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On Friday, November 29, there was a deadly terrorist attack near London Bridge and a deadly car crash on Aurora Avenue. The terrorist attack claimed two lives and injured three people. The car crash claimed two lives and injured two people. The terrorist, Usman Khan, did not survive the attack; the alleged driver, Radalyn King, did survive the crash. Now, if you were on any part of this earth, you certainly heard about the former incident. And if you were in the Seattle area, you might have heard about the latter incident. The crash on Aurora was, even by Seattle standards, a much smaller story than the one about Usman Khan. Yet, if you scanned the past two decades, you will find only one person in Seattle who was killed by an Islamic terrorist (on July 28, 2006). As for those killed by fast cars operated by ordinary citizens? This year on Aurora Avenue alone, six people have been killed. This is just one more deadly Aurora crash in a year that still has a month left in it.

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As you can see, this state of things is completely irrational. The accused, Radalyn King, will exit history as fast as she entered it. Usman Khan's name will be remembered. Indeed, we can imagine the UK and other western societies trying to do something about the pressing threat of terrorism. They will increase surveillance, pass more bans on Muslims, and maybe even launch new wars because of this 28-year-old Khan. But expect the USDOT, the WSDOT, and the SDOT to do squat about what presents a far greater danger to your life.


Radalyn King is in jail today. On Saturday, the King County Prosecutor's office charged her with "two counts of Vehicular Homicide, Felony Hit & Run, and Vehicular Assault," though Radalyn King refused to leave her cell for the court appearance. Today is her bond hearing. Tomorrow, she's scheduled to make an appearance before a judge. She is only 23, according to the SPD. Her future looks pretty bleak at this point. And she, and the pedestrians killed and injured by the car she allegedly drove, have no one to blame for this terrible state of things but their own culture.

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The reason that's higher, and therefore closer to the truth, will not just see the driver and pedestrians in the Aurora crash, but that the driver and pedestrians are entangled in a structure that prioritizes the mobility of cars in all of its transportation decisions and policies. A structure that starves all other options to the automobile. A structure that excludes any acknowledgement of what a car is in reality—4,000 pounds of industrial metal and plastic.

When walking down a street, an American human is around 190 pounds. But when in an automobile, the human assumes the size and weight of a hippo, the most dangerous animal there is. What we can be certain of is that people like King and the victims of the crash on Aurora Avenue were raised in a culture that's structured to do as little as legally possible about the consequences of humans having the destructive power of hippos on crowded city streets.

This is the damage that a 4,000-pound human on a road can do: "The crash took out a power pole, fire hydrant, a speed radar sign, a stop sign, a street sign, and a steel utility pole, among other damage. Seattle City Light was working to install a new power pole Friday night."

Expect the response to this deadly incident to emphasize the condition of the driver (drunk or on meth or what have you) at the moment of the crash, and to be perfectly silent about the culture that conditioned the driver to be in the car at all.