The area where I live now is dotted with all manner of farms large and small. Working farms of the kind that keep us all alive and bullshit little ones where you go and let the kids run through the corn or pick pumpkins and eat a mediocre cider donut. Take some pictures that fucking suck and you post them anyway.
As such there are regularly trucks driving back and forth along the one main road that I need to use to get anywhere I need to go. Well basically the gym and the liquor store are the only two places. But I need to get to them.
These trucks loaded with produce or heavy equipment of some kind bomb around the winding thin roads so fast. So fast! It's honestly kind of shocking how fast they go. How all the cars here go. Living in or close to the city for years I never encountered vehicles this big driving this fast. I don't know if it's the result of the pandemic having made everyone forget how to drive – although these are professional drivers so it's probably not that – or if this is just how things are in a place like this. And so every day I think about one of these trucks pulverizing me in my dinky little 2011 Toyota Corolla. Me and my backseat full of soda water bottles just getting leveled. So too when I'm on one of my dinky little jogs. With my headphones in I might not even hear the collision coming.
I do feel like it's coming though. One way or the other these trucks are going to kill me and kill us all.
Do you feel different about driving lately? Perhaps it's a matter of aging where one does everything more slowly and cautiously – like how a set of stairs isn't just a means of conveyance anymore it's also a threat – but I have become so much more cautious as a driver and I was never all that aggressive and reckless behind the wheel in the first place. The awareness that I could so easily maim or kill myself or someone else or that someone could do the same to me is always there just in the back of my mind rumbling like an engine.
How a lot of us think about the prospect of being murdered in a shooting.
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS NEWSLETTER WITH A SUBSCRIPTION IF YOU CAN THANK YOU.
Ryan Cooper writes today for The American Prospect on the Death Cult of the American Car. In it he shares data from the Governors Highway Safety Association's annual preliminary report on pedestrian safety for 2022.
"It projected that pedestrian deaths will have increased for the 12th consecutive year, nearly doubling from 4,302 in 2010 to an estimated 8,126—the highest number in more than 40 years."
He also notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's preliminary report on car deaths for 2022 found "a slight decrease from the prior year but still a 32 percent increase compared to 2011."
Look at these numbers below man. There were 42,795 motor vehicle fatalities last year alone. That's the equivalent of the population of the entire town I live in being wiped out four times over every year.
Imagine one giant truck speeding through town mowing us all down over and over and over and over.
I don't want to be in a fucking car! I don't want so many cars around me.
I suppose at the very least they aren't as bad as helicopters as I wrote about the other day.
As we can say about so many other things wrong with this country it's not like this everywhere else. And it doesn't have to be like this.
More from Cooper:
As Emily Badger and Alicia Parlapiano write at The New York Times, back in the mid-1990s, France and America were squarely in the middle of the pack of OECD countries when it came to road fatalities, with both at about 150 deaths per million inhabitants. Since then, France has cut its traffic death rate by over two-thirds, while America’s has only declined by about a tenth. During that time, we have been surpassed by middle-income nations that were formerly much deadlier, like Latvia and Lithuania.
It’s not hard to discover why American roads are so deadly, particularly for pedestrians. There are too many cars and trucks that are too heavy and tall, driving too fast on streets that are too wide, with too many points of conflict... The European Union, by contrast, has been pushing road safety policies for decades now that have cut down on road deaths by 22 percent since 2012.
It's another one of those things that I find myself feeling really pessimistic about us being able to fix. What do people in this country love more than anything besides their giant trucks and SUVs? Their guns sure but after that I mean.
The false sense of safety and freedom both provide.
Did you know by the way that guns finally overtook cars as the leading killer of people under age twenty in this country in the past couple years? I wrote about that last year in this one.
It's so muggy here again this morning in Massachusetts. It's been humid for as long as I can remember. Oppressive wetness. I just opened the window for a breath of gross air and I can hear the cars speeding by on the road. The street's wet you can tell by the sound of the cars as the guy sang.
So many trucks every hour every day and so many motorcycles too for some reason. I have no idea where these motorcycles are going or where they came from. The fuckin... motorcycle store I guess (?) New Hampshire perhaps.
Every morning when M. leaves for work or for anywhere I always tell her to "drive safe." It's like a little spell of protection I'm casting I guess is how I think of it. Sometimes I worry if I don't say it something bad is going to happen. That's probably not a healthy way to think. To hold onto a suspicion like that. But again like with guns I feel like it's all I have.
I don't know what we can do to forestall so much of this unnecessary death (although Cooper is much more optimistic in his piece in terms of potential policy improvements). I guess in the meantime the only thing I can offer you is my thoughts and prayers.
Wherever you need to go today please just drive safe.
Noooo you're gonna give that dog depression!
My release party is next Friday in New York. Please come by and say hello if you're around. What a crop! RSVP here.
Speaking of the humidity look at the state of this poll I ran the other day. These perverts. These sick fucks. 75 and humid is as bad as it gets. Give me the cold biting wind any day over this. At least a jacket and a hat is a respite.
You may have seen the latest in the series of "have the trans people gone too far?" pieces in the New York Times this week.
Look at what you made the bigots do.
This is just some fucking crank on Twitter but it's a demonstrative point.
Listen to me: You are going to hear a lot of this sort of thing going forward if you aren't already inundated with it. We were ok with it when it was just gay marriage you wanted and so on. No! You fucking were not. I remember man I was there. We were all there! It was like eight years ago that gay marriage became the law of the land.
The right are doing the same thing when it comes to abortion as well. We were so reasonable. We very generously indulged your rights. And now you have forced us to take them away.
You weren't ok with safe legal and rare either! I know this term gets overused a lot lately but this is what gaslighting is right? This is the exact definition?
I suppose if you're reading this newsletter you're not going to be the type of person to fall for any of these clear and obvious lies but we can't let this shit fly. Rewriting distant history is one thing but we cannot let them rewrite yesterday and the actual fucking present while we're still in the midst of it.
Holy shit did you see this from over the weekend? Here's one bit of queer history I'm fine with us rewriting.
It is delightful. I am downright delighted over this. They sound so good. I would pay good money to see this show if it came my way. I would get in my car and drive to the venue very cautiously. And when the crowd all came together to sing "And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine" I would be shaking my head so everyone knows I don't agree with that statement. I don't want that to happen to me or to you no matter how much we're in love.
That's all for today friends. I gotta go for a drive. Wish me luck.