When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Plunging Pickups

san-diego-crash-1It was a mass casualty event at the gritty urban park under the Coronado bridge in San Diego.

Four people were killed almost instantly and nine others were injured, authorities said. Two of the injured victims suffered major trauma.

Yikes! What happened?

[A] pickup swerved over a San Diego-CoronadoBridge retaining wall and plunged 60 or more feet onto vendors’ sales booths during a festival in Chicano Park.

The driver was traveling from a northbound lane on Interstate 5 west onto the bridge when he lost control of his GMC pickup about 3:45 p.m. The tan truck with Texas license plates landed steps away from a stage, where the Los Angeles blues-roots band The 44s was in the middle of its performance, witnesses said.

“I saw a truck come right off the freeway. It was going so fast it flew over the stage and landed in front of the stage on a tent, a booth that was set up,” said Chase Dameron, who was about 30 feet away.

Hmmm… we smell the unmistakeable aroma of Judgment Juice™. Are we right?

The driver, who was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, was in shock within seconds of the crash and asked witnesses who rushed to his aid to please contact his commander at a nearby military base.

via 4 dead as pickup plunges off Coronado bridge, lands in Chicano Park – The San Diego Union-Tribune.

san-diego-crash-2The dead were a couple who had participated in a motorcycle rally, and were browsing in a t-shirt vendor’s tent, and the couple operating the concession in the tent. They were killed instantly by the falling truck. The drunken sailor in the truck apparently was not seriously injured, although he was arraigned in the hospital. The nine injured were all expected to recover, although one woman had a compound fracture of the femur; for her, the recovery road will be long.

14 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Plunging Pickups

  1. Kirk

    Sounds like a typical alcohol-enhanced weekend, near any major base. Young men, away from home, and without any set of internal/external social controls. Bad things have a habit of happening, when they’re off-duty.

    I’m of a mind that says that human beings a basically social animals that belong in small bands. We don’t do well, most of us, entirely on our own. Throughout the life-cycle, you need the small community to keep your stupidity in check, especially in the young male. Disconnect them from such, and then fail to properly build a new social band around them, complete with after-duty hours social connections? You’re asking for trouble.

    Time was, the military provided such a milieu. You had senior NCO presence, living in the barracks, with the LT right across the hallway. Your troops didn’t venture off-post by themselves, going out in groups, and the tendency was for the sensible peers to try to rein in the stupidity those small groups got up to. Now? The barracks are hellholes of anomie, without real social connection or community, and the troops are left to sink or swim on their own. A lot of them don’t make it, not having been raised properly, with good inherent internal behavioral controls.

    In the end, I think a lot of our problems with the junior enlisted stem from the fact that we’ve lost the bubble on a lot of this shit, and the feedback loop that would create alternative systems of socialization and control simply doesn’t exist, or it’s so damn slow as to be useless.

    Sociologically, the military has changed so much from the long-time norms that it’s not even funny. Guys of my generation don’t even recognize that fact, even though the bones of the “old ways” were all around us, in the communal open-bay barracks. I’m not at all certain that the idiots who changed all that shit were even aware of what they were doing, as they did it. There was certainly a distinct lack of attention and thought put into the entire issue of “improving quality of life”, while simultaneously ignoring any potential side-effects in terms of what we could term “soldierization”.

  2. rc

    “The drunken sailor in the truck apparently was not seriously injured.”

    You mentioned this in an earlier post, but you are so right…drunks do become rubbery and survive these sorts of catastrophic crashes more often than you would think (and would hope).

    1. Hognose Post author

      Actually, it turns out that he was hospitalized for at least three days (usually that means pretty serious injuries, these days) and arraigned in his hospital bed, so I wasn’t correct in the initial post. After the crash, he was up on his feet and interacting with rescue personnel, but that was perhaps a combination of his drunk rubbery mode, plus shock.

