Last week, I was crossing a street at a busy intersection with a dozen other pedestrians when a left-turning snow white SUV came lunging toward us from the opposite direction. The driver, was a young woman, sort of pretty, with nicely-done fake blond hair, a power suit, and her SUV was high end.
When she jolted right up to the line of pedestrians, she gave us a hate expression like she would have preferred to run us over.
I understand where she was coming from. She was probably thinking that, because she was more powerful and dangerous than us, that we should have stayed on the curb and let her do what she wants.
"I'm stronger and more dangerous than you, so you better let me do what I want."
This is a typical driver attitude. But what struck me, at that moment, was that is also the attitude of "rape culture." Women are able to participate in rape culture (in the rapist role) the minute they sink their nails into a leather steering wheel.
Cars became popular in North American cities shortly after WW2. At first, urban dwellers hated them because city streets were full of children playing back then, and cars kept killing them. After many bribes to government officials from car companies, propaganda campaigns, and of course, a major change in childhood behavior... cars took over the street, and kids learned to play in caged-in playgrounds designed by car companies. As cycling to school and other childhood street activities faded into the collective memory, less and less children were crushed by these vehicles ... because no children dared use what were once 'their' streets anymore.
This process of scaring the hell out of children and parents in order to change behaviors is... the very definition of terrorism. That's how cars took over our streets. Through a terror campaign that involved a lot of real death and destruction.
- Jim Garrison, 1969