Toronto recently witnessed an outpouring of grief for a woman crushed to death under the wheels of a truck.
The outpouring of grief is correct, for a life was snuffed out, and in writing this I highlight the lack of grief for another party, and hope to spare several lives in the future.
The original news story “Woman killed when bike collides with large truck” broke eight days ago and has been followed by a series of stories:
The common thread through these stories is that the police have not, and now will not, lay charges against the truck-driver.
What do you think that this means?
From the news articles alone we can draw no certain conclusions, but from the news articles alone it is easy to come to the conclusion that the cyclist was at fault.
Picture a scene where a truck is stopped at an intersection, waiting to make a right-hand turn. Traffic is flowing from left to right while the truck driver waits for a break in the traffic flow.
Meanwhile, unknown to the driver, who is looking to his left, a cyclist approaches from behind, sees a gap between the truck and the side of the road, and “squeezes through” to save a few seconds.
The truck driver might even make a last-second check of the right-hand mirror before beginning the turn, but by then the cyclist has passed out of view and is in the truck’s blind spot, near the front wheels.
Only the truck driver and the police know what probably happened; and since there are no recorded witnesses, no-one can know for sure what did happen.
But whenever I see the continual disclaimer “…the truck driver … will not be charged” I figure that there was not a shred of fault ascribed to the truck driver.
In a city where cycling is promoted as a healthy alternative to powered vehicles, this seems like a case of the cyclist being at fault.
- I am, as you may know, a driver, a cyclist and a pedestrian.
- In my youth I drove a large fully-laden wheat truck.
If there is one thing we all learn from reading, it is this:-
- Change is inevitable
- Change is permanent, until the next change.
- History repeats itself.
- What is new under the sun is stale under the moon
So whenever you hear the word “final”, be ready to tune out.
In the final analysis, the final frontier is not finally defeated.
There has always been, will always be, a final frontier.
Anglos heading west from the Atlantic coast thought that California (Oregon, Washington) was the final frontier.
There will be no Final Solution because there will always be Another Problem. Once you have solved your most urgent problem, what was your second-most urgent problem automatically becomes your most urgent problem.
There is no “All Sales Final”, in truth, because, in truth, anyone who sells you something for coin of the realm will agree to change if you offer them enough change (a.k.a. money). It’s what people who sell for money are used to!
I promise you this: Whenever you hear someone pontificate on “The Final Analysis”, you can be certain that they are focused on THEIR local interests, and want their interests to be satisfied above all others. To their mind, THEY are the centre of the known universe.
Finally: Check it out!
Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favorite authors, not just for her position in promoting the fight against library cuts here in Toronto.
Today’s Toronto Star carries a quotation from a book printed on paper made from straw in which Atwood says “Human beings need oxygen, and forests produce it; printed books require paper, but paper need not be made from virgin forests.”
This strikes me as an odd statement to make.
My understanding of photo-synthesis is that almost all types of vegetable matter take in carbon di-oxide during the day and expire oxygen.
So straw, trees, carrots and rhododendrons all take part in creating oxygen. Swapping trees for grasses doesn’t add up to a hill of beans unless someone does the maths.
- For example, maybe grasses, pound for pound, per day, produce more oxygen than trees.
- For example, maybe grasses, acre for acre, per day, produce more oxygen than trees.
Discussing leaves leaves aside, of course, the whole arena of electronic books