Make haste when late. Many times, there’s no lateness, only the now reckless rush to get from one point to the other in the quickest possible time; the heavy surge that comes from adrenaline-pouring accelerating. Thrill brings tragedy, the fatalities of driver follies.
Speeding. More than about sirens. About discipline. Whether for airport or for seniors or for self, cautions outlive caskets. With leaders, there is dignified pace, almost solemn crawling. Going for them or after finished with them conveys an appallingly, frighteningly dangerous pace. This is the new Guyana norm. It is for everything and to everywhere, even within a single city block. Hospital and court do not matter.
Someone misjudged Friendship for South Dakota. To be found disagreeable, perhaps. But that five are dead is beyond such human post-mortems and the wisdom that comes from them. If we leave late, we will arrive late or not at all. When we leave late, then there is only space to floor the gas pedal. It’s as easy as that; and as final, too.
If there is late departure, then speeding makes up for lost time. That’s how the reasoning goes, which by itself has some basis. But that is only as far as matters go; for making up for lost time could give an eternity of time when metal meets metal, and metal mauls man in full bodied collision.
Invariably, man is made to meet his Maker in a rather untimely basis. It is merely a matter of the odds before mayhem and serious maiming results; life reduces to a roll of the dice. How can it be otherwise, given what prevails in broad daylight, as well as daily, if not hourly?
In general, police drivers can be questioned for nonchalance in handling the property of the state. Another vehicle for the junkyard. They can be criticised fairly for recklessness and arrogance. Just observe them in more than a few places. Speed merchants are selling injury for those unlucky to be in the way. Breakneck speeds. Where are they going? To a serious accident scene? To a grave crime situation with a severely injured member of the public or colleague?
From all indications, it is rarely one of those life-altering, possibly pardonable, set of circumstances, which necessitates maximum speed ahead. Yet lots of that have been observed. What is the justification? What can be, when there is this menacing that compels the men and women traversing in torturous traffic to take evasive action?
There are procedures somewhere meaning something, we have heard many times before. There is training. There is trusting with an expensive asset, a powerful one that could so effortlessly become a weapon of some destructive capacity. Something is not registering. That is, other than on the speedometer. Give it more gas.
This is where the rubber reaches the road: trusting to engineering, physics, roadway integrity, personal skills (including the oncoming) is one road to hell.
Then there are other kinds of drivers. Private and official. A vehicle transforms into a viceroy; kings of the road, they are. Peasants clear the way, siren or no siren. Official drivers are in the thick of this crowd, not all of them, but more than enough of them.
What is going on? What is going on in the head that makes men lose their heads, while taking those of others with them?
Unsurprisingly, it is now automatic and comforting to blame drivers, taxis, minibuses, trucks, youths, and the rest not accounted for, whether fender benders or fatalities. There is much accuracy to such contentions. But there are others, who are not the innocents made out to be.
Pedestrians are all over the road. In fact, they are the road. So there! A different breed of road hogs meandering like pigs. In countless daily instances, drivers are forced to navigate around them in narrow or crowded confines. Get used to it, as that wayward pedestrian programme is here to stay. It has metamorphosed into another constitutional freedom ferociously guarded.
Without casting one iota of blame at anyone, drivers, particularly police ones, must not use the roads like getaway drivers. A recipe for disaster, like Friendship, is the result.
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