How long must we continue on this path?

Published on August 23rd, 2020

Ched Proctor

When Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck shared his close encounter with a powerboat, one design champion Ched Proctor reflected on how a societal problem may be at the root of these types of conflicts:

Confronting powerboats while sailing brings to mind an unnerving trend in our society, which is similar to an automobile versus a cyclist or pedestrian. In either case, the operator of the heavy motor powered piece of equipment seems to feel entitled to operate it as if the non-motorized person were an impediment to his progress with no right to be there.

My wife and I have a heightened sensitivity to this sort of incident as a result of the death of our youngest son, Charlie, in a cycling collision. In that case, a driver of an automobile veered head on into him while executing a left turn across the line of traffic and Charlie’s path, resulting in a head-on collision at 30 mph. A very similar crash happened at the same location three weeks later in which the cyclist survived though injured.

Our society encourages the vehicle driver to display power and speed leaving pedestrians, cyclists, and sailors at risk. A lawyer has told us that the driver who killed Charlie will never be charged with anything having to do with his operation of the vehicle or the consequence his negligence caused.

This is similar to the case of the operator of the motorboat that killed Sandra Tartaglino who received a mere $400 fine. Conversely, the driver in fatal car accidents, where one car is clearly in the wrong, receives criminal charges.

For the Scuttlebutt editor, the operator of the motor vessel on San Diego Bay that caused him and his wife great anxiety suffered no consequence in operating the motorized vessel in a threatening way. Worse, our society does not see this as a problem.

We can’t help but wonder if it isn’t coming from the top of our government where the attitude seems to be that the powerful have the right to do as they please with no consideration for the pain and suffering it inflicts on the weaker or less powerful. It is the notion that the individual prevails over community good. How long must we continue on this path?

Editor’s note: For a sampling of other stories we have received, click here.

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