Even as gas and diesel prices soar along with global temperatures, American vehicles continue to get bigger. In my first Air Force job in 1985, I had a friend who drove a classic Ford Bronco. It was a little bigger than a jeep and truly meant for off-road adventures in Colorado where four-wheel drive is a necessity. Nowadays, Ford trucks and SUVs are much more likely to resemble military vehicles like Humvees or even MRAPs. Bigger is better, especially for the truck makers and fossil fuel companies, who profit much more by selling and fueling steroidal trucks than Ford Escorts or hybrids.
But there’s a darker side to these steroidal, quasi-military vehicles on America’s roads, notes Stan Cox today at TomDispatch.com. They’re being used to intimidate, to bully, even to injure and kill people that the drivers of these vehicles don’t like. Typical targets are protesters for the BLM movement or women trying to protect abortion rights. When Dodge named their Ram pickup, I really don’t think they meant you should use it as a battering ram, but that seems to be crude animus motivating more than a few white male drivers today.
This phenomenon isn’t just limited to flyover states like Kansas, where Stan Cox lives. Here in Blue Massachusetts, I recently saw a pickup that was proudly flying a “Fuck Joe Biden” flag, modeled after Trump MAGA flags. Heck, I don’t much like Joe Biden, but I don’t feel the need to mount a giant flag on my vehicle to that effect. I guess I’m just too humble or shy — or sane.
Steroidal trucks are nothing new in America, and I’ve seen plenty with stickers that say “No Fear” or even “Fear This.” (You learn quickly to give these idiots on wheels a wide berth.) But using these trucks to hurt people is truly cowardly. What kind of young men are we producing?
The wars are coming home again, America. Just look around at all the mini-tanks in America’s parking lots and driveways.
A final caution: Beware of bully boys with bull bars, coming soon (though I hope not) to a protest near you. If you stand your ground, they might just run you over — and in some states you’ll be to blame for blocking their way.
So use common sense and get out of their way. You’re not the coward: they are.