This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Driving + Dallas = Death

Over the last few weeks there have been quite a few bizarre and severe accidents involving cars/trucks/semis on the Dallas highway system. Yesterday, a semi flipped over, causing much spillage of dangerous substances. A large section of freeway heading out of downtown was closed for most of the afternoon. That's right, the semi flipped on to its side. I don't know if it was shaped like a turtle or what, but when those things flip over they have a tendency to stay that way for a while, legs kicking helplessly in the air (actually, there's a picture with that news story that shows exactly how it happened -- the driver must have been going too fast and the truck just flipped from the force of the turn. Why a tanker truck driver doesn't know his own truck well enough to prevent this from happening is beyond my comprehension).

There have been two other "accidents" involving semis in the past two weeks, both involving sensitive cargo that exploded while the truck was in the middle of moving traffic. The worst one happened while the truck was going over a bridge, and that bridge was so damaged by the explosion that the road (which is part of a major thoroughfare, btw) is now closed indefinitely. Other big accidents not involving semis or explosions have rocked the city too -- like the time a teenage girl with no driver's license stole a car and drove it right through the front window of a day care center, injuring several kids and causing many Dallas parents to be even more freaked out than usual. Can you imagine being a kid playing in a day-care center and having a car crash through the front window, striking several of your little playmates, maybe even striking you, with its mean-looking grill flying in through the window at an impossibly fast rate, glass flying everywhere? Yikes.

I don't know what all these accidents say about Dallas, but I will be sure to mention every big one in my brand new project -- Operation: Point Out Accidents. O:POA is a public service I'm providing at no cost because it will have no benefit to anyone.

In other news, don't panic, but the nice family living next door to us was the victim of a home-invasion robbery at gunpoint early last Friday morning. At 4am or so Jill and I woke up to the smell of bacon and someone knocking on that apartment door, which turned out to be the cops. I don't know why the fuzz was knocking on the door, I just know the victims weren't answering. It turns out the family had left the patio door non-deadbolted like idiots (they always seemed to be asking for a burglary -- they would stay up all night and never close their blinds. I don't know if they were nocturnal or what. As our other neighbor pointed out after the whole thing happened, "I know what color their couch is, and I'm not even stalking them." Still, we can't blame the victim, no matter how fun it might be), and two men with shotguns invaded and robbed them. One of the robbers held the wife at gunpoint while the husband was made to drive to an ATM. Their plan failed when the guy was so nervous he failed to get the PIN right three times and the machine took his card. One of the victims had head injuries after being shotgun-whipped, and I haven't seen the family since.

The next night there was some sort of sheriff's deputy or security dude patroling our section of the apartment complex when my wife got home at like 8pm. We haven't seen him since then either. I guess the state of emergency is over, and there is, as they say, nothing to see here. That last time somebody got jacked in our parking lot, they had a complex-wide safety meeting with punch and cookies where cops played a rousing game of blame the victim like they always do around here. The police in this area are like a bunch of modern-day Pontius Pilates, falsely washing their hands of the whole "crime problem" thing so they can sleep at night. This attitude flows down from the Mayor of Dallas (who contends that if people would just be a little smarter around here our nation-leading crime rate would go down) all the way to the cops of Richardson (who contend that if they could just keep those Dallas scum out of town everything would be happy and crime-free). All of them support "neighborhood watches," where ordinary citizens do the cops' job for them by looking out their windows and trying to figure out if those black people in the parking lot are doing anything potentially illegal. At least that's what it seems like to me.

So if you see two black males, about 6' 200lbs, walking around with shotguns in the Dallas or Richardson area, you'd better arrest them, because the cops sure won't.

The thing is, when something like this happens so close you get scared -- you think, "what if this happened to me?" and you know you need to do anything possible to make sure it doesn't happen to you or your loved ones. You start looking around as you get out of your car, making sure there are no unsavory-looking people (of different races, or who are dirty, or who are wearing weird clothes, or even who have excessive beard stubble) around. You lock yourself in your apartment and only come out via the internet or peeking out the window. Instead of a sunny, life-filled world, you see only a world that has the potential to hurt you. Obviously, this cannot go on for very long without driving you completely nuts, and you end up moving further away from the big city just to get away from the crime. Thus you have in every big city the phenomenon of "white flight", which brings with it the urban sprawl and the strip malls and the soccer moms and the mini vans and the city fracturing and the erosion of the tax base and the teenage boredom and the lashing out and the segregation and the "Desperate Housewives." Moving to the crime-free suburbs brings all these soul-maiming things and more, but the people there don't care because they would rather worry about falling into a suburban materialistic malaize than worry about being jacked by someone hiding in the shadows. People can't live where they don't feel safe.

That's it, I'm moving to Frisco, TX -- pop. 33,714 and growing. It's got a huge mall, minor-league baseball, and plenty of gated apartments I can live in without having to discuss neighborhood watch plans with my neighbors. If Frisco were a color, it would be as white as an egg. Clean, pure, new, sparkly, and dull -- just the way I like it.

And no, not even I know if that last paragraph is serious or sarcastic. These are confusing times, ok?


  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger jill said…

    hey mike! there was an overturned semi this morning. southbound 35 i think. made me giddy listening to that traffic report while reading your post. tee hee.

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Brian said… got giddy about a traffic accident? Jeez, what a bitch.

    JK, JK.

    I think this is one of my favorite epth moments of recent weeks:

    "So if you see two black males, about 6' 200lbs, walking around with shotguns in the Dallas or Richardson area, you'd better arrest them, because the cops sure won't."

    PS--Yesterday, I said to someone, "Hey, you Jews...come with me if you want to live." It was awesome.

  • At 2:28 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    Mike, we got the neighborhood watch by my house in late January and I kid you not, days after the signs went up my car (along with 4 others) were broken in to and had things stolen. More recently, my parents friends were over and their car was parked in front of our house. They went to leave at about 10:45 and found two of the windows on there car shot out. And it's not like we live in a bad neighborhood either (Spring Creek and Alpine area). So, since all that has happened I've pretty much decided that it should be called the "Neighborhood Watch Your Shit Get Ruined".

    Another thing is that there are literally only two officers assigned to the neighborhood watch program. Thank you Rockford.


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