There Is Still Much To Be Done-

“…to reach our ultimate goal of zero deaths on the road!”

I’m not sure that’s an exact quote of the PSA I’ve been meaning to blog about, but it’s as close as hearing it on the radio and remembering I wanted to mention it, then jumping (… all right, rolling rather stiffly) out of bed can get it.

I think it’s a drunk driving PSA.  Doesn’t really matter, because it’s stupid.  There is no way you can get “zero deaths on the road.”  The notion of a government action HAVING that as a goal means one of two things: someone has no sense, or someone realized how to make sure that their job will go on forever.

Maybe I’ve been reading too much Robin McKinley, but this seems awful symbolic: a quest that can never be finished, and inch by inch new rules will be imposed – “optional” to the states, but with the lovely carrot of getting some of the tax dollars from their citizens back in grants – in a vain (I hope) attempt to reach zero on the diminishing returns.   Why do I hope it’s a vain attempt?  Because I can think of two ways to make it work—make sure there is no-one on the roads, and destroy the roads.

Sorry so short, I’m heading back to bed.  Just wanted to point out that the law of diminishing returns is not one that can be ignored while you hope no authority will call you on it.

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14 thoughts on “There Is Still Much To Be Done-”

  1. i hereby call for a 20mph maximum speed limit, strictly enforced.

    if it saves one human life, it will have been worth it.

  2. *laughs* You have the idea, although you have to do it for the children! first– same as the ban on drop-side cribs, which were “associated” with 32 deaths in over a decade. I still remember the expert that actually admitted they don't remove those deaths that are things like “kid jumped out and broke their neck” or “kid strangled on blanket inside of bed” or even “kid was killed because crib was assembled wrong.” (The last is a major complaint against the cribs by “safety experts.”)

    Death sucks, but you can't stop everything!

  3. For God's Sake, Gino:

    Don't give them ideas. :(

    (I meant that as sarcasm but, come to think of it, people who actually think that way may be incapable of coming up with an idea unless someone else suggests it. Damn! This is dangerous!)

  4. Depends on your criteria. If you don't count attacks that occur in other countries, perhaps. Certainly more Americans now die of IEDs than of airplanes. Call that a win for the War on Terror if you like.

  5. John Henry-
    if you think the war on terror began on 9/11, I'm afraid you're on the wrong blog; ditto if you think it's only about lowering deaths on airplanes.

  6. “The War on Terror” as a phrase and as a concept really did begin shortly after 9/11. Lord knows we didn't invade Italy after the Sacco and Vanzetti case.

    And I do realize it's not just about lowering deaths on airplanes; it's largely about blurring the lines between law enforcement and military operations, overspending on foreign wars of aggression, and accreting more and more legal and military power to the Executive branch of our government.

    Here's the thing: 0% crime rates and 0% death rates aren't bad things to strive for. You're likely to be at least partly successful, and combating highway deaths, like combating urban crime, is sort of an ongoing job that will never be finished. There will always be jobs for traffic safety coordinators, just as there will always be jobs for policemen and soldiers.

    That doesn't mean you were wrong that there is something stupid or fishy about the campaign you mentioned, or that I am wrong that there is something equally stupid or fishy about the “War on Terror.”

  7. And I do realize it's not just about lowering deaths on airplanes; it's largely about blurring the lines between law enforcement and military operations, overspending on foreign wars of aggression, and accreting more and more legal and military power to the Executive branch of our government.

    Dang, you really are on the wrong site– you looking for infowars.com ?

    It's about noticing that we have been at war since at least the Khobar Towers bombing, and remembering that there can be wars without a nation.

    Incidentally, when the other side attacks you first? Or pays off those who do? Or violates the terms of the cease fire? Not a war of aggression.

    Here's the thing: 0% crime rates and 0% death rates aren't bad things to strive for.

    They are if you're working with limited resources and without balancing interests.

  8. And yes, there is over-reach pulling power to the executive branch. It's not good, but just because “security” has been used as an excuse does not mean that we are not at war. EVERYTHING is used as an excuse to pull more power to government– easy example, check out the EPA. THAT is the result of going for zero.

  9. Dang, you really are on the wrong site– you looking for infowars.com ?

    I'll take my comments elsewhere if they aren't welcome.

    It's about noticing that we have been at war since at least the Khobar Towers bombing, and remembering that there can be wars without a nation.

    Pretty much the defining difference between war and law enforcement is whether they are waged against criminals or against other nations. A war is a state of armed conflict with a nation; terrorism (unsponsored by other nations) is organized crime and should be fought accordingly.

    Incidentally, when the other side attacks you first? Or pays off those who do? Or violates the terms of the cease fire? Not a war of aggression.

    If another nation commits an act of war (such as sponsoring those who kill Americans or violating the terms of a cease-fire) that is cause for war with that nation.

    [0% crime rates and 0% death rates] are [bad things to strive for] if you're working with limited resources and without balancing interests.

    My goal at work is 0 mistakes and no client dissatisfaction. Given my own limited mental and temporal resources, it doesn't always work out that way, but keeping that as my goal (rather than “only 5% mistakes”) is what keeps me striving for excellence. I suspect most military and police units function much the same way. I doubt any platoon goes into combat with the goal of “only losing 5 men today.” More likely the goal is always a 0% death rate, even if it doesn't always work out that way.

  10. No, war does NOT require a nation. It's a conflict between “groups”– tribal warfare being a rather glaring example. Nations are very much newer than war.

    Law enforcement, on the other hand, deals with breaking laws.

    When you're dealing with a group that breaks the “laws of war,” you can sometimes stop them using law tactics– those who are willing to use unlawful means in war are generally not too picky about following all the civil laws as well.

    See also: Capone. Being a mobster didn't mean he wasn't also a tax-cheat.

    If another nation commits an act of war (such as sponsoring those who kill Americans or violating the terms of a cease-fire) that is cause for war with that nation.

    Thus, not wars of aggression.

    My goal at work is 0 mistakes and no client dissatisfaction.

    That is a personal goal, which should never be mistaken for an official or achievable goal. There's a difference between striving for perfection and acting like it's possible in this world. Institutionalize the notion that perfection is possible and bad things happen.

    . I suspect most military and police units function much the same way.

    Can't speak for the cops, but even the Army isn't that dumb. “Minimize” is the go-to word. Death happens. If you can't figure that out in the military, you're in the wrong line of work.

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