving and barely missing him. I can remember seeing him run out in the road, facing her with his arms out and an excited look on his face.
The lady driving was completely beside herself, screaming and crying as she ran over to him, demanding to know what was going on. Simon confessed and also told her about me hiding nearby, and I remember being terrified as she grabbed his arm and ran over to me, still shouting and sobbing all at once. She was (understandably) just completely out of control and she marched us up the road to our houses to tell our parents.
I wasn't allowed to play with Simon again and I think that was the day I realized that cars and driving were deadly serious, and nothing to joke around with. For me it was mostly seeing the reaction of the lady driver and trying to comprehend why she was so upset. Looking back on it, I feel sorry for her and for Simon's parents, because they must have had a hell of a time raising him. Strange the things you remember from childhood, but fortunately most people turn out OK.
Ambulances would need to save their passengers' lives <1% of the time for them to "break even" so to speak.
Even the emergency trips, it's difficult to say whether the person would have died if they didn't have an ambulance.
Overall this would be pretty hard to quantify.
It was certainly my fault I was in the road, chasing a frisbee.
I can understand why the person would have run away from the scene.
I wish there was more forgiveness in society.
They should have definitely stopped after hitting someone.
Fault could be the drivers if they were speeding, the person was standing in the road (not entering at a perpendicular), drinking, etc.
This is why you should have a dashcam for your vehicle. I always ALWAYS watch side yards and such for children (my mom called them snipers). I drive down the middle of the road when people aren't around (more distance between parked cars and my bumper) but no one is perfect and the Fault isn't always the drivers.
86-year-old driver crashing into people IS murder, and not an accident. Lack of vision, pretty much no reflexes, cramps, aching limbs/joints, sclerosis. We (my family) took my great-uncles car keys away before he turned 80 because it was becoming apparent he has trouble with basic tasks, like backing up/parking/or even remembering to signal. Letting person this old drive is a gross negligence.
This is but a small glimpse of what many soldiers suffer ('shellshock') after being required to deliberately kill.
A good reminder to have compassion for those around us. Everyone carries burdens. Some much greater than ours.
You're confusing 'increases the likelihood of' with 'causes'. If you could demonstrate that peple who suffer a concussion then develop PTSD when non-concussed members of their group do not develop PTSD, then I'd accept the claim that concussion causes PTSD.
There is not such thing as an accident.
"The way of the warrior is the resolute acceptance of death" ~ Miyamoto Musashi
Nothing on earth scares me more than the idea of having to go on living without one of them. Having 4 increases my odds that I might have to. It terrifies me on a daily basis! Yay, Parenthood!
I can’t watch movies that involve kids being sick, hurt, etc. which is fine,,,,not the reason I watch movies, but I literally cannot. I will turn off the tv or leave the room. I’m a giant baby, basically!
You never stop loving or missing the one that died.
I think the sentiment here has a lot of truth, but it's just a bit too strong.
My parents lost my sister when she and I were young. It was terribly painful for them. It still tears me up to think about it. I think I've only ever asked about it once or twice in 40 years, and especially never dared to do so with my dad. But they seem to have found ways to be at peace about it. They are happy in their own lives and happy about me. Time and love and wisdom can eventually make it OK.
I literally can’t imagine how hard it is on parent’s whose kids are actually sick, suffering so badly, and then may end up dying. I don’t know...I’m not sure I’m made of stuff strong enough to deal with that.
I’m going to have to disagree with you here.
On one hand having another child or more children could be comforting, but I think you are more likely to make that child’s life much harder and sadder, which would add more guilt. It’s all around *ucking awful and terrifying.
Exhausted from the travelling, we all decided to take a nap on the huge king sized bed. To this day I don't know what it is, but something snapped me awake mid-nap, and I looked across to see that my younger son had woken up, got out of bed, ambled across to the window, climbed on the ledge, and had cranked the lever, and was pushing the window open.
I leapt out of bed, and crossed the distance to the window faster than Usain Bolt, and grabbed him a split second before he plummeted out. I discovered that the window was (a) unlocked, contrary to hotel policy, and (b) the little safety bracket that would have prevented the window opening more than about 6 inches, was missing.
I reported to the manager, and the moved us to another room immediately, with better window security & safety.
To this day, I sometimes snap awake in my sleep with my brain screaming "OMG - I have to get [younger son's name] away from the window". In a kind of reverse blame, I keep thinking what if I had just slept through?
