Friday, August 15, 2008

Inconsiderate jerkism

There are some people who just ought to be flogged or, at least, publicly humiliated.

Before I launch into that, I should warn you folks that I don't feel well and, when that happens, the smallest thing makes me mad as hell. One of those things that I've dealt with almost every day for the past three years just gigged me to the core this evening -- a traffic jam during my afternoon commute.

I work in Little Rock, Ark., and live about 22 miles southwest in scenic Benton. That ought to be about a 20 minute drive and it is when there's not a wreck that backs up traffic when I'm heading home.

One of the major problems I -- and a lot of other motorists -- encounter on my drive home is that there's almost always a wreck near an area of Little Rock that's near Interstate 430. For those who live in central Arkansas, you probably know exactly the area I'm talking about -- hitting I-30 West from I-430 in the afternoon is dicey because wrecks on Highway 5 are alarmingly common during rush hour.

Why? Because some greedy fatheads decided to build houses in area of town where the road system won't support a lot of traffic. And I'm willing to bet the people responsible for all those subdivisions knew damn well what they were doing just as a five-year-old child knows that 10 gallons of water won't fit in a five-gallon bucket. It only makes sense that shoving a bunch of traffic into an area that can't support it leads to car wrecks, injuries and backed up traffic.

I'm also willing to bet they didn't give a damn about the consequences of their actions. No, all that matters in this world anymore -- seemingly -- is figuring out a way to make a buck. To hell with anything else. So, a lot of us commuters are sitting in a traffic almost every day because a wreck has thrown a wrench into everything while the crumbs who caused that mess are somewhere across town enjoying their profits. Hell, they're probably thinking up new ways to annoy the masses.

The problem, of course, is that society is there are a heck of a lot of amoral, unethical types out there who believe that they can do absolutely anything they want as long as they're not breaking the law. That's about the lowest standard to live by as there's a lot of difference between what's legally right and what's morally right.

And you can't blame the Little Rock Planning Commission for the mess, either. The developers apparently take delight in hiring engineers who have no qualms about dreaming up traffic flow reports that prove that, indeed, you can fit 10 gallons of water in a five-gallon bucket.

"Yes, this subdivision will have virtually no impact on traffic," Amoral Engineer says. "Look! I've got a map of the area with concentric circles on it and some charts with pretty colors on them. That proves it!"

So, the overworked Planning Commission signs off on traffic-jamming project after traffic-jamming project as the people who build things and annoy people cram money in their fat, filthy pockets. Hey, they got paid, so who cares if people who eventually move to the area are lucky to avoid getting in a wreck every day and commuters are delayed? It's all perfectly legal, so that's just fine, isn't it?

If they want to play that way, that's fine. People who go around doing things that they know or should know will annoy large groups of people ought to be held accountable and I've got just the way to do it.

Yes, the Arkansas Criminal Code needs to be amended to include a new crime -- inconsiderate jerkism. You'd have misdemeanor inconsiderate jerkism for mere minor annoyances and the felony charge would apply to people who engage in large scale aggravation.

Separating the inconsiderate jerks from people who actually do care what impact their actions have would be easy. That Arkansas State Trooper who spends most of his afternoon working wrecks in that traffic-congested area knows who the inconsiderate jerks are, yeah? That trooper could pull the trigger that brings the legal system into play. It would work pretty much the same all over the state -- where are people being annoyed and who is the inconsiderate jerk responsible? The police would know the answer to that in a hurry.

Those found guilty of inconsiderate jerkism should have any profits from their obnoxious enterprises confiscated and donated to, say, public education. Oh, and they ought to be publicly flogged on the lawn of the courthouse located in the county where the inconsiderate jerkism took place.

Yes, once that law gets passed in Arkansas, it'll sweep the nation. Inconsiderate jerks lurk everywhere and their turn in the barrel is fast approaching.

6 comments:

FishHawk said...

Okay, now let's hear how you really feel about the situation. Enquiring minds want to know!

By the way, could overzealous real estate promotion be to blame??? (Just a thought.)

Jay W. said...

There is one bright side to $3.50 gallon and up gas-fewer wankers in traffic.
I've always fantasied about having a remote controlled .50 caliber machine turret mounted on the roof of my Honda. If everybody had one, the 'a-hole' in commuter factor would be minimized. You know? Why would cut someone off right before the merge if you knew that they would cut you to ribbons with depleted uranium impregnated .50 caliber lead rounds?
But I digress. I've seen that Michael Douglas movie, Falling Down, so I know *logically* nothing good can come for me in the short run........

The Natural State Hawg said...

fishhawk:

Between you and me? Heck yes overzealous real estate promotion has something to do with it. They didn't build those houses for the benefit of squirrels, after all.

But, officially -- why, no! It was, uh, something else that played into it all...

Ethan

The Natural State Hawg said...

jay w:

No, nothing good can come of that in the long run. Driving through that mess every day almost makes me regret my decision to move to Benton and work in Little Rock.

Now, if any decent jobs open up in Benton...

But who am I kidding?

lala said...

Let's see...I drove through Little Rock in 2006 and 2007. Both times I was stopped in my tracks. You know, the joke is that those that work for the I-40 road crew have the best job security. It seems through NC, TN, AR and OK, they are constantly working on that interstate, every other painful 100 yard section at a time.

Charlotte has had much the same problems. Housing communities (and quite upscale housing I should add) are popping up on the outskirts of the city and spilling over into neighboring county towns. Also, people are wanting to escape the rising crime and so therefore are also looking for safer havens outside of the city-proper.

They are now having problems with, as you stated, the major interstates, back highways and rural back roads weren't built for the higher amount of traffic. Congestion is popping up in places where congestion never used to be.

I think the problem is when these developers go to the city/county leaders to propose a new development, they only giving them the minimum short term assessments. Maybe that's all the city/county requires in the first place, or maybe that's the way the developers get done what they want to get done.

I don't think a 10 year projection is enough anymore. I think it should be 20-25 years at minimum.

This has also been a huge problem with Atlanta, where the city leaders didn't look as far in the future as they needed to look.

I think both sides are to blame. The city/county leaders see higher property taxes and the developers just want theirs upfront.

Either way, it all breaks down to money.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Lala:

Can't disagree with a bit of that! Yes, it all breaks down to money in that city/county leaders want the tax revenue and are, therefore, inclined to give the nod to projects that are supported with even the most minimal traffic impact studies.

Developers, meanwhile, seem to have the attitude that how people get in and out of new subdivisions is their problem. So, we wind up with messes...