Friday, November 13, 2009

You're Doing It Wrong: Driving

This post was originally going to be titled "You're Doing It Wrong: Police." That's how my reasoning began.

You rarely see police walking. Police are almost always found driving around in vehicles with "POLICE" written in intimidating, massive font on the side. When not in blatantly obvious cars, they're in cars with giant spotlights poking out the front, trying to sneak around and bust you for driving too fast.

This, of course, ends up being their only interaction with most people--when they're in trouble, wherein the cop lectures the potentially guilty in a patronizing manner. Even if it's not when they're personally in trouble, they're only found at the sight of trouble or where there's likely to be trouble. It's natural, then, that people ought not like police because their presence only means bad things.

Were police to walk everywhere, they wouldn't be driving in seclusion, and their presence wouldn't necessarily entail bad things. Additionally, their interactions with the community would allow them to prevent more harmful crimes than bored kids loitering and speeding tickets; they could receive tips by word of mouth from community members who trust them. Plus, if they lived in the communities they patrolled, they would be personally invested in their success.

This problem has a flaw--walking. Nobody does it anymore. A cop couldn't stop people from speeding while he's walking around, and he can't chase down criminals in cars. In fact, he'd make an easy target for gang members with nothing to do but gun down cops.

The fact that people drive everywhere doesn't just isolate people from police, it isolates people from each other. Instead of individuals seeing the faces of people while the commute to work, they see their headlights, slanted like scornful eyes. They take no concern for the humanity of the people on the road with them; people call the product of this road rage. The entire process of driving causes stress, both the commute itself and the process of parking--there's never enough of it, and people have to act like vultures just to succeed.

This sort of constant stress is not only unnecessary; it's awful for your health. Not only would people commuting by self-propelled means add humanity of the American commute, the exercise itself would relieve stress and improve health. Problems caused by over-consumption--such as obesity--would be resolved. When you do need to drive long-distance, travel costs would be lower.

Sadly, there's no economic motivators for such a change. The automobile is deeply ingrained into the fabric of the suburban-city metropoleis, discouraging slightly-interested individuals from beginning the transition to a pedestrian society. It's going to take massive change--like economic collapse--to make a difference. The people who would not benefit from this change are the people in charge, and they'll fight their damnedest to stop the world from falling apart. Sad to say, conflagration is too distant to hope for.


Blogger Iosif said...

Sorry mistakes but using Google Translate. About politics people generally have a low opinion or actually does not support the police. If this topic interests you please tell me and I will send you some addresses where people (speaking of cases in Romania) do not stop the police signals. In Romania, these people are usually young or rich or that they think that the exit law. I saw the news that a judge did not want to submit to an alcohol test.
Therefore dear friends believe that to be respected must first respect. If we beat the game or hate cops when time and they will respond likewise. Greetings from Spain with respect to Joseph and Camelia!

Thursday, November 19, 2009 5:51:00 PM  

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