Morning Ethics Warm-Up, Remember January 6 Edition…

Well, we all know by now why this date is important: On January 6, 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system was demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. Morse’s invention revolutionized long-distance communication, and also was a catalyst for other important inventions. In ethics history, January 6, 1994 marked the nadir of bad sportsmanship in U.S. sports.

Skater Tonya Harding conspired with her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, to eliminate rival skater Nancy Kerrigan from the competition for the U.S. ice skating championship. Through contacts, Gillooly persuaded  Shane Stant to injure Kerrigan for a fee. Stant stalked to Massachusetts and Detroit, where he hit the skater in the leg with a club and fled. Kerrigan was unable to skate, so Harding won the championship and a place at on the 1994 Olympics women’s skating team. Then the plot fell apart, and the FBI got the whole story from Stant. Gillooly was charged with conspiracy to assault Kerrigan, and made a deal in which he implicated Harding. She claimed she had learned of Gillooly’s role in the attack after the U.S. championships but did not inform authorities. It took a lawsuit to stop the United States Olympic Committee from removing Harding from the team, but Tonya choked and finished 8th, and Kerrigan won a silver medal. Eventually Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder the prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers, but her role in initiating the plot was never proved. Gillooly, a real prince of a guy, cashed in by selling graphic photos of the couple having sex to tabloids. There’s more seedy stuff to this story, but that’s enough.


1. I see the Pope has nothing better to do than to attack dog and cat owners as being “selfish” for preferring to have pets to bestow their love on than children. Having children is indeed a generous act, provided it is done intentionally and responsibly by people with the sense, resources and values to discharge that immense challenge ethically. I know quite a few childless pet owners who seem to have concluded that a dog or cat was all they could handle, and in mots of these cases, I’d say they made the right call. I also know some families with kids that I wouldn’t trust to care for a kitten. Or a guppy.

During a general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis said,

“Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality…a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity… civilization grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers…Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child.”

If there is one thing a Pope, a bishop or a Catholic priest isn’t qualified to talk about, it is having children. Pius XII had a pet goldfinch though, and Pope Leo XIII kept a herd of gazelles, among other animals.

2. Regarding that other Jan.6 event…as part of its Capitol riot spin today, the Times enlisted Linda Qiu, a former “fact-checker” for PolitiFact, the infamously left-biased fact-checking service of the Tampa Bay Times, to debunk “falsehoods” regarding the attack. She performed as expected. Trump said on Fox News that there were “no guns” carried by the mob. There have been three gun charges brought against rioters, Qiu says. She also says that “over 75 defendants have been charged with entering a restricted area with a dangerous or deadly weapon,” meaning clubs, sticks and bear spray, none of which relates to Trump’s gun claim. She also calls a “falsehood” the statement that there were no fatalities during the riot except for Ashlii Babbitt, the unarmed rioter who was shot by a Capitol police officers. Seven fatalities were “tied” to the assault, she says. What does “tied” mean?  Other than Babbitt, two protesters died of heart attacks, one of an accidental overdose, Officer Sicknick died of multiple strokes a day after the attack (and was falsely reported by the times as dying from injuries sustained in the riot, a falsehood repeated multiple times by President Biden). Two other officers killed themselves in the days after the riot, which does not establish causation or a provable “tie,” and two other officers died by suicide six months later.

I’d say “no fatalities” other than the unarmed rioter is accurate.

Then Qui really goes to work trying to disprove “misleading” comparisons between the George Floyd riots and January 6. She begins with a dubious appeal to authority: “One of the things we’ve learned from the Capitol arrests is that there was a small but sizable core of folks who planned what I would describe as lethal violence or attempts at lethal violence. There was no such intent in the Floyd protests,”  Michael Loadenthal, the executive director of the Prosecution Project, is quoted as saying. Qui doesn’t bother to mention the 25 people who died in the Floyd-related protests, nor has anyone tallied subsequent deaths or suicides that occurred from unrelated causes days or months later. Then there is this risible deceit:

More than 17,000 people were arrested in connection to the racial justice protests, according to a tally by The Washington Post. Out of some 2,600 arrests with details about the charge or protester, 582, or about 22 percent, were charged with crimes related to violence or the threat of violence. In other words, 1 in about 4,400 committed a violent crime, assuming the same crime rate across the entire arrestee population.

