On Carrs and Camels (Part 1)
What is with large piles of shattered glass in the middle of the road?
P. County, where Blerkins World Headquarters is located, is one of the most densely packed counties in our state. It is relatively narrow and an over-abundance of traffic, largely confined to two central arteries, is routinely congested. Regrettably, traffic accidents are fairly common.
The thing about car crashes is that they make a mess, shattered glass being a particular hazard. All sensible people recognize the existential hazard that broken glass presents to an inflated tire. You might think that the same officials responsible for clearing the accident and/or the administration of the highway itself, would see it as a central concern the clearing of large piles of shattered glass from the highway.
You would be wrong.
Although the cars involved in the accident are cleared, neither the emergency crews, various responders, or municipal agencies take any responsibility for clearing the glass. They literally leave it right where it fell. They don’t even sweep it to the side of the road. When enough cars have driven through that the glass, it will eventually be swept aside.
I can only imagine that this is some kind of third-wave feminist declaration. They’ve broken the glass ceiling and they want us all to know it. It’s symbolic of the sort of destruction they’re leaving behind. We’ll all be pulverized glass when these Marxists get through with us.
Against this social tyranny, I must take a stand. Since it seems the wisdom of clearing broken glass off the road is not self-evident to those in power, I offer three principled arguments and a practical suggestion.
First, the government has an interest in public health and safety; and to the extent that any preventable hazard presents itself on the public roads, the state is obligated to take reasonable steps to remove it. Broken glass almost invites serious accidents at locations already known to be prone to accidents (as demonstrated by the presence of the broken glass), and its removal should therefore receive greater priority.
Second, the broken glass, left alone, will eventually be washed into the storm drains until it eventually makes its way into our streams and the gulf, where it becomes food for wildlife. Underwater, it probably looks shiny and appetizing. Just imagine how many manatees have probably been struck with boats and perished because of the “crash karma” which attends this broken glass. Moreover, if I went and just dumped that same broken glass into protected waters, I would doubtless be charged with a crime and fined. Why should our transportation officials be treated differently? Shouldn’t out government officials be held to a higher, not lower standard?
Finally, what about all the small barefooted children and puppies? How are they supposed to cross the road safely?
Honestly, how hard is it to have a guy in a pick-up truck – complete with broom, dustpan, and garbage pail – to drive around the county and sweep up after accidents. It’s not like we don’t know where these accidents happen, since the emergency response folks track, radio, and record this information carefully. If they can dispatch an ambulance, why can’t they also dispatch a highway janitor?
We can be confident that we can find someone who would be interested in the work, since this position does not require an advanced degree or certification. Lord knows we pay enough in taxes, including an additional 1% sales tax on nearly everything; so surely there must be funds available for such an undertaking. Perhaps the insurance companies should be billed for “municipal clean-up” which would subsidize the cost of such a crew and make it revenue neutral for the tax payer.
In a bygone age, it was customary for the drivers of horse-drawn wagons and camel trains to leave behind the animal droppings where they fell. Today we (rightly) see this as a loathsome and discourteous practice. Has so little changed? As one reader questioned, "Are we are clinging to the last shreds of sanity as society quickly descends into anarchy?"
People want to think that they can control the climate. Seriously? They can’t even get a giant pile of broken glass swept up. Like P.J. O’Rouke wrote, “Everyone wants to save the earth; no one wants to help mom do the dishes.”