Saturday, July 18, 2009

Unplanned Outcomes?

18 Iuil 2009.

Unplanned Outcomes?

Its always interesting to start writing when the mind is blanked out and without a notion of what may flow, sluggishly or in a continous stream of consciousness, from the pen. Interesting for the writer that is. The reader may have a different view. Blogging isn’t much different. Most times this blogger has a plan of sorts about what I want to pontificate about. Some times. Other times I go where my fancy takes me.

Today is like that. It’s a Saturday. I considered doing another piece on tomorrows big game between Aontroim and Tír Éoghan or yesterdays refusal by the leadership of the Orange Order to talk to Sinn Féin. I also intend doing a wee blog or two some day on some books I am taken by. I usually blog on Friday as well as Monday or Tuesday. I try to make the Friday blog a little less serious than the other one. But yesterday was given over entirely to meetings. One after the other. With a few interviews thrown in for good measure. That’s Richard for you. So it was late before we finished and no space for blogging at all, at all.

On the way back to Belfast we got caught in heavy traffic gridlock after a ghastly road accident on the Newry Road in which a man and a woman were killed. Go ndeanfaidh Dia trocaire orthu.

We passed the scene of their deaths slowly and in shocked and silent disbelief at the way their car was squashed in under a container lorry, with the car roof peeled back like the lid of a sardine tin. The lorry was parked at the time of the accident. We couldn’t help but reflect on the awfulness of the scene. A split second of concentration lost, or a tyre blowing out, a moment of madness. Followed by devastation and death.

Emergency workers were busy at the scene as we passed. I felt very grateful to them. And sorry for the families of the dead couple getting word of what had happened. And yet even as the traffic inched its way away from the scene of the crash through a chicane of traffic cones a lunatic came speeding along, longside us all, clearly in breach of speed limit and other rules of the road.

He, for it was a he, was clearly indifferent to the death scene or oblivious to it and to the danger he was creating for himself and everyone else on his journey. He didn’t care. I figure maybe that otherwise he is probably a caring person. Maybe with a spouse and children? Maybe in his own house he is a quiet and loving father and husband? Or an attentive son and brother? So what is he doing driving so recklessly and ignorantly? Viciously. Like a bully and a thug.

What is it that seizes many of us when we get in behind a steering wheel?

The roads in Ireland are scary places. Hardly a day goes by without a fatal accident and the weekends regularly bring grim news of multiple road deaths. There are many reasons for car accidents. They include a lack of motoring skills, road rage, mechanical failure or poor road conditions.

But my own theory is that many accidents are caused by drivers who don’t really appreciate how fast they are travelling. And there are so many cars on the road these days. Even a small error can have deadly and unplanned outcomes. Speed kills. That’s the way of it.

In these modern times many of us seem hell bent on living life at high speed. Some day somebody could die as a consequence. That somebody could be you.


Anonymous said...

posted by Kathy Collins

The day we are born--God knows the
day and how we will is just a suprise to us and those we leave behind.

Linda said...

My husband just got home, after being stuck in traffic for a similar reason, a wreck near our house; a car was on top of the retaining wall between the divided lanes of traffic, and crumpled into a light pole. The driver was already gone, but there were several police cars out there; he figures someone was driving too fast--way too fast--went out of control and straight up the wall into the light pole. People are insane. I feel like I'm taking my life in my hands every time I go out!

Micheal said...

Well that wasn't a very cheerful blog. You're right though. There's death on those roads and tragedy is only too real for those affected. As long as that's only a minority, positve change is only ever incremental.

I agree with your theory. The inside of the motor-vehicle creates a kind of false distinction. People don't realise that they're hurtling along at speed in a ton of glass and metal.

My solution to the carnage on Irish roads is electric cars for all, apart from the emergency response crews. Those cars would be lighter, with a maximum speed of
50km per hour for motorways and 30km per hour for A roads, with that coming down to 10-15 for in residential areas and near schools.

These cars could be powered for free at charging points which only use renewable energy sources. It makes total practical sense on every level.

The motor-car, in it's current form, appeals to the Id in people, quite apart from the point you make about the speed illusion.

The world system, in it's current form, is Id driven and Superego controlled, leaving the Ego (human reasoning as a worthy moderator) out of the power equation, and leading to a sense of either futility or Thatcherite individualism.

People have got to start caring, Gerry. They have got to start giving a damn about something. Anything. Just to get out from the awful spell that they're under. The spell that the media has them under, through hammering the same themes into their emotions again and again and again.

Timothy Dougherty said...

hello Gerry, I do love the Northern Ireland's public transport system, and wonder how the drivers can keep their state of mind. In another vain,your story recalls the folk song by written by Pete Seeger in 1967 "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy", the song was considered symbolic of the Vietnam War.Each verse ends with a line noting that "the big fool said to push on." Marching is like that, leaders imperiously ignoring concerns continues on into a deeper joining stream of obvious moral declines.

Paul Doran said...


Strange I was involved in car accident Sat week ago on my way to Wexford and bang my car was it mainly my fault,luckly we were all okay and the people in the other car were okay as well.But what a fright, we were not going fast, going around a roundabout.So when I heard Gaybo saying this morning about all of us reducing the speed by 10 per cent, It thought that was a catchy idea.