In comparison, crowd experts and officials have estimated that up to 10,000 people entered the Capitol grounds. Out of the more than 729 arrested so far, 176, or about a quarter, have been charged with crimes related to violence. In other words, at least 1 in 56 committed a violent crime.

 How could Times editors let her get away with that? The whole substance of complaints about the political bias in the Capitol riot arrests and prosecution is the relative lack of action taken against the George Floyd rioters, so the numbers are apples and oranges. Moreover, being charged with a crime does not equate to having committed a crime.

3. Accountability watch. No one can figure out how Virginia could have mishandled the 1-95 jam this week so completely, leaving drivers stuck in the cars in freezing weather for almost 24 hours. No National Guard? No plowed lanes for escape? Outgoing Virginia Governor Ralph Northam knows where the blame lies, though: it’s all the drivers’ fault:

While expressing sympathy for stranded motorists, Northam said more should have heeded warnings to stay off the roads.

“We gave warnings, and people need to pay attention to these warnings, and the less people that are on the highways when these storms hit, the better,” he said. “I feel for these people that are stranded but just want to let them know we’re doing everything we can to get to them in a very challenging situation.”

4. From the Ethics Alarms “When all you have is a hammer…” files: A group of nine black mountain climbers called the Full Circle Everest Expedition will try to climb Mt. Everest this year to expose the racism and “colonial history” embedded in mountaineering. Only one black American has ever reached the summit of  Everest, but the groups aims to “change the narrative” about black mountaineers. “I hear ‘black people don’t do that,’ all the time when I talk about my climbing,” one member of the team, 28-year-old Rosemary Saal, told the Washington Post. “That only perpetuates the stereotypes. It’s important to change the narrative.”

Wow. That will be some accomplishment. I know when I think about systemic racism and its effects, the dearth of black mountaineers who have climbed Mt. Everest immediately leaps to mind.

The average cost of climbing the mountain is around $45,000, but it can be higher. If the objective is to do something constructive for blacks in America, there may be a more wasteful use of about $400,000, but I can’t think of one right now.

5. Welcome to my world...I chose not to allow this comment to be posted (there was also a second one by the same critic of equal quality:



41 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, Remember January 6 Edition…

  1. 2. Fact-checker my backside. She’s a partisan apologist unfairly allowed to occupy a position for which she is clearly, and might I add profoundly, unqualified.

    3. Blaming the victim always works for Democrats. Just don’t try it if you’re a Republican…

    5. Ugh. The obvious lesson here is to not drink and/or do drugs and comment on a blog with a cell phone. Yes, I may be giving him/her way more credit than they are due, but…

    • Again…. Mental health issues or bots. Stable, real people don’t write like that.

      If it’s a mental health issue… I don’t know what you do about it, ignore it. Block it.

      If it’s a bot… The same, really, and there’s nothing saying the two are mutually exclusive.

      If it is a bot however, you have to think about who would have programmed the bot. Either the person programming the bot is a true believer, and also has a mental health issue, or this is a false flag post. People not suffering from mental health issues know how unhinged that looks, and there’s the possibility that this is someone trying to orchestrate a cognitive scale bias shift.

      I honestly don’t know how likely that last option is. I’d like to think the likelihood is low, but that has the frightening implication that all the people making these unhinged rants are actual, hurting, disturbed people.

      • I was always extremely suspect of those attorney ratings. AV and all that stuff. Where do they come from? Who do they talk to?

  2. “I hear ‘black people don’t do that,’ all the time when I talk about my climbing”

    The Venn Diagram between This and Things That Happened are separate circles.

    If it did happen, I’d be curious who says this.

  3. Only one black American has ever reached the summit of Everest, but the groups aims to “change the narrative” about black mountaineers. “I hear ‘black people don’t do that,’ all the time when I talk about my climbing,”

    How will the narrative change if unable to reach the summit with a poor showing, or death and/or severe injury?

      • With a British colonial name like “Everest” and it being, you know, snow white all the time and heteronormative, the mountain is clearly white supremacist, so it is systemically racist and will treat these people of color accordingly. And anyway, aren’t goals and achievement and organization and planning racist things? Are they going to exploit local sherpas? Will the sherpas be diverse and represent all Indians? Muslim or Hindu?

