The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!

1Dec/130

How is Paul Walker’s (Fast and Furious) death a tragedy*?

Actor Paul Walker of the Fast and Furious movie franchise and his friend and business partner Roger Rodas died the other day and the world seems to be mourning the loss as a horrific, unexpected, unfair tragedy, but I'm struggling to see it as they do.

Paul Walker and the Fast and Furious franchise celebrated street racing and tuning culture, directly and indirectly encouraging its growth in recent years.  Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were business partners in a tuning, custom car company, which surely supplied sweeter rides to many people who would then drive them at excessive speeds on public roads. People illegally street racing, even if it's only racing against themselves, arrogantly put others lives in serious danger for their own pleasure. Paul Walker and Roger Rodas died in a car meant for racing going (we can safely assume based on the destruction of the car) well above the speed limit on a public road. It is a horrible thing when anyone dies, but I'm struggling to understand how this situation is extraordinarily tragic.  He and the driver made a conscious choice, as they had no doubt many other times before, to put others' lives at risk by driving at excessive speed on a public road.  They rolled the dice, and this time they lost.  It feels more predictable than tragic.

Paul Walker may have been in many respects a wonderful human being, a kind and generous human being, doing more good for the world than bad, but I find it a little disturbing that so many who celebrate him and bemoan the event seem to fail to recognize the cause-and-effect nature of the accident, and how much worse it could have easily been if they had taken others' lives with them.  I don't expect people in their mini Twitter eulogies/etc. to remark about this, necessarily, but in the dozens of news site comments I've read I've not seen a single person seem to make the connection, instead I see people saying things like, "If Paul had been driving I bet this wouldn't have happened, he was a great driver."  and "If they'd been driving XYZ car instead this wouldn't have happened."  Surely a lot of people are missing the point.

Imagine if this had instead been a heroin overdose death of a great actor whose professional life involved making six movies celebrating the wondrous joys of heroin and drug culture and co-owning a company that sold drug paraphernalia.  People would mourn the loss of the actor but not fail to notice the pretty direct cause-and-effect relationship at work in the death.

If you drive recklessly and/or at excessive speeds on public roads you are selfishly risking other people's lives and your own for your own kicks.  You should be jailed until and unless you can abide by the laws and pose a no-more-than-normal risk to others.

^ Q

* I mean "tragedy" in a sense greater than that attached to anyone's death; all deaths being tragic.

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