      I do agree that drunks often survive accidents that kill all the sober people in the vehicle they hit. I recall discussing this with college roommates and then, we blamed it on drunks preferring to drive Electra 225s, but there hasn’t been a Buick Electra Deuce-n-a-quarter in 40 years, and drunks are still surviving unsurvivable crashes.

      1. Usexpat

        First time in Mexico we didn’t know not to drive at night. We had a nighttime highway head on with a semi. All five of us lived thanks to that 63 Oldsmobile. I think the Mexican semi driver was amazed at what a hunk of Detroit steel could do to his truck.
        We were all sober and not at fault but still spent a week in jail – till the insurance was paid.
        Simple justice system down there.

  3. John M.

    That is a seriously scary bridge to drive on, and this yahoo didn’t even drop off it at the scariest part.

    More’s the pity that he didn’t: there aren’t many bystanders bobbing around on the bay.

    -John M.

  4. Ernie

    Kirk the Navy has never cohabitated senior NCO’s and Officers with lower enlisted skum. All the way back to wooden ships Chiefs and Officers ate, slept and drank in complete seperation from the lower classes. So in that regard the Navy hasn’t changed for better or worse. Even on base drinking establishments are segregated by rank. E1-E3, Petty officer 3rd through 1st class, Chiefs club, Officers club.

    1. Kirk

      The Navy is a different beast; I’ve got no idea how the hell the nitty-gritty of forming primary groups works, over there. I look at the traditional separation between lower enlisted, petty officers, and Chiefs, and the whole thing looks to me as though it were set up to prevent bonding between the ranks. Obviously, it works for the Navy, and I suspect that there are reasons there that I’d figure out if I’d spent any time on shipboard, but… From the Army perspective, the Navy “way” has always left me a little cold. The huge difference between Chiefs and the mid-ranks? Insane, from my perspective. The few times I interacted with the Navy after I made E-7 just left me disturbed, especially with the enforced separation from my guys. I’m sure there are reasons for it, but the gulf between Chief and other enlisted felt like it was wider than the gap between officer and enlisted, in the Army.

      Which isn’t to say that’s bad, either–Obviously, the tradition wouldn’t exist without reason. It’s just different from my experience and background.

      Looking at it from a standpoint of investigatory forensic organizational anthropology, were there such a discipline, I suspect that such a specialist would conclude that a.) we really have no idea how the hell to “Army”, at a fundamental level, b.) don’t possess a solid theoretical basis for much of the vital underpinnings of it all, down at the primary group level, and c.) ain’t likely to gain that knowledge, the way we’re progressing.

      I’ve been all over the literature I’ve been able to get my hands on, and there’s f**k-all for discussion about the effect of all these brilliant “quality of life” measures we’ve taken, over the years. It is a reality that nobody with a college degree seems to be able to visualize, or even articulate–And, it has effect on unit functions. Case in point: We were “consulted”, which meant that we were allowed to voice our opinions, to be subsequently ignored, about the design of new barracks at North Fort Lewis, back in the early 1990s. Every detail of the design that we pointed out as being unworkable or a mistake? Turned up in the actual construction. The biggest issue was that the buildings were not effectively controllable, in that there was no central access point–It was all open balconies with multiple stairwells granting access. There weren’t individual company areas–It was just one big set of buildings with a space for a Charge of Quarters in one of the day rooms, where the poor bastard on duty didn’t have any way of even maintaining visual overwatch over the building. You can imagine how well that went, when it came to maintaining any sort of after-duty hours social controls on things.

      In the old-style company-sized barracks, the junior NCOs were habituated to dealing with the responsibility and power inherent to managing a company-sized area after duty hours. Chain-of-command backed them; woe be unto the junior enlisted who gave the CQ grief. As well, the usual setup allowed the CQ to actually maintain control over who was in the building, and it was manageable. Things worked.

