accidents just happen


This is Kylie Bruehler. Her sad face doesn’t quite match her playful dress. She’s sad because she’s at a funeral for both her parents. Her parents were killed on October 1st when a driver veered his truck off the road and struck them while they were taking a morning ride on a tandem bicycle.

According to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, no charges will be filed against the driver because “They believe this was an accident and that somehow the driver lost control of his truck.”

This is where I get very, very angry.

Every day millions of Americans drive around in cars. I’m fine with this. I drive my own very often. I do ride a bike to work as much as I can, but I’m no crazy car hater. But I do feel that American car culture has taken what is essentially a two ton steel block on wheels and made it into a God-given right of every citizen.

Let’s look at this situation. A man driving a very large truck “accidentally loses control of his truck.” In doing so, two people are killed. One instantly, one given the gift of suffering for a few hours. Now, it seems to me that if you wield something poorly, and it ends up killing two people, at the very least you should probably not wield said object any more.

If I was at home with my shotgun, and I “accidentally lost control” of it, and it killed both my son and wife, I wonder if the Sheriff’s Office would charge me with anything. I wonder if they would say it was an accident. After all, why should I be expected to ALWAYS be in control of my shotgun when it’s in my hands? Oh right, because it’s a tool that can have lethal implications whenever it’s in use. Good thing cars aren’t like that at all!

Why not take this person’s driving privileges away for the rest of his life? Can’t do that? Then how about a couple years? But no, this guy will be allowed right back on the road the very next day. His privilege to drive is deemed more important than the lives of two people.

The driver was given a license. The premise of the license is that the state is saying you are able to control a motor vehicle. This driver has proven that he is unable. Why does he still have a license?

If he had veered his truck to the left, and struck oncoming traffic, he would have gotten a ticket for wreckless driving and been deemed at fault for the accident. But because he veered his truck right, and only hit a couple people on a bike, it’s no one’s fault. Where the fuck is the logic in that?

You can find stories like this all over America. If a car gets hit by a car, it’s another accident, someone is faulted, someone pays, sometimes people even get jailed. If you hit a pedestrian or a cyclist, it’s a tragic accident, but by golly that’s just life. Everyone go on about your business.

The point of my ranting is this: a car is a serious piece of equipment. It kills over 100 people a day. We need to start treating it like what it is. There is no God-given right to drive. If people show they can’t use a car responsibly, we need to take it away from them.

a sad day for metal

Drummer Louie Bellson died on Valentine’s Day. He was made famous drumming and composing for Duke Ellington. The reason it’s a sad day for metal is that Bellson pioneered the double-bass drum setup. He came up with it in high school at the age of 14. He grew up to play stuff like this:

That double bass idea gave way to stuff like this:

Thanks Louie. Rest In Peace.

in memoriam

Yesterday evening my parents had the terrible responsibility of putting my cat Taylor to sleep. I say my cat, but that’s only because I took him with me once I moved out from my parents, when really, everyone in my family had a significant part of their lives with him.

Taylor came into our family shortly after our youngest cat, Katie was stolen during a move. I remember the night we got him, my sister Kathie said there would be a surprise, and all I could imagine was that we were going to go to Toys ‘R Us. Instead we went out and got a cat.

There are two accounts to the origin of his name. One from my mother, who says, due to his beautiful eyes, he was named after Elizabeth Taylor. The other, from my older sister Kathie, who claims he was named after a character from some TV movie that she had a crush on.

Taylor had the unfortunate duty of living in the shadow of Patches, the greatest cat in the world. There was nothing wrong with Taylor, he was very cat like, lots of sitting around, not really caring about you so much. But when you compared him to Patches, the most loving, wonderful cat in the world, he seemed fairly deficient.

But shortly after Patches died, Taylor seemed to pick up the torch. Unfortunately, most of my family never got to see this side of him. Taylor very much became the lap cat. He would join you on the coach to watch TV, he’d nap with you, he’d even stare at you while you sat on the toilet. OK, I guess you had to be there to understand the affectionate nature of that last one.

With Noah coming into the picture, and Taylor’s age weighing heavily on him, we were unable to afford to keep up with the vet in both money and time. He remained a great cat but the maintenance was just too much for new parents. At this point my parents took over his care back in Florida.

I really only ever got to see Taylor one more time. This is what really pains me. My parents ended up with an old, broke-down cat that was too sick feeling to be very affectionate, and the bills for his care. It got to a breaking point a couple weeks ago when Taylor got Ringworm, and the dipping treatment would result in him shutting down and not eating. This meant he had to stay at the vet to be re-hydrated, and a simple dipping procedure would become a 500 dollar weekend at the vets.

So last night my parents took him home, and we had hoped that they would care for him until Saturday, when I could be in town and we could put him to sleep together. Unfortunately, as soon as he got back to my parents house, he began very labored breathing. My parents called the vet, who made a house call, and he was put to sleep.

Taylor was a good cat. It took him some aging to get there, but all in all, he was a wonderful addition to our family. He was already missed by me, and knowing that he’s not still waiting for me to visit him is another little pain I’ll have to deal with.

Thanks for the good times Taylor. Not so much thanks for dragging poop all over everything that one time. That was totally uncool. But I’m sure that memory will fade and I’ll just keep the ones of you hopping up on the coach and attacking my chin with yours, until my goatee was covered in cat slobber.