Juxtaposition

This was a morning of contrasts. I woke to find a video of an eighty-four year old man who, while walking from a market was sucker-punched, assaulted and savagely beaten by an example of human slime. I imagined that 99.9% of people who have seen the same video reacted with disgust and outright contempt, and that almost as great a percentage can't imagine a punishment severe enough for the vile actions of the perpetrator. 


Then, while checking through the morning links at Biking In LA I read how a perpetrator driving a powerful hulking vehicle ran down a bicyclist from behind, stopped and got out of his vehicle to look at the victim, and then simple drove away as if the human being he left bloodied and broken in the street were nothing more than a wayward traffic cone he had run over. The victim of this attack, Manuel Morales Rodriguez, died of his injuries; meanwhile the driver, who so callously disregarded the consequences of his actions was sentenced this week, a sentence that will result in nothing more than a single year in a county jail.

I went to the next story, this one about the driver who killed Bo Hu, a tourist from China, after hitting him from behind and fled the scene without ever applying the brakes of his vehicle. The perpetrator, in this case, will end up serving a whopping thirty days as a consequence for his negligent actions.

I wondered about the outrage most people will feel in the one case, and wondered if the same numbers of people would feel outrage in regard to the other two. Now I am not going to attempt to convince you that these three cases are equal; the unprovoked brutal assault in the first case may make it unique, but each one shares the same callous disregard for the life and well-being of a fellow human, which also makes them far more similar than most people would be willing to admit. Outrage, or a shrugging of shoulders? We should be well past responding with casual indifference when it comes to motor vehicle violence, but I sense far too much shrugging of shoulders.

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