Smoke on the Track
I’ll start with the typical disclaimer – I am NOT a NASCAR fan – which some will take to mean that nothing that I have to say matters, but two points of order, I AM a racing fan, just not NASCAR as I prefer open wheel and particularly F1. Secondly I am the eldest son of a former drag race driver and Indy Car fan, so believe me, I have been exposed to the sport at every level.
Having said that, let’s dissect the whole Tony Stewart incident which left a 17 year old driver dead on a dirt sprint car race track on Saturday night and the whole world abuzz over what happened and why it happened. You CAN SEE THE VIDEO HERE – and I do not recommend it for family viewing – it appears that Stewart bumps Wards car, spinning him out and leaving his car disabled on the outside edge of the track. The camera remains focused on Ward as he exits his car, moves directly onto the track and begins to gesture in what is an aggressive manner at a car out out sight of the camera. When that car – driven by Tony Stewart – reenters the view, it appears to swerve towards Ward, then away, clipping him and sending him flying. As we now know, Ward is now dead as a result of being hit by the car.
Was it on purpose?
Does it even matter?
Think about this for a second. Tony Stewart is NASCAR Champion and, at least in theory, an adult. Ward is effectively a beginner and was just 17 years old. I am not in any way excusing the getting out of his car (mistake 1), walking onto the center of the track (mistake 2) and gesturing in an aggressive manner (mistake 3) by Ward, all of which is clearly visible on the tape. My questions revolve around should not Tony Stewart been more of the grown up and professional in this incident? Wouldn’t somebody who has won NASCAR Championships know that there is danger in high speed horseplay? What would posses him to make such a move as he appears to make on tape? Is the move made by Stewart intentional or reactionary on a dimly lit track? Does not having an intention to “show up” another driver excuse the fact that the gesture was deadly? Does Stewarts’ legendary temper work against him when the average person watches the tape?
Is Tony Stewart responsible for his actions, regardless of intention?
How would like to get a text from one of your good friends who is just back from Africa that he needs to tell you something, you make a joke about him having Ebola, and then you find out that HE IS IN THE HOSPITAL FOR EBOLA? The story is cool because as it turns out the guy did not have the Ebola, but what happens if the Ebola mutates and starts taking us down? How would you react to your best friend texting you that he/she/it has the Ebola?
Even more low-skill, low wage jobs are going the way of the Dodo Bird. Now EVEN NUT SORTERS CAN BE REPLACED by machines. Do you still believe that raising the minimum wage is going to be the long term solution to economic problems and unemployment?
Did you ever imagine that you would live in a world where the definition of “consenting adults” would REQUIRE LEGISLATION FROM SACRAMENTO? Well, you do now, although in fairness, the Legislature is using the threat of withholding money from colleges to force the colleges to define it for them. Hence the “Yes means Yes” PSA campaign.
I’m not sure which is more concerning: that our State AG has $3.5 Million in her re-election chest or that she wrote a 123 PAGE BOOK ABOUT THE DANGERS OF TRUANCY. Just imagine if she would put that kind of effort into actually enforcing our laws, you know, like enforcing the Death Penalty…