        • H/T to the indefatigable OB…ever sensitive to the plight of the perpetually offended Lefty SnowFLAKE.

          Were there to exist any possible way whatsoever, no matter how much of a stretch, that something might be reconfigured in order to manufacture any slobbering indignation which might p!$$ off the eternally p!$$ed off, he’ll find it!

          We’re not WORTHY

  4. 1. If there is one thing a Pope, a bishop or a Catholic priest isn’t qualified to talk about, it is having children.

    I have to object to this as the fallacy that plagues so many other areas of discourse. Having direct experience of a thing is not necessary to know about it and make moral proclamations about the thing. Yes, I agree that having a hundred people look at my parenting and give me a thousand recommendations (all conflicting, of course) of how to fix what I’m doing wrong is irritating. But just as I don’t have to have had direct experience with murder to know that murder is wrong, and I don’t have to be a woman to argue about the morality of abortion, I don’t have to be married and have children to know that there is a grave danger to Western Civilization as a whole, and other cultures elsewhere, that comes from an unwillingness to have children.

    Never mind, for the moment, the Biblical command to be fruitful and multiply. Not everyone has to have children. And in fact, I believe that people who want to pursue work-intensive careers such as climbing the ladders to become CEOs should, like Catholic priests of the Latin Rite, refrain from marriage and children so they can pursue that vocation. But in general, we do have a problem in the West, at the very least, where we’re more devoted to our hedonism than our children. And this is directed both at couples who don’t want to have to children as well as couples that have children but treat them as an obstacle to all the fun they could be having.

    Again, I want to make clear that when I make this accusation, it is predominantly with myself in mind, looking at all the ways I would rather spend time focused on me rather than on my children. I have four girls now, aged 7, 5, 2 and 4 months. They are a great deal of work. I could work longer hours at my job so that I won’t have to deal with the chaos at home. But I try hard to make sure that I don’t linger late at work, evening know that from the moment I get home until the last child is asleep in bed, I won’t have a single moment where someone isn’t climbing on me, demanding my attention, screaming at me because I said “no” to running around the house wielding my chef’s knife, or needing a diaper changed. I personally want to play some of the new games we picked up over Christmas, or spend more time practicing my viola, or devote myself to writing more (especially commenting at Ethics Alarms!), or reading the massive backlog of books that keeps getting bigger every day. (Though I did finish reading Dark Invasion yesterday, which I picked up at the recommendation of an EA commenter, though I forget who now.) All of these activities would exclude my children, so I have to make the conscious effort to set aside my desires for their benefit.

    As a whole, though, the willingness to set aside our desires for the benefit of others is a virtue in which we need training. The ability to seek the good of others first is not ingrained in us, but is our calling. It is what ultimately fulfills us. Having children is one such means of developing that virtue. Marriage is another means, and in the normal course of things, marriage is oriented toward children. The Catholic Church professes that the link between marriage and children is so vital that one cannot have a valid marriage if the couple expressly intend not to have children. (Being infertile due to age is not an obstacle, and in general, it would be presupposed that an elderly couple would have been open to children if the marriage occurred in earlier years.) In fact, if one physically cannot engage in the activity that brings about children (and yes, I know what activity that is, as I’ve explained to many people when I informed them the last time my wife was pregnant), one cannot get married in the Catholic Church.

    But to circle back to the question of whether or not a Pope, bishop, or priest is qualified to talk about marriage, it also should be taken into consideration that the clergy do not exist in a vacuum. They not only interact with married people and witness what challenges married couples endure, they are also advised by people who are married and know how difficult having children can be. And the Catholic Church has had two thousand years of the best minds working on moral issues pertaining to marriage. That goes back to St. Paul, who was celibate (and proclaimed that explicitly in his epistles) and who dared give, not just advice and recommendations, but commands to married couples. All of this is to say that Pope Francis should not be treated as though his statement has just come out of the blue, but rather is backed by thousands of years of Catholic teaching and tradition, and is in fact in accord with historic Catholic thought.

    • The problem with the Pope’s comment is that it is divorced from the larger concern of the Church. I think that if it were clear that the ultimate goal of sanctification is the establishment of completely balanced humans, then when comparing the “ideal” human construct with existing human flaws and stages of flaws, then it would make a lot more sense to say “humans choosing pets over children are selfish”.