      Cue the new regime, where the troublemakers often weren’t from your company, and could even come from outside your damn battalion. Now, the CQ was more-or-less powerless, and he spent most of his time hiding out in his isolated office. Charge-of-quarters duty went from being something that built and grew leadership in the junior NCOs to something that they were inherently unable to manage, because of the environment we’d set up. As such, I think it became a positive “leadership demotivator”, because where before you had a taste of power, now they were powerless over what went on, and to a large degree, still held responsible for it. I honestly can’t think of a better recipe for building bad leaders, during peacetime. Responsibility without power to actually be able to control things? That’s the path to madness, and complete apathy in the junior NCOs. And, apathy was what we got–It was easier for them to hide out from shit going bad in the barracks late at night, and then plead ignorance when it got loud or bad enough for the Staff Duty or MPs to notice or get called in for. And, a lot of the time? They were right; the damn CQ office was buried where you couldn’t see anything that was going on. On top of that, they’d only included one such office for an entire battalion-plus-some barracks complex, where before we’d had things broken down into elements of no more than a hundred or so guys in a company area, with two guys on duty to ride herd on them. The “new regime” allowed for only the one CQ team, and then the Battalion Staff Duty guys up at the HQ building that was blocks away. Another brilliant innovation, that–Where you’d been on Staff Duty before, it was in the middle of the Battalion area. You couldn’t miss serious shit going down. The new buildings? LOL… I had a situation happen where the MPs showed up in job lots down at the barracks, and when I called the Battalion guys to ask “WTF???”, they were like “MPs? What MPs?”. And, legitimately, they couldn’t see that there were about ten MP cruisers down at the barracks, or hear the sirens. Since the CQ didn’t call them, they had no idea…

      Utter, rank, arrant idiocy, on the part of the idiots who designed those buildings, and on the part of the senior leaders who allowed that crap to go forward in utter ignorance of how things really worked in the units. We told them, when asked, but nobody wanted to pay attention in the rush to “enhance Quality-of-Life” for the junior enlisted. I’m not sure how much quality of life was to be had, once they had to deal with the resultant chaos in the barracks, either. A lot of my guys who’d lived in the old barracks, and the new ones, were asking if we could figure out a way to go back, because things sucked pretty bad in the new ones, despite all the sexy new features.

      All of that was done in a state of absolute, uncaring ignorance. They came in, built a new environment that we’d have to live in, and completely ignored the environmental effects that the new structures were going to have on the units themselves, as well as the people in them.

      I think some of this same crap is going on in the Navy, these days, talking to my friends who were Navy. One of them is a contractor, now, and his description of current shipboard life is that it’s changed immeasurably, in terms of things like who does the maintenance and day-to-day shipboard cleaning. He’s not at all impressed by the whole “new Navy” stuff, at all–He went off on a huge rant about finding an entire locker of life vests that someone had done a beacon test on, and then put back in the locker with the beacons still turned on. He’d found them on a random walk-thru while he was installing new equipment on the ship, and they’d been sitting there for some six months, all through a deployment, with dead batteries. He was livid about it, but the new Chiefs on the ship were like “What are you gonna do…? There ain’t enough people, and there’s no time to do all the crap you old guys used to do, so… Shit gets missed.”.

      I’m hearing a lot of the same stuff from my friends who are still in the Army. None of whom, I will add, are at all bothered by their impending retirements–They’re all like “After us, it’s a mess… Glad to be going…”.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Most likely. I’m remote at the moment and it will be a while — don’t think I can jailbreak it from my phone.

  5. Billybob

    Don’t know the circumstances here but young enlisted driving and drinking was as common as any other given group.
    What was very bad was the clicks of documented gang members who enlisted then reorganized inside.
    Having never served I probably don’t know the half of it……

  6. Docduracoat

    Hey Chief, you finished checking those life jackets yet?
    Then throw em in the locker
    Ready to count warheads?
    Whatd ya mean you dont check warheads?…
    I only check launchers
    Okay fuggetabouit
    What’s next on the list?

Comments are closed.