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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Winter driving with yahoos in the mix

Even in the blizzard weather that West Michigan is experiencing these last few days, there are still quite a few of us who have to go to work. That said, driving in this weather is difficult enough with all the unintelligent, idiotic yahoos that we have to contend with.
You see them everywhere. They think that driving a big 4X4 SUV will keep them safer on the road. That may be true for them, but what about everyone else that they have to share the road with? Having that big suv does not mean you can stop any faster, it only means that you can get going faster.
Having a four wheel drive vehicle does not give the person driving it the right to intimidate other drivers in smaller vehicles jnto getting out of their way. But, as always, there are people out there who think that if you are not driving an SUV, you should not be out in this weather. So what if they have somewhere to go, so do the drivers of smaller vehicles. Ohterwise, they would not be out on the road. The road is meant to be shared by every one.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

The problem is with the drivers

I read this article in the Holland Sentinel today defending the right of people to drive SUVs. Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with SUVs, they can be great tools when used responsibly. The problem is the people who drive them.
The mentality of some of the people who drive can really get scary. It is true that they have places to go and things to do. So does everyone else on the road. But a growing number of SUV drivers seem to think that their needs are greater than everyone else's. It is true that they can get going faster than other vehicles in the snow. That does not mean that they can stop faster. A SUV simply has a much greater mas than a smaller vehicle and , in a collision, has the potential to do a lot more damage. That four wheel drive capability will not save you from going in the ditch, contrary to popular belief. Also, contrary to popular belief, a person driving a SUV does not have the right to intimidate other drivers into getting out of their way. Faster traffic does not always have the right of way.
Quite a few SUV drivers say that they feel safer in their larger vehicles. With that, I will not argue. They just don't consider the safety of others sharing the road with them. This includes the smaller vehicles that other poeple are driving. They don't seem to realize that they are legally responsible for any damage they can cause to another driver that is caused by their actions.
SUVs are great tools when doing what they are designed to do. Large families who have a lot of things to haul around are a good example of that. But thay have to keep in mind that hauling a lot of stuff means extra weight and extra stopping distance.
Here is a link to SUV Owners of America.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The uselessness of hatred

Last night, I was watching the movie American History X. While watching this picture, I was reminded how something as simple as hatred of the color of another person's skin can make intelligent and educated people behave in such irrational ways.

The movie starts with a white supremacist ( played by Edward Norton) when he shoots and kills two black gang members who are trying to steal his car. For this, he is arrested and spends several years in prison. When he get out, he find that his kid brother (played by Edward Furlong) is very close to going down the same path that he did.

The younger brother, meanwhile, has been given an assignment by the teacher that his own brother had( played by Avery Brooks) to chronicle the effects that irrational hatred has had on his family. He traces the beginning of that reign of hatred to a conversation that his brother had with their father. Their father is complaining about how he had to take two black men on his squad (he is a fire fighter) in the place of two better qualified fire fighters who just happened to be white.

Soon after this conversation, the fatther is killed in the line of duty by a person whose life he had just saved.

When he starts this assignment, the younger brother writes about several incidents of increasing violence, including the riots after the Rodney King beating. These episodes lead up to the arrest of the older brother for the before mentioned killing. After he is paroled, the older brother decides he talks ot the younger brother about his experiences while he is in prison.
After Edward Norton's character is paroled from prison, he personally confronts the man who got him started down the path that he had followed and says that he is done with him and so is his brother.
The tragedy is that at the end of this movie, Edward Furlong's character is fatally shot in the bathroom by a black youth that he had an altercation before.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another day in the life of an epidemic

I was out taking a rare bike ride that I would not normally be able to take in the middle of the winter since it has been so warm this last few days when I was reminded of an ongoing epidemic. That epidemic is that of people ignorant of their surroundings.
This disease manifests itself in effected people in their lack of any ability to pay attention to the environment. You see these people usually with the accessory called a cell hpone grafted directly to their skulls. Those effected get so wrapped up in the conversations they are having with the other party (who is more than likely being effected by the same disease) that they tend to almost collide with things in their environment. Like a person that is coming at them head on. The cure for this disease, howeveer, is a very simple solution. That would be JUST TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU ARE GOING! WAKE UP PEOPLE!

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