      I think the Pope is making an extremely narrow claim about priorities within an ordered mind but using terms applicable to *everyone*. The pope would have been equally correct with the generalized “humans are selfish”.

      And it’s easy to refute the initial claim as Jack does, comparing a set of humans broken in such a way they have no business having children, yet they do, or with a set of humans broken in such a way that they have no business having children and they acknowledge they shouldn’t have children.

      I gather the Pope is aiming at an objective goal of humanity – that is, a comparison between humans not broken in a way that precludes having children and people within that set choosing pets over children.

      That’s a whole different discussion than merely saying “some people who have children shouldn’t refutes the notion that people who choose pets over children are unbalanced”.

      • I have a hard time seeing the Pope’s comment as couched towards everyone, as you describe, especially when he speaks of “some people”. But then, I will admit that I am coming from a frame of mind that has already reached years ago the conclusion that the Pope is addressing now. There is a growing body of people who view having children as a hindrance to the lifestyle they want to pursue. We live in a culture that is saturated with the message that children are impossibly difficult, impossibly expensive, and having them ruins your life. From that context, I thought it perfectly clear that the Pope was decrying the rise of a problem that is the cultural rejection of fatherhood and motherhood.

        I do agree when you write: “I gather the Pope is aiming at an objective goal of humanity – that is, a comparison between humans not broken in a way that precludes having children and people within that set choosing pets over children. There are sufficiently grave reasons to avoid having another child, even if by “another” we mean the first one. If people prayerfully discern that another child is simply not reasonable, then by all means, they do not need to have another child. But that’s the not the situation the Pope is addressing, and I think he was clear on that. (And yes, I know, Pope Francis can be terribly unclear at times. I just don’t think this is one of them.)

        I also think that there’s a problem that his words are being construed as an attack on cat and dog owners, as though the Pope were stating that having pets were wrong. That, I feel, is a deliberate and unjustified spin on his words. The problem is not in having pets. The problem is not having children out of selfishness. The Pope picks a particular example, of some people who deliberately reject having children and then use pets as their “children”. There’s a deeper issue there, and here I will agree that the Pope does the topic an injustice by not digging much deeper into it. But then, Pope Francis is not a theologian, and I miss the deep, reflective commentary from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

        • It isn’t couched towards everyone. It’s couched within a worldview that believes there is a “healthy balanced person” ideal that all people should be aiming towards.

          But the statement itself excludes a lot of nuance that would explain that.

          • I’ll grant you that, to some extent, but again, I do insist that the Pope is speaking within a framework where a lot of the nuance is already taken for granted. Maybe that’s a deeper issue that needs to be addressed, as well.

              • I actually wouldn’t assume he knows that. Pope Francis seems to me to be the type of person who thinks everyone knows just what he is talking about, and is surprised when he has to backtrack to get everyone onto the same page.

            • Ryan, you highlight a slightly-tangential point here that I think is very important for pastors…in fact, I talked about it with my brother (who is a pastor) yesterday over lunch. It’s the issue of “nuance” and “cliche” in the pulpit. All too often, pastors use phrases and nuance that mean one thing to them and to followers of the faith, but can be easily misinterpreted by others, either newcomers to the faith or those outside it. Pastors (and in this case, the Pope) should be very careful to avoid statements with a lot of “assumed background knowledge” baked in and do a better job of eliminating confusion when talking about theological matters.

              Anyways…I appreciate your insights here and learn a LOT from them, just like I do from everyone else. Carry on!…

    • Ryan Harkins,

      That was exactly the point I was going to make about Jack’s backhanded dismissal of the Pope’s position (and then some).

      The only thing I would add is that it is one thing to decline to have children, the suggestion that pets are somehow a substitute for children is a whole different thing.


      • The latter is more than a suggestion, though, no? It is pretty obvious that for a lot of couples pets are indeed stand-ins for children, who are more expensive, more difficult and less grateful. Many couples admit as much.

  5. On 1…

    I generally allow the faithful to do their own thing, regardless of faith, but this rubbed my fur the wrong way.

