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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Op-ed: We should stop 'waging a war' on cars | Seattle Times

I don't agree with the short-sighted opinions expressed in this column, but I'm not linking to it to comment on those opinions. Instead, I was disturbed by the language of the column, in particular, its references to the so-called "war on cars."

Granted, car accidents kill and injure too many people; car accidents damage and even destroy buildings; and cars (and other vehicles) cause air and water pollution.

But last time I checked:
  • Gushers of blood don't pollute a field of grain or a barren desert after enemy cars confront one another with hate (and fear) in their eyes.
  • Dropping cars on cities doesn't kill thousands of people, many of them innocent victims.
  • Shrapnel from exploding cars doesn't rip apart the intestines, kidneys, livers and other internal organs of hundreds of people shopping in crowded public markets.  
  • Recruiting and enlisting cars doesn't send mothers and fathers away from their children for months on end--and too often returning home with a missing leg, a missing eye, or missing brain cells. 
Yes, let's stop "waging a war on cars." Let's not dilute the real-life consequences of war on human life by using that word in a "war on cars" or in terms like "war on religion" and even "war on drugs" and "war on women." Undoubtedly, there are reasonable, accurate and even provocative terms to describe those issues in speeches, headlines, editorials and news articles. 

Instead, if there are no peaceful alternatives, let's "wage war" on only countries, terrorist organizations, and tyrants that have invaded the borders of our country and attacked our people, our institutions, and our freedoms. And let's consider, if necessary, waging war on invaders or tyrants who are massacring people in other countries.
If you are interested in the main topic of the Seattle Times column, here are two alternative opinions presented alongside the column in today's newspaper, under the headline, "What's one big fix for frightful traffic?":

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