There's bad taste, and then there's jaw-droppingly, disturbingly offensive. Chalk this harrowing event up to the latter: A man jogging in West Seattle was struck by a semi truck, and was critically injured. According to eyewitness accounts, the man was broadsided by the truck, was flung into the air, and landed on his head. Barely clinging to life, cops arrive on the scene--and proceed to mock the man, who for all they knew was dying, for not driving a car.
A dashcam video captured the unsettling conversation, and was obtained by a local news organization. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:
"They say he flew up in the air and landed on his noggin," one officer is heard saying on dashcam video obtained by KOMO News.Here's the video footage of the incident, via KOMO News:
"Hey, that ain't my problem," responds a second officer.
"That's why you drive a car!" the first one remarks.
"Yeah, don't try to jog to work, you dumb (expletive)," said the other.
The accident took place during the extended closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, when the state Department of Transportation was urging commuters to bike, walk, or take a ferry to work in order to avoid a traffic gridlock.
That's some true-blue heartlessness right there. But there is a bigger point to be made than 'these cops are assholes' (which they undoubtedly and unambiguously are). And that point regards the social construct that has positioned cars as the ultimate, dominant norm for transportation in our society; any deviation from which may be met with suspicion or even scorn.
Bicyclists have long endured such harassment from drivers, who believe the road rightfully belongs to cars. And this presupposition that roads are made for automobiles isn't necessarily the fault of individual ignorance--this view is inculcated into us from early on, especially if you live in rural or suburban areas. But seeing this attitude drawn out to such brutal lengths--that a man might deserve death for straying from car-centric standards--is striking indeed. It is a powerful reminder of how truly far we have yet to go in making the case that our lives need not revolve around the car .