    I’d love kids. My boyfriend and I would make great parents. Even if you think that traditional couples would make better parents, which I think I even grant you, we would still be head-and-shoulders above the revolving door of foster families kids are subjected to. But it’s hard to adopt. It’s hard to adopt even when you’re a traditional couple. I know people, good people, that have been declined based on nothing but their credit score. Being an unmarried gay couple makes pressing that big red reject button just that much easier for agencies that seem really hell bent on letting kids stew in the system. And every time the topic comes up, one of the most outspoken proponents of child misery just happens to be the church.

    I’ll accept moralizing out of the Vatican on the topic of the selfishness of having a cat instead of a kid the exact moment they come out in favor of gay adoption…. Which we all know very well that they aren’t going to do. In the meantime; the pope can eat shit.

  6. 2)Excuse me, but can we do some basic math fact checking?

    582 out of 17,000 is approximately 1 out of every 29. Not 1 in 4400. 1 in 4400 would mean there were 2.5 million arrests.

    176 out of 10,000 is approximately 1 out of every 57.

    Or is she just comparing apples to oranges and trying to persuade us they are peaches?

  7. The primary importance of January 6 is that it is Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day, the 12th day of Christmas, which we have always celebrated in my family and which is widely celebrated in much of the Christian world.

    The Guardian article that Jack linked to grossly misrepresents the Pope’s remarks. The Pope did not “attack dog and cat owners for being selfish” and the article deceptively edited the transcript of his remarks to create the impression that he did.

    The Pope delivered a catechism yesterday on the subject of Saint Joseph as the foster father of Jesus, as popes tend to do, especially during Christmas. That led him to a discussion of the nature of parental love and in particular the love of a foster or adoptive father for a child that is not his own biologically. He then spoke about the plight of orphans today and of his belief that the decision to adopt a child is one of the highest forms of love. Then he said:

    And today, with orphanhood, there is a certain selfishness. The other day, I spoke about the demographic winter there is nowadays, in which we see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one – but they have two dogs, two cats…

    The reference to dogs and cats was a throwaway line (as well as a commonplace observation). He was interrupted by laughter and responded:

    Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children. Yes, it’s funny, I understand, but it is the reality.

    In the Pope’s 15-minute address, this was his only mention of pet owners. Then he continued with his prepared remarks:

    And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity.

    He spoke in this vein for a while, obviously referring once again to the widespread demographic trend, unprecedented in human history, that he had been speaking about earlier, not denouncing pet owners in particular as denying fatherhood or motherhood. Then he returned to the topic of orphans, recommended that couples who want children and cannot conceive should consider adoption, and concluded with a prayer:

    May Saint Joseph protect, and give his help to orphans; and may he intercede for couples who wish to have a child.

    Here’s a transcript of the catechism:

    And here’s how the Guardian describes these rather lengthy remarks:

    Pope Francis has suggested that couples who prefer pets to children are selfish.

    Wading into a debate noted for its toxic tone on social media, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics said substituting pets for children “takes away our humanity”.

    During a general audience at the Vatican, he said: “Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality.”

    Pet keeping was “a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”, he said.

    The Guardian’s main quotation omits the fact that the Pope was talking about selfishness in relation to the plight of orphans in need of adoption (indicating the omission with an ellipsis). It also omits the Pope’s reference to his previous homily about demographic collapse (without bothering with an ellipsis to indicate the omission). By these omissions, it creates the false impression that his reference to pets came in much closer proximity to the word, “selfishness,” than it actually. It then changes the wording of his remarks about pets, omitting the ellipsis in the transcript that indicates that the he had been interrupted by laughter, and otherwise changing them to make them more “on the nose.” It then inserted the words “Pet keeping was” in order to create the false impression that his remarks about the widespread demographic turning away from parenthood were a specific attack on pet owners.

    The whole article is a perfect example of how bad faith or incompetent reporting creates a fake controversy out of events and remarks that are in fact entirely innocuous.

    • The Guardian version certainly has been picked up by a lot of media. There are articles challenging the alleged remarks about pets all over.

      I think I’m going to give up on Papal remarks from now on. Between translation issues and inaccurate reporting, it’s nearly impossible to know what he was intending to say without spending more time investigating than whatever issue it warrants.

