Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On criminals, pot holes, and global warming…

On Christmas Day, Vicky and I stayed at home. Vicky put a beautiful pork roast in her slow cooker and settled back with me to enjoy a few movies. As dinner neared, the “slow” part of slow cooking lost its allure and Vicky suggested we go out and pick up some bread, for dipping and for sauce once the roast was done.

We drove down to one of our local stores and, as we pulled into the parking lot, we witnessed a guy drive his truck into a parked car. Then, he backed up and smashed his truck into the car again.

Vicky parked safely away and we decided she’d go pick up the bread while I watched the car. (I didn’t want someone running into our car.) As she left, I watched the guy get out of his truck and look at what he’d done. Then, he drove his truck to a nearby spot, got out, and inspected his damage. Several spectators walked away and I wished I could have been that close because they had probably seen his license plate number. (My angle wasn’t right.) I thought about how I might get the number. I got out of the car and walked around a bit – when I saw Vicky.

She hadn’t gone into the store. She’d stopped at the entrance, where she had a great view of the number, and had called the police. She was giving them all the details! I was going to go to her when I saw the driver get in his truck and drive – I thought he was driving towards Vicky but he took off for the street and drove away.

I gotta hand it to Vicky for her bravery – but I wish she’d have a little more self-preservation, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, Vicky and I agreed to wait for the police. They arrived nearly right away and we both told them what we saw. In minutes, they received word that police caught the guy getting home and we were asked if we could identify him. Vicky and I didn’t hesitate. We rode in the back of separate vehicles (my first time for that) and identified the guy from within the car.

We got back and continued to give our statements. As we did this, we learned that the car that was struck belonged to the sister of one of the store’s supervisors. She was using her sister’s car. This hit awfully close to home because Vicky’s car had died the day before and we were using her sister-in-law’s car. The supervisor had no idea why her car had been struck. Vicky and I were glad we could at least show her that there were people in the world who cared, especially after all the other witnesses had just taken off. It turned out that the driver of the truck was out on parole and no one had any idea why he was hitting the supervisor’s car but it clearly did not look good for him.

Hitting a car is one thing. Hitting is twice and then driving off – another.

Vicky and I talked a lot about cynicism that night and how awful it is that so few actually care about others. This reminded me of the pot holes. The streets in our city have become riddled with potholes of late. This is mostly because voters have so short-sightedly voted for tax cuts and the politicians who support tax cuts that even simple road repair can no longer be done, leaving us with third-world streets.

It made me wonder how we’ll ever get people to care about their future, to take care of things like global warming, when they’re too selfish to pay money to have their roads fixed. The results of global warming and climate change will kill a great deal of us – and if it doesn’t get you, it’ll get your children and theirs and theirs – but if you won’t even help someone being violated on the street, if you won’t even call the cops when some thug is smashing their car into the one somebody borrowed from their sister, if you can’t be bothered to pay for simple things like decent roads or schools… what hope is there?

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