Hopefully I'll never accidentally kill someone, but I like to think that a lifetime of reading about other people's experiences good and bad has made me less quick to judge someone as a 'bad person' and take a charitable view to trying to understand why people do things.
I've always felt that, if I were capable of really hurting someone, it would be that brother. I still feel really angry about it, x years later.
Anyway, I can't imagine what that brother and sister are feeling about all this, even x years later. I don't understand why it would make me happier if I knew they were suffering from it. But at least this story helps me feel guilty about feeling that way.
Shortly before we moved to the street where we now live, a kid rode his bike down a driveway and out into the street. The car that struck him was unlikely to have been going more than 30 mph, but the kid was in a coma for a week or two. A little later, a girl came down her driveway on a skateboard, and bounced off the side of a passing sports ute. I don't drive much these days, but I've had a sense of these neighborhood streets as dangerous places.
All my life, you lie silently there
All my life in a world so unfair
All my life and only I'll know why
And it will live inside of me
I will never be free all my life
Trapped in her memory all my life
Till the day that you open your eyes
Please open your eyes
Maybe I see so many "interesting" titles that I tend to forget that sometimes, they really mean what they are saying.
I empathize with her, but if she killed my child.
I could never forgive her.
I am a dad, and I saw a change in my wife the DAY my first son was born. It's easy to forget but we were all on the other side of having children at some point (regardless of gender). It's something that changes you, your relationships, your priorities.
If someone accidentally killed my child I don't know that I'd forgive them either. I know that it would tear my family apart and would ruin the rest of my life. I hope it doesn't happen to anyone.
You feel their movements inside you. You just know when they aren't feeling well.They respond differently when you eat certain foods.
It's an almost spiritual connection.
Then to finally meet them after 9 months, I just can't describe it.
Don't get me wrong I still remember the first time I held them both, but I had to grow to know them from that day forward.
FWIW, I live on a pretty busy street - feeder for the neighborhood, popular short cut between two state roads, 35mph speed limit. Technically parking is allowed, but nobody does so visibility is pretty good. In nearly 20 years living here, I've only seen or heard of one accident, and it was a neighbor's dog (who came out of it fine). On runs I've seen evidence of maybe two or three other collisions. We're lucky. I can't imagine the carnage if we did something as stupid as putting mailboxes on only one side of the street.
There are so many intersections in San Francisco where cars are allowed to park right on the corner, completely obscuring your vision as you go to make a turn, and making it a leap of faith whether or not you'll get hit. The best you can do is slowly edge out and hope that other cars see you.
Poorly designed systems like this infuriate me almost as much as people who will happily give the system a pass and then demonize individuals who mess up because of it.
In the UK most b-roads are 'national' speed limit (i.e. 60mph or 70mph). It is expected that the driver selects the appropriate speed for the conditions, visibility, road etc etc.
Of course, we're humans, which means errors are made, people are impatient, we don't balance risk very well etc etc.
(Based on my experience driving in the US, at least.)
Posted speed limits are a function of the 90th percentile speed (usually based on typical conditions).
If you set low speed limits because "think of the children" you get other (safety) problems.
That is not the correct analogy for this accident. The correct analogy is "Someone runs across a live firing range." The shooters would not be charged.
We know that kids are unpredictable, adults get distracted, and reducing vehicle speed reduces the chance of a collision being fatal: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/r...
We don't need to accept that roads are deadly places for non-drivers. We should strive to make our environment more liveable - by changing road design, vehicle safety features and driver attitudes - and this includes enforcement.
It's accurate from a safety perspective, but otherwise a roadway is not like a firing range.
The streets are paid for by every citizen, yet pedestrians have to adapt to car traffic, even though they are not the ones carrying a weapon.
Accidents do happen; you can't make the world perfect because it is full of imperfect and sometimes irrational (like a 4 year old) people. Personally, I drive extra slow in residential areas just so I can hopefully prevent something like this from happening to someone's child.
In civilized society, there is some evidentiary threshold for arrest and initiating charges. Manslaughter is a crime with specific elements; the absence of sufficient evidence of those elements makes it inappropriate ton arrest or charge.
The absence, as the police expressly found upon initial investigation, of evidence of even negligence in the operation of the vehicle rightly would foreclose such arrest. (And presumably the only reason the police stated that it because it was a threshold issue that, had it gone otherwise, there would have been an arrest.)
On top of the other points people have made about why this is a bad idea, it would also probably make people somewhat more likely to avoid reporting the crime all together in situations with no witnesses.