      • I’ve read a lot of papal remarks over the years and it’s remarkable how little they resemble the newspaper or popular history version of them. Popes tend to talk mostly about religious issues, believe it or not. For example, in the popular imagination, Pope John Paul I was mostly thinking and talking about communism. But actually he spent much, much more time and energy talking about veneration of the Virgin Mary and the spiritual benefits of saying the rosary. I remember reading some remarks of his on the question of whether it is appropriate to give Mary the epithet of Mediatrix with God, as Christ bears the epithet of Mediator with the Father. The Pope remarked that the question had only been proposed within the past century and that it would therefore require many more years of study before a definite answer could be given.

        It’s really hard to find anything to report to the general public from day to day about what the Pope has been saying, which may be why the reporters seize on every crumb they can find.

        • I assume you mean Saint John Paul II, right? John Paul I barely got to say anything about anything before he died. He will go down in history as the William Henry Harrison of popes. Some say he was assassinated because he was a little too close to the doctrine of poverty, but there’s no proof of that. All conspiracy theories aside, you are absolutely right, there is very little that the pope actually says that the press reports.

          The general public and certainly the media are not interested in questions of theology, Christology, or other purely religious matters. A lot of the media have the same attitude toward religion as Richard Dawkins and Craig Stephen Hicks. Frankly the only difference between those two is Hicks never spoke out in favor of pedophilia and Richard Dawkins didn’t kill three people over a parking dispute. However, bring up the questions of war and peace or Central America or capital punishment or birth control or abortion, and suddenly everyone’s ears prick up, and not in a good way. This is just another one of those prick-ears moments.

          In a way, the Pope is on the wrong side of everyone. The libs are happy to have him speak out against the military and war generally, and also against the execution of those poor children of God who fell into bad circumstances, but how dare he, a celibate priest who is probably never even touched a woman, comment on family life, or raising children, or simply opting out of having kids? Who’s he to say that if you to be child-free or even if you opt to be “one and done” that you’re doing it wrong? On the other hand, the conservatives are quite happy to hear him preach against the evils of abortion and the selfish hedonistic life, but they would prefer he zip it when it comes to questions of foreign policies. The elected civil and commissioned military authorities will oversee those questions, thank you very much, we really aren’t interested in the opinions of a cloistered priest.

  8. #2: Notice the sudden outsized concern over sticks and spray cans when no scary black rifles appear to play their assigned roles as the great danger needed to justify ever more regulation.  How does it even happen that thousands of dangerous right-wing yahoos fail to live up to the expectations of the writers at WaPo, NYT, and Bloomberg’s Astroturf anti-gun groups?  Inconceivable!

    THIS ARTICLE (Avoiding 3-link moderation purgatory) contains links to the police reports on the three fools who were arrested on firearms charges.   It’s not very impressive; not one of them even displayed a firearm, much less brandished or fired one.  Only one appears to have actually been on Capitol grounds (though not in the building) at some point, and was discovered by accident as police were clearing the area for curfew.  The other two were also found by chance, one not even getting to town until the seventh.  But they had weapons not registered in DC.  None committed any violent acts.

    #4:  Raise your hand if you’ve ever been aware of any particular “narrative” concerning black mountaineering.

    #5:  Cut him some slack, and save those posts for the national archives.  Likely historic first internet communications Joe has ever attempted on his own.

  9. (3) About that traffic jam, am I the only one puzzled as to how such a thing could happen? Also, what does the government have to do with it? I have lived where the roads can get quite slick in a short period of time. I once drove 20 miles on an interstate so slick that the trucks slid off the road if they stopped (due to the crown in the roads). There was no permanent traffic jam even in that. I drove past several hundred cars in the ditch, but there was no permanent traffic jam. In weather like that, you slow down. When cars get stuck and block traffic (they will), you get out of your car and push them. If they get immediately stuck again, you push them into the ditch because they can’t handle the conditions and they will snag traffic. Why didn’t they push the stuck cars off the road and keep going? If the people in cars weren’t smart enough to figure it out, why didn’t the truck drivers tell them? Tow trucks, relatives, and emergency services can rescue the people who are now in the ditch when conditions improve in a few hours. Yes, that will cause a delay of up to a few hours, but not the insanity that resulted on I-95. You don’t need the government to solve every problem.

    • I am not sure how it happened, either. Yet, last winter the State of Texas and ERCOT failed to take action to winterize the power grid, resulting in state-wide outages. I don’t know how the State of Virginia didn’t have the resources available to salt and clear the roads. It’s not like it never snows in Virginia. It is monumental state government incompetence.


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