Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Technology We Can Live With

          I had a conversation with a kid who made my sandwich at Subway tonight. I’ve seen this kid working there before. He’s fairly new at his job. He was unusually chatty tonight. I guess it’s taken him some time to loosen up enough to initiate a conversation with an older patron. I wasn’t in a conversational frame of mind, but I didn’t want to seem rude.
Anyway he got going about the Lexus automobile model that parallel parks itself. He didn’t think that was a good idea. He was afraid the sensors that enable the car to park itself could malfunction and get him into an accident that wouldn’t be his fault, but for which he would get blamed. He didn’t seem to require any comment from me at that point so I just let him ramble on.
From there he launched into a discussion of the car that slams on the brakes if you are about to have a collision. He didn’t think that was a very good idea either. In fact he thought it was an even worse idea than the self parking thing because it was likely to malfunction at a higher rate of speed than one would be likely to use to park. I couldn’t offer him any argument there either.
Finally he latched on to a thing that’s apparently been reported in the news about a device that would allow the police to disable the cars of fleeing drivers. He thought that was a terrible idea, and stated emphatically that he would never, ever buy a car so equipped.
Here I had an argument because I think that is an excellent idea. It is an idea so good that it ought to be a required addition to the automobiles of everyone who thinks that it is a bad idea. The rest of us, the docile and compliant citizen drivers who think it is a good idea are going to stop when the police tell us to. We don’t need to be disabled. The drivers who think it is a bad idea on the other hand, are precisely the kind of scofflaws who need to be forcibly prevented from leading the police on high speed chases that endanger the lives and property of all the rest of us.
In fact I don’t think that it should be just the police who have the disabling device. Some of the rest of us should get one too. I know for a certainty that I should get one. I said so to the Subway kid. He looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t care. I had an irrefutable argument.
          “How many drivers have you seen just this week,” I asked him, “Where you really, really wanted to disable their ass?”


A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

It all depends on who the police are, right?

Jonah Gibson said...

Well yes, you're right of course. It will always depend on who is doing the disabling, and most of us would rather have it done by trained, professional law enforcement officers than by jack-booted thugs or hormonal teenagers.