Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Choose the Cliff

Uber launched a test of its self-driving cars yesterday in the Bay Area. The local 10 o'clock news had a really long story (for, you know, real news on a local TV station) on it last night that college man and I watched. He mentioned that in his philosophy class he had written a paper about autonomous cars. You know, using what had been learned in class, answering an ageless quandary (updated for modern times):

How is the vehicle programmed to react when faced with the option of plowing into a line of kids causing serious injury and possibly death for a number of them OR having the father/daughter combo in the car go off a cliff?

The college man told us which one he chose based on various schools of thoughts. I'll read his paper later today to see how he got to where he got (or, I guess, how that car landed off that cliff or drove into a bunch of school children).

It was on my mind as I lay in bed last night, thoughts of Sandy Hook still with me on the fourth anniversary of the slaughter of, you got it, a bunch of school children. I didn't get to sleep for quite awhile, mulling over the hypothetical choice amidst the very real choice society has clearly made: we value the lives of that father and daughter over the lives of the school kids. We uphold the individual's rights to do whatever the fuck he wants to and society, and 20 little kids and 6 adults and all who love them, be damned.

Our society is programmed that way when it comes to guns: the individual's desires for easy access to near any weapon imaginable trumps the rest of our desires to live our lives without fear that our precious child will leave the house one morning and never return. To live without fear that another massacre takes place at a movie house or a workplace or a church or coming home from the store a little too late one night with a gallon of milk for the toddler in our house.

I'm truly beginning to believe there is no thing such as "gun sense," my hashtag yesterday. It is all nonsense. Society has a lot to answer for.

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