There was a fatal accident at a monster truck show in Tacoma, Washington at the beginning of the weekend. A big red truck was spinning around and around in the mud when parts of the truck came off and flew into the audience, striking a 6 year-old boy and killing him.
Still, the show continued. Even after audience members started leaving the arena out of disgust and in fear for their own safety, the monster trucks kept on revving their engines and driving around in the mud. Tacoma officials said that the accident will be investigated, but in the meantime, the exact same show is playing in the exact same arena all weekend long.
It’s a terrible thing for any child to die, but for this boy to die so that oversized trucks can go vroom is a particularly hollow loss. Yet, the monster truck show goes on across America. The effects of having monster-sized trucks on the road have been clearly demonstrated. When people drive big trucks around as a means of individual transportation, day after day, they do much more than their fair share to poison the air, hurt the economy and wreck the climate.
For most of these people, there’s no serious need to have a truck – the vehicles are merely for entertainment value. There is no legal right to entertainment. Government does have a constitutionally-mandated duty to act in the general welfare, however. In a less superficial world, Congress might pass a law requiring a permit to own a truck, dependent upon the ability to prove an actual need for the super-sized vehicle. People could always rent small trucks to move furniture, just as they rent moving vans.
In the real world, however, such legislation would be almost impossible to pass into law. That’s because, in the real world, we value entertainment over the general welfare, and in spite of the tarnished body of American automotive culture, many people still look at driving a truck around as a form of entertainment.
People’s idea of good government has gone away from responsible management and toward a posture of just getting out of the way so that people can do what they like to have a good time.
The show must go on, and there’s still a long line of people waiting to buy tickets.