The killers in our midst

I think shocking tragedies are often a good opportunity to highlight the ordinariness of, to quote Donald Trump, American carnage. There is something uniquely shocking about a crazed killer preying on unsuspecting children in a school, for instance, and yet our country’s far-too-frequent mass shootings claim far fewer lives than the types of gun violence that garner much less attention.

In Austin, people are justifiably horrified by the recent spate of bombings that have already killed two and injured four.

But hopefully, these events won’t distract us from the things that consistently end lives prematurely in the community. For instance: car accidents. Last year was considered a big success because only 76 people died in accidents on Austin roads, down from 79 in 2016 and the all-time high of 102 in 2015.

I recall an article I wrote last year for the Austin Monitor:

Heyden Black Walker, with Reconnect Austin, described the “human cost” of Austin’s car-dependent transportation system: scores of traffic fatalities each year and hundreds of life-altering injuries.

“The single most dangerous thing you can do with your child,” she said, “is drive him in a car.”

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