How We Kill Our Children

skull After yet another school slaughter, the silenced majority of Americans may — in our market-totalitarian cultural and media ecology, it is no easy thing, so don’t bet on it — finally be getting outraged enough to deal some defeats to our gun-nut Know Nothing faction, which has, through the shamelessly pandering of the Republican Party, been running murderously amok for a couple of decades now.

Having said that, let us ponder a related fact that remains unmentioned and unmentionable in our society, yet might be of some interest to the actually sane and ethical: In the United States, the leading killer of young people is — by far — the supposed “freedom machine” known as the automobile.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, in 2016, a total of 3,969 high-school-aged children — kids aged 14-17, that is — died in U.S. car crashes.

For U.S. children aged 0-17, the 2016 car crash death toll was 9,787.

Adopting the biologically modern definition of childhood, which recognizes that the human brain actually reaches full maturity only at about age 25, we might also ask how many individuals aged 0-24 died on U.S. car crashes in 2016. The answer to that question is 24,005. That works out to 66 such deaths per day.

So, 3,969; 9.787; 24,005…and, although such numbers are utterly predictable and built into the very infrastructure of our famous way of life, despite our self-flattering talk about no child being left behind, only the crickets chirp about such satanic digits.

There’s a story to that, of course. Coherent reporting and analysis of the true costs and benefits our cars-first transportation order is, for pretty obvious reasons, anathema in mainstream politics and media. Unfortunately, due to its own fearfulness and vulnerability to long-running propanganda about the masses’ supposed “love affair with the automobile,” what passes for the political left has never yet dared to explain how directly and deeply the reign of the car in America expresses the preferences of our corporate capitalist overclass, not Joe and Jane Nascar.

As a result, the society, whole planet in tow, keeps speeding toward Carmageddon and our children keep paying the ultimate price. Without so much a word, and to almost nobody’s outrage.