Saturday, January 10, 2015

These Are The Times That Make Us Think About Chaos...



...But are we after all really thinking about ORDER? 

Yesterday we had a brutally cold day after a 3-inch overnight snowfall, and sure enough, we heard in the early afternoon about a 150-vehicle smashup on I-94, over by Kalamazoo.  This morning they've corrected the number of cars and trucks involved: 193 total.  One of the 50 semi trucks involved in the crash was (rather curiously for this time of year) loaded with 44,000 pounds of fireworks.  Needless to say, they caught a spark from somewhere, turning the crash site into a Confetti-bomb, Roman-candle, Catherine-wheel inferno for several hours.  Amazingly, only 1 person died in the fracas.

While all this was going on, a couple of hours east on US-23 pretty close to Ann Arbor, there was a 30-car smashup.  1 person died in that one, too.

While I was Googling for details of these sorry events, what did I find but ANOTHER multiple-vehicle smashup on I-94, almost exactly a year ago, close to Michigan City, Indiana.  The image above is from that crash.  46 vehicles total involved, 15 of them semis.  3 humans and a dog died in that one.

(I keep mentioning the number of semis because I just figure, hey, being crushed to death between 2 semis must be even scarier than being crushed to death between 2 Fiestas.)

This is not to mention the vast number of single-car and smaller multiple-vehicle crashes that must have been going on everywhere the police looked yesterday.  Even I did a 360 on a near-vertical driveway that morning, luckily without hitting anything or even needing a tow truck to get myself back into the game.  (Hey, I wonder what the wait was like yesterday for tow truck service?)

So, people look at an image like the one above and they say, goodness, how chaotic!  NOBODY CAN DENY  the sloppiness that must have gone into the non-planning of this clusterfunk -- unsalted, half-plowed roads travelled by drivers barrel-assing at dangerous speeds while talking on their phones, tailgating as usual.  Even the ones who slowed down for the conditions and kept their eyes glued to the road clearly did not slow down ENOUGH.  Is any excuse good enough here?  We all heard in advance about the temperatures and the snowfall.  We've had pretty minimal winter weather up until now, so there's no reason for them to be unready.  They've had all summer to save up to buy salt, or buckets of gravel, or plows -- really they should have had whatever they needed, right at hand.

When we sit back and do nothing as known dangers come to roost quietly all around us, the same dangers we face every year, are we not setting ourselves up for disaster?  Is that not the essence of order?

Is setting ourselves up for disaster -- INVITING THE VERY CHAOS WE CLAIM TO DREAD SO MUCH -- year after year -- is that not pretty orderly, to the point of being predictable?

I also have to like the echo effect of hearing about a massive multiple-car smashup in Michigan on I-94, almost precisely a year after a massive multiple-car smashup on I-94 at Michigan City.

Just saying.

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