It is not often that we get news out of Austria. Tucked away in the hills of central Europe, Austria borders seven other nations, and residents speak German. As many people live in Austria as live in New York City—about 8 million.
So it became an international news event when an Austrian man killed three people and injured dozens of others, 11 very seriously, in the city of Graz the other day. Witnesses said the man intentionally drove his SUV into a crowd of people at high speed, and when his car came to a stop, he jumped out and began slashing people with a knife. The man is described as a 26-year-old Austrian who was born in Bosnia.
Austrian police immediately denied the man’s attack was due to “fanaticism” and said it was not terrorist-related. National Police Director Josef Klamminger—who apparently moonlights as a psychic or a spiritualist—quickly opined that the incident was due to “a psychosis.”
In Jerusalem last November, a young Palestinian from East Jerusalem rammed his vehicle into a crowd. He then jumped out and attacked people with a metal bar. One person died at the scene, and eight others were rushed to the hospital. Israeli police shot him dead. Just a month before, another Palestinian motorist, also a young man, drove through a train station, killing two people before he was shot dead by Israeli police. Police say these are unquestionably terrorist attacks.
In March 2014, Rashad Owens, 21, crashed his car through a barricade and drove recklessly, at high speed along a crowded street during Austin, Texas’ annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. He killed four people and injured two dozen more. He was said to be intoxicated but was actually fleeing from a traffic stop related to driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Owens has been charged with capital murder and 24 counts of aggravated assault. The capital murder charges could be punishable by the death penalty.
In June 2008, a man named Tomohiro Kato, 25, smashed into a crowd in Tokyo, Japan with a rental truck. He then pulled out a knife and began stabbing bystanders. Three people died, and two were injured in the vehicular assault; four more people died, and eight were slashed with the knife. Kato was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court in 2011, and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Japan four years later.
Assessing and Solving the Problem
The problem is as obvious as the solution. Young men use vehicles to kill. Therefore, young men should have to walk or ride a bicycle or take the bus. Society must demand that they attain the age of 30 before they can drive.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 32,719 people were killed on America’s highways in 2013. The highest U.S. casualty count in the Vietnam War in one year was 16,899 in 1968. That same year, 52,725 people died on America’s highways, and yet there were no mass demonstrations against Ford or General Motors. Nobody gathered at the airport to spit on their executives when they returned from European spa vacations. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report states that in 2013 there were 14,196 homicides in the U.S., of which 8,454 were accomplished with a handgun. Where is the outrage about cars and trucks and America’s aging transportation infrastructure?
My ownership of a firearm is a precious right. My automobile ownership is a state-authorized privilege. I absolutely understand the difference.
My liberal friends love to pass this drivel around on Facebook, and they quite easily work themselves into a bit of frenzy with incorrect information. It takes no effort or commitment to express a “like” on that website. It’s lazy and unworthy of the citizens of a democratic republic.
It seems to me that the answer is obvious: If my cat-loving, save-the-whale demonstrating liberal chums were truly serious about the weeping and wailing they do over lives needlessly lost in America, they would scream for government to make significant investments in public transportation (or ban young men from driving), and we could demonstrably save thousands of lives a year.