The Right to Kill
We’ve come to expect the series of post-incident events that will likely lead to the eventual lack of any real charges against the drivers who hit and killed Jusheem Thorne in a crosswalk on Eastern Parkway last night, if the drivers can even be tracked down.
But what still has the power to shock is the utter disregard for human life demonstrated over and over again by motorists in this city. Thorne’s death is just one extreme case among many, but there are the more mundane moments, too. We’ve all seen a driver speed up to catch a green light, honking his horn as he barrels toward the intersection as if to tell pedestrians who dare find themselves in the crosswalk, “I see you, but if I hit you it’s your own damn fault.” Never mind a little courtesy or cautious driving; a green light clearly means that a driver has the right to kill. “But I had the light,” is a close cousin of “But I didn’t see him!”
A pedestrian who runs down a sidewalk tackling other pedestrians like some kind of amateur linebacker would surely be arrested in minutes and most likely taken for a psychiatric evaluation. But a driver who barrels down the street–or even the sidewalk–without regard for his fellow citizens is just a real New Yorker trying to get somewhere important.
Not all drivers are sociopaths, but it’s only behind the wheel of a car that this kind of sociopathic behavior is culturally accepted. What can we do to change the culture?