I just read the trash periodical that serves as the excuse for a newspaper that we have here in San Francisco, and their piece entitled "Tanker driver in 580 collapse has long criminal record". I'm sorry, but if I'm reading Demian Bulwa's article correctly, he's implying that since the driver of the gasoline tanker truck that crashed and burned down a section of the freeway had been a drug user and most recently convicted of felony possession of heroin 11 years ago, the DMV and TSA somehow failed in there duties to keep this menace off the roads! Give me a fucking break.
Nothing in state law would have prevented Mosqueda -- who had two felony convictions in the 1990s but a clean driving record in recent years -- from receiving the license
Mosqueda also passed a background check, administered by the federal Transportation Security Administration, designed to ensure that those who transport hazardous materials do not pose a threat, Miller said. The crimes of which he had been convicted were not serious or recent enough to disqualify him from driving a truck filled with gasoline, federal officials said.
How shameful. To frame two statements about a person which, in what they say, show that there's no connection between the fact that he used heroin and the fact that he crashed a tanker truck, in a way that conveys the exact opposite is disgraceful.
He also had to receive clearance from the Transportation Security Administration to carry hazardous materials, a requirement under the USA Patriot Act. Not all felony convictions are grounds for disqualification, said agency spokesman Nico Melendez.
Well no shit! What does drug use or burglary or sexual assault or any of the myriad of felonies have to do with your ability to drive a tanker truck? Are people with felony heroin possession charges honestly a statistically greater threat to getting in a car accident than those without? And just so it's clear :
The CHP said there is no evidence Mosqueda was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Am I supposed to be outraged that people with an 11 year old drug conviction on their record are allowed to drive tankers?
State Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who chairs the Assembly's Transportation Committee and the joint committee on emergency services and homeland security, said Monday that he would push the state to adopt higher standards for drivers of hazardous materials.
"This is a real wake-up call," Nava said. "This is another example of how the federal government really does not have the safety and security of its citizens as its first priority. If this driver were hauling chicken coops, we would not have the kind of problem that we have. But he's driving gasoline."
The whole article is like this. Implying some kind of connection without stating it (in that there's not much to state cause there is no connection). I'm so bored with this human need to blame. I was thinking the other day about the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and how refreshing and respectful the media coverage was as compared to every other event. There were some attempts to talk about how there should have been some kind of global Tsunami warning system in place to warn all of the countries in the Indian Ocean, but primarily it was just a tragedy. The media reported on how bad it was and what needed to be done to fix everything, but there was a dearth of blame (and rightly so). But here again we have some event that occurs and it's back to deciding where we went wrong.
Let me clarify something that after reading this shabby piece of reporting one may be forgetting. This was an accident. This guy was speeding and crashed his tanker truck, which miraculously ruptured (gasoline tankers don't actually do this despite what you see in the movies) and miraculously slid directly under a freeway suspended above it. Was he negligent for speeding in a tanker truck, sure! Was the accident due to the fact that 14 years ago he was caught possessing, drum roll, a syringe? I'm sorry but I just don't buy it. And Bulwa doesn't even have the balls to make this assertion (in that it's asinine). Instead he pussyfoots around trying to shamefully imply what he can't actually report on.
Thank you San Francisco Chronicle for your consistency in embarrassing shabbiness.
Update : July 14, 2007
This just gets better. In Today's chron it turns out the driver wasn't actually even speeding. So now Mr. Bulwa here attacked this guy for what the the CHP has definitively decided was an accident. The head of the CHP enforcement services says :
He was maintaining a speed of 62 miles per hour, which is greater than the speed limit for commercial vehicles there of 55, but it is not excessive speed by any means at that time of the morning with no traffic out on the roadway.
Next time I'm bent out of shape because it takes me more time to commute into work at my shitty newspaper, I'll try to entertain my readership by assassinating someone's character. Seems easy enough.