If It Risks 20 million Lives . . .

  • October 17, 2023

We’ve all heard the evil mantra that a thing is worth imposing on everyone if it “saves even one life.” How about when the thing imposes the risk of death on 20 million people?

Then, apparently, it is worth the risk – imposed on those 20 millions by the handful of people who have acquired the power to do just that.

The 20 million are people who own a GM vehicle equipped with a defective government-mandated air bag that could blow up in their faces. So far, more than “just one life” hasn’t been saved.

At least two have been taken  . . . so far.

“This will happen again,” NHTSA investigator Sharon Yukevich said during a public hearing recently. “A recall of the entire subject population will address this risk.”

But it won’t.

All it would do is decrease the risk imposed on people forced – for all practical purposes – to sit just inches away from an explosive device the government requires the car companies to embed in the steering wheel and dashboard of every new vehicle. There hasn’t been a new vehicle available for sale without an air bag since the mid-1990s, which means almost everyone is de facto obliged to assume the risk of sitting just inches away from the explosive device built into their vehicle’s steering wheel and dashboard.

Also their kids – if they’re not strapped into a “safety” seat in the back. Ever ask yourself why that’s necessary? It’s because the explosive devices the government has forced new vehicle buyers to accept (and pay for) present a risk to children, especially smaller ones. Hence, they must be seated as far away as possible from the “safety” devices the government forces their parents to sit just inches away from.

Put another way, the people who’ve imposed these risks are well aware of them. Just the same as Stalin was aware that it required the breaking of a few eggs to make an omelette. The risks imposed – and the eggs broken – are of little consequence to the Stalins who impose them as they are not the ones who bear them (or get broken, for the sake of the omelette).

It is why the “recall” – in air-fingers quotes to mock the use of this word in this context – does not actually take these risk-imposing vehicles off the road. It does not even allow for the risk-imposing devices the government forced the people who now assume the risk of having to sit just inches away from them to be temporarily disabled until they can be replaced with less-risky (but not risk-free) explosive devices. It merely advises the millions of people who are effectively forced to sit inches away from the explosive devices the government forced them to buy (assuming they wanted to drive) to “schedule an appointment” to get the riskier devices embedded in their vehicle’s steering wheel and dashboard replaced . . . with less risky devices.

Which might take months or even longer given there are 20 million “affected” GM vehicles – equivalent to several million more than the total number of new vehicles sold in the United States annually.

The total number of “affected” vehicles exceeds 52 million – and includes a variety of other makes and models, including various Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles afflicted with defective (i.e., more risky) “inflators” (i.e., the explosive part of the device) made by supplier ARC Automotive.

But don’t worry. NHTSA “estimates” that only one out of every 370,000 air-bag inflators will cause “future issues.”

Future issues. That’s the blase way the people who imposed deadly risk on tens of millions of people style the possibility of having an air bag explode and spew shrapnel into their faces. 

How about fundamental issues?   

Such as respecting people’s right to decide for themselves whether a risk is worth risking? Some people say the risk of an air bag hurting (or killing) someone is slight in the grand scheme of things – this is the breaking-of-eggs to make an omelette argument. And that may be so.

But what gives anyone the right to decide that a risk is “low enough” for you to assume?

The effrontery of this is exacerbated by the duplicity of their primary argument – that if it saves even one life then whatever it is they’re pushing on everyone is worth the associated risks (and costs) that will be imposed on everyone.

Well, the fact of the matter is that it would have saved at least two lives if the people killed by the dangerous devices they were forced to sit inches away from hadn’t been embedded in their vehicles, per the government’s Supplemental Restrain System (SRS) mandate, pushed first by Joan Claybrook back in the ’70s and then by Bob Dole’s wife in the ’80s.

These women claimed the risks were worth assuming – and several people have paid with their lives for it.

So much for if it saves even one life.

If there were any honest intentions behind that mewly phrase, air bags wouldn’t be recalled. They’d be outlawed – as lawn darts were. As leaded gas was.

But “saving lives” has never been the point.

It is merely the excuse.

. . .

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