One time I was riding my bike when nearly the exact same thing happened to me as this woman, only instead of a small child the person was an older man. He, looking for traffic the wrong way on a one-way street, mistakenly thought it was safe to run across the road. I was doing the speed limit (60kph) when I hit him, full force, and sent him tumbling down the hill about 15 feet.
It wasn't my fault at all, but that guy was totally wrecked. I was a bit sore, but overall I was fine. Him on the other hand - his body helped break my bike frame (bent one tube, snapped another right from its welds, broke my wheel, ripped cables free), he had nothing to protect his head, and he looked frail to begin with. It was bad.
Should I have been charged for that? I don't think so. He did it far too suddenly for me to do much more than hit my brakes. I felt awful about it, but I definitely don't feel responsible for it.
If I'd been going the wrong way, he was at a cross walk, or something - something where I should have been more prepared to stop or avoid him - then absolutely. But sometimes pedestrians make really bad calls and road users just aren't at fault.
We should all be safe to make mistakes trying to walk somewhere without risk of serious injury or death from our fellow road users.
That's recklessly fast for a vehicle people are far less likely to hear, see, or be familiar with judging the speed of. Could he had seen you, and figured you were compent enough to slow down & avoid slamming into him?
In Italy they have introduced the crime of “automobilistic manslaughter”. It made no difference whatsoever. Nobody wakes up thinking “Today I’ll drive fast and maybe kill someone”, and nobody drives thinking “oh I must be careful or I’ll murder someone”. People just go from A to B as fast as possible. There is only so much fear of the Law you can put into them, and it doesn’t work at all when the triggering event (death) is so huge that most brains simply cannot process it or imagine it.
What really makes a difference is trying to build an environment where people don’t drive at all, or they do in segregated roads away from pedestrian traffic, as well has having speed bumps and so on.
What we need is better prevention and less cars.
What an utterly silly opinion, anyway.
It's dumb. The whole point of the criminal justice/judicial/investigative systems is to prevent mob rule, which makes no attempt to reach truth, just get revenge.
Was I the only one shocked by this? I mean, a little kid died and she's not arrested at least to conduct an investigation? How did they know she wasn't going to fast?
"never do this again"? What kind of BS closure is that?
I'm not saying she deserved to be convicted or something based on her side of the story, but taking the time for a basic investigation would have been nice.
I think anyone who was actually alive in a time when it was possible for an accident to occur and people didn't automatically look for someone to blame aren't shocked. I'm a lot more shocked by what happens today.
You know, back when the police's job was to 'protect and serve'.
I think half the stuff my parents did to us kids in the '70s would lead to them being arrested today...
And yeah, I don’t think the fragility of the agent of death is a reason not to conduct even a cursory investigation into whether there might have been factors related to the crash.
Was there anything in the car that might indictate impairment or distraction? Was there something about the place in the roadway that limited visibility? Might she have been speeding, and might speeding have been a factor?
I mean, yes, some crashes are truly accidental, but some (especially nowadays with digital distractions) aren’t exactly without culpability on the part of the driver.
When I was in college a beloved professor of mine was struck by a man who got out of his pickup truck, looked around, and got back in his truck and drove off. My professor was left injured in the middle of the road only to be struck and killed by a second car. The first driver’s defense? The one that absolved him of all criminal and civil liability to my professor’s surviving child? He didn’t see her.
In this country we are pretty quick to assume innocence on the part of the driver. It’s been said that, if you want to kill someone and get away with it, do it with your car.
So, yeah, this woman probably wouldn’t have been convicted by a jury of her peers. But it’s pretty cavalier to suggest that we—out of deference to the operator of a deadly machine—that we shouldn’t even ask some questions.
With that being said, I'm inclined not to believe people when they say they're following the speed limit without prior information about the driver. Speeding has become endemic to much of the western world. The driver in the BBC article claims to be following the speed limit, but can't remember it precisely ("45 or 50mph"). That's certainly not a point in her favor. And the various stats I've seen and also my real world experience suggest that relatively few people actually do follow the limit. I'm a cyclist who intentionally rides on roads with low speed limits. I can recall multiple instances where drivers decided to make dangerous "punishment passes" by me for apparently going too slow, despite the fact that I was actually going slightly faster than the speed limit (typically around 17 in a 15 mph zone). I can recall one particular instance where I spoke with a driver at the next light and they seemed incredulous that I was actually meeting the speed limit. I told another driver who almost ran me over that the limit was 25 mph and I was going around 28 downhill, so they can't claim I was going too slow. Their response was that I should be arrested, though they must have been going at least 40! That's entitlement. Too many drivers seem to have the attitude that someone deserves extra risk for inconveniencing others on the road. (The only reason I go a bit over the limit sometimes is because drivers tend to get angry if I don't, though I'm starting to question the utility of this. I go slower if there is no one else on the road.)
