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#1 2016-11-23 10:16:30

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 192

How to frame a traffic fatality in a car culture

Another pedestrian has died along I35.

http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2 … ffic-.html

I have noticed this before, but this time I looked more closely.   The framing of the story is all about how traffic was slowed down.  It's all about the inconvenience.  If you listen to the news story you will notice that it is only 79 seconds long, but the first 31 seconds are all about the traffic.

It takes them 31 seconds to mention that a fellow human being died horribly.  Sure, it probably is worth asking what a pedestrian was doing along the interstate.  But maybe this person had run out of gas or had broken down and was walking to get help.  Maybe this person was a homeless disabled vet crippled by ptsd and addiction and had wandered onto the road.  There are a million possible explanations, some good, some bad.  And I'm NOT saying the driver was at fault or is a bad person.  We don't know - and neither do the reporters.

What I'm saying is that it is SICK that the news prioritizes traffic flow over human life.  And no one even notices because it is so common.

But don't worry, traffic is moving again!

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#2 2016-11-23 10:25:00

RedFalcon
Member
Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 192

Re: How to frame a traffic fatality in a car culture

Oh, and one more thing.  If I die on my daily commute, I hope traffic is backed up for hours.

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#3 2016-11-23 10:49:47

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,168
Website

Re: How to frame a traffic fatality in a car culture

I noticed the same thing about the reporting about the I-35 ped-crossing fatality that happened last week.

It reminds me how we euphamize collisions by daintily calling them "accidents".  Spilling the milk is an accident, a huge metal contraption smashing into another is a collision--or at least it should be, but not in this culture.

In Japan, some people commit suicide by jumping in front of trains (since trains are so ubiquitous there).  That causes train network slowdowns, and so to discourage jumpers, it's widely known that the train company (they're generally private, not public) will bill the deceased's family for the associated costs of the downtime and cleanup.  The idea is to hope that the suicide-attempter will not want to leave his/her family on the hook and so will choose another way to kill themselves.  That probably does discourage a great many train-jumpers, but not all of them.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand:  A few months ago APD announced that they'd start arresting people trying to cross I-35 because it's so dangerous.  Okay, but I doubt anyone besides the jaywalker ever died from someone crossing I-35.  Is APD going to start arresting drivers who put others' life at risk, by doing things like texting while driving, speeding, failing to maintain 3' for cyclists, or running red lights?  I think we all know the answer.

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#4 2016-12-01 23:32:07

AusTexMurf
Member
From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: How to frame a traffic fatality in a car culture

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#5 2016-12-02 00:41:28

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,168
Website

Re: How to frame a traffic fatality in a car culture

Wow, I've been using that line for years.  Ten years ago I spoke at City Council, bringing up a case in which cyclist Ben Clough died at the hands of a driver who'd run a red light, with the driver paying no fine, doing no jail time, and not even getting a ticket for running the light.  What I said to Council was, "It seems like the best way to avoid getting a ticket for running a red light in Austin is to KILL A BICYCLIST WHILE YOU DO IT."

This was in the context of the council considering reviving the adult helmet law.  My point was, properly prosecute the people who are killing cyclists before you try to place burdens on cyclists.

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