Monday, August 16, 2010

Mayhem in the Mojave.

I am sure by now that most of you have probably heard about the horrible
accident at an off-road racing event near Lucerne Valley the other night.
A modified Ford Ranger truck flipped over, landing ontop of spectators
and at least 8 people, 1 man in his 30’s and the rest in their 20’s, died on
the spot.

From the news coverage, these events occur at night, to avoid the hot day
time desert sun, and unlike events like the Nascar or Indy races there really
is no protection for the spectators from the vehicles to speak of, although
there are supposed to be signs warning to keep at least 100 feet away. You
add to this the fact that flying trucks and vehicles throw up a huge dust cloud
and you have a prescription for a disaster waiting to happen, and it did.

Growing up in the south, it is a fact of life that there are dirt tracks for oval racing
all over and most usually have hay bales, etc serving as barricades, so this isn’t
just a desert phenomenon. But the danger is always lurking there nonetheless.
Despite that well documented danger, however, people persist in the activity.

I really don’t know how you can regulate this. If the authorities do a major crackdown
the racers will probably move a little farther out into the desert, on a location that
possibly might be in an ACEC or on parkland, etc. Unfortunately, it has been seen
over and over again, damage caused by careless and in some circumstances, intentional
off road vehicles riders. I am referring to an incident near Yucca Valley, I believe,
where folks spent a couple of weekends fixing up an old historic homestead, and the
next weekend, 2 off roaders came and intentionally and deliberately destroyed all
their effort and work.

For sure, a crackdown of major proportions is on the way. No way can the authorities not
respond to 8 young lives snuffed out in such a way. But no matter what form the response
takes, nothing they can do will ever bring back those lives, nor can it undo the irreparable
damage done to those families. Those families will suffer this loss the rest of their days
on this planet.

My position is that there must be more oversight by the authorities. This isn’t some Mad
Max world where anything goes, although it seems that way sometimes. There definitely
has to be some regulation. But these people that go to things like this have to understand
that attending one of these events is like a crap shoot, and you might very well end up
in the wrong place at the right time, and you could be the next one under one of these
vehicles. My advise is to stay as far away from them as you can, if you miss some of the action, at least you got a better chance of staying alive to watch another race. Keep your
kids with you out of the way, or better yet, don’t bring them. They should not have to see such horror at a young age.

I don’t have any answers and I wish this kind of thing didn’t happen. But knowing how
things go in this world, I am sure this won’t be the last such incident we will read about.