I often say that people are different when they're behind the wheel. They're less patient, and outright irrational. Speeding really does not save much time at all outside of perhaps empty highways. I see it all the time because my top speed is less than half of most drivers', yet I regularly catch up with them at stop signs and lights. Speeding is mostly extra risk for little gain.
Table 2 in that link shows fatalities approximately doubling for each 5 mph increment of speed added.
That doesn't even take into account the increased likelihood of hitting someone (increased speed means decreased ability to react and stop).
And yes, most (U.S.) roads are designed in such a way that practically begs motorists to speed. And thus speeding is the norm. Man if I had a dollar for every HN thread where someone bragged about getting out of a speeding ticket...
To be fair, one needs to consider both absolute and relative speeds. Risk increases monotonically with absolute speed, but if you are going around the average speed of other vehicles on the road, that is safer than going slower. Many drivers I've spoken with will point that out as if it says speeding is safer. But the reality is that slower speeds for everyone and relatively little spread are what's actually safer.
Learning patience and driving slower is a more productive use of one's time than fighting a speeding ticket. I am confident there's something about cars that actively erodes away patience in a way you don't see in bikes for example.
This advice is good on highways to avoid colliding with other vehicles at high speeds. On local streets, it's better to be the neighborhood pace car and slow down :-)
Maybe arrest isn’t warranted—maybe a, “hey you look pretty shook up, would you mind coming down to the station with me to answer a few questions? Cool, I have to let you know before I get started that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
But I also don’t think “nah, I’m good and don’t intend to come with you to answer your questions.” Is an acceptable answer either. So, if someone were NOT cooperating with the police in a fatal crash situation, I don’t think arrest is unreasonable in the least.
To clarify my comment, I wasn't talking about finding a way to point fingers at her or something. but really, just sending her on her way, driving the car she just used to kill a child with, is irresponsible.
I mean, we have here a story with a dead child and story of a woman who caused the death. On the strength of the emotional narrative presented in this story, people here have largely decided that it’s not even worth asking questions, maybe dotting an i or crossing a t or two.
I wouldn’t expect the officer to knock her head shoving her into the back of a squad car, or to keep her waiting in an interview room until she’s good and ready to crack. But then again, I generally expect humane, dignified treatment of people that police interact with.
> you need to make sure that you never do this again
Just a stupid sentence that came out not knowing what to say.
The police response was basically "well, sometimes people do this, but they usually don't hit anybody LOL". I didn't expect a full-on CSI investigation but really, my girlfriend or I could have died, I wanted something. There were never any charges, and I'm pretty sure there was no investigation beyond writing the report. It was really disappointing and disillusioning.
You're right, without witnesses what can you do? But I would imagine a procedure a little more involved when somebody kills a child.
Engineers assumed people wouldn't run into the middle of the street without looking.
If you slow down to non-lethal speeds for every parallel parked vehicle or obstacle in anticipation of some kid sprinting out from behind it, you might as well walk (not ride a bike, because that problem still exists).
> 1 a : an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance
"to fall, land, or hit with destructive force"
To me that is more accurate.
Yes it is. Do you mean, it would make driving more inconvenient, since drivers would have to slow down when they passed?
I don't disagree with any intention of improving safety, but there are pragmatic reasons we shouldn't unconditionally implement reduced speed limits around children.
In the UK, all this is done by putting up street lights. The Highway Code then dictates that the road has a speed limit of 30mph and is residential (no compression braking).
I don't understand your comment about overtaking. Are you thinking of long, straight roads with mostly-evenly distributed houses over a large distance?
In an area zoned for residential, e.g. a small town or village, the speed limit will drop and there are noise restrictions. That's quite common, although also quite sparse within the land area.
I've been speaking to unincorporated areas that have no zoning. Many of them are as you described: long, straight roads with mostly-evenly distributed houses over a large distance. These are the types of rural roads that make up the vast majority of land area in the midwest area of the US.
Regardless, living on a highway is not prime real estate.
The only time I see otherwise is if mountains or rivers are involved, or there is density (in which case it is sure to be zoned!).
With very low traffic density, you might build the house closer to the road (maybe 10m off, separated with trees) for just that reason – to save land. (Not all rural houses are farms.)
People live directly off of highways. So highways should be 25 mph? 30mph?