|How it appeared in the Statesman, via USA Today|
|Yesterday's early headline on the attack by car|
Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA
But of course a person was driving, and chose the direction and the speed for the car's movement. A person gripped and turned the steering wheel, depressed and held the accelerator, hesitated tensely (or perhaps not) over the brake pedal.* There is reason to think that the action was also intended as an instance of domestic terrorism by a white nationalist.
Here is part of the sequence captured by a local reporter (notwithstanding the LA timestamp on one of the tweets).
|Speeding on the approach, via Twitter|
|Just a moment later, at impact - Daily Progress|
(There are other elements of unfreedom, too: The system of racialized policing with traffic stops and the prison system, the burdensome financial requirements for households and cities and states to service cars, etc. There is a complex network to our autoism and it intersects with other kinds of unfreedom.)
This development of unfreedom is not rare, not accidental. It was part of the way the technology was used to advantage some users of public space at the start. You might remember this clip from 100 years ago last month.
|From last month|
|July 6th, 1914 editorial|
|From 1937 this remains our ideal - via NYRB|
But our prevailing culture of autoism makes attack by car all too easy and available, and tends to mystify the way cars can be weapons, both actively and passively. Already the DA apparently feels second-degree murder is the highest charge that might possibly stick. What would be the similar suite of charges if the weapon had been a gun or bomb? It seems likely the DA would have available a much greater range of charges.
The central problem here is a bad actor, but it is not a problem of a bad actor only. Our whole system of autoism enforces power and advantage, and we do everything we can to make that invisible and seemingly "natural."
Including our newspaper headlines.
* History also has a bitter irony for us. According to the Washington Post, the suspect's "father was killed by a drunk driver a few months before the boy’s birth."
A couple of follow-up items are worth a note.
A Salem memorial and demonstration took place in downtown on the approach to the bridges (itself a contested site, it should be noted).
|Peace Plaza wasn't visible enough|
|There's no driver here! - in the SJ, via USA Today|