The Selectively Closed Eye of Sauron

Our sssssssssssaaaaaaaafety matters  . . . but only when it suits.

No other conclusion can be drawn from the cognitive disconnect that, on the one hand, the merest assertion of potential risk is sufficient to justify the government’s forcing us to wear a seat belt and buy a half dozen air bags, to not make rights on red and accept being interviewed by roadside cops at random to make sure we’re not “drunk” (without having given any reason to suspect we might be) and – on the other hand – its lawn dart insouciance toward the actually dangerous . . .  which has been forced upon us by the very same government.

Consider the latest example – the news that over the course of less than two years – from September 2016 through March 2018 – at least 37 automated Uber cars crashed into something.

And – infamously – someone.

That someone being 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg (RIP) of Tempe, AZ – who was run over by an Uber car while its “driver” was taking a nap. Gift Card i... Buy New $10.00 (as of 08:25 EST - Details)

Bear in mind there aren’t very many automated Uber cars out there. Just a few hundred of them, actually. So proportionately, the number of Ubers that have crashed into things as well as ended things (such as Herzberg’s life) is staggering. It is more than the number of Audis that “unintentionally accelerated” back in the ’80s (some of you may remember) relative to the hundreds of thousands of Audis then in circulation.

The Audis under suspicion didn’t accelerate unintentionally, either. Their drivers did – by inadvertently flooring the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. Which they did because they weren’t used to European-style pedal placement, which (at the time) was somewhat tighter-spaced than what was typical then in American cars.

Anyway, all eyes – including the eye of Sauron – fell upon Audi and the company was almost put out of business on the basis of the actions of a few people who couldn’t drive.

Fast forward.

Automated Ubers kill people – the cars are objectively dangerous –  and Sauron takes a nap.

Now – lethargically – the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is holding a “hearing” on the matter. But no action has been taken to get known-to-be-dangerous automated cars – Ubers and otherwise – off the road and back on the drawing board, where they belong.

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