Monday, April 18, 2005

Marla Ruzicka and the Squids

A nasty exchange is going on in the comments at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler under a post (titled Oops...) about Marla Ruzicka, the aid worker who was killed by a car bomb Saturday on her way to Baghdad International Airport. A couple of the (rare) liberal readers are upset that conservatives are being heartless in their reactions to Ruzicka's death.

I'll try to explain my own reaction.

Last week two kids on motorcycles took off when a cop tried to pull them over. They raced down a city street at speeds estimated to be in excess of 100 miles per hour. Another kid, driving a car, made a left turn in their path, seriously injuring one and killing the other. Friends of the motorcycle riders have harassed the kid who was driving the car, claiming that he was at fault for the death. Wrong. Running from police and 100 mph+ in a 35 zone caused the accident. Bad judgment. They were squids, engaging in squidly behavior.

Squids are what we motorcyclists call young, inexperienced riders who endanger themselves and others by reckless antics and street racing. Hollywood has glamorized them lately with movies like Too Fast, Too Furious and Biker Boyz. But the real bikers recognize them for what they are, people too wrapped up in doing their own thing to consider the risks, or the effect on other motorcyclists. Thanks to the squids, most of the pod people (car drivers) regard every motorcyclist as some sort of lunatic with a death wish.

I deeply regret the death of the young rider and cannot imagine the pain his parents are suffering, but I don't condone what he was doing. In fact, I condemn it. He and his buddy (who may be in a wheelchair for life, if he lives) were making things that much harder for the rest of us who enjoy that particular form of transportation. And they got what they could have expected. The Universe often treats stupidity as a capital crime.

And, from my perspective, Marla Ruzicka was a political squid. She probably had good intentions. I doubt that she was a bad person. But her willful and reckless behavior reflects badly on the rest of us here in America, and she has probably prolonged the insurgency that much more by relentlessly blaming everything bad in Iraq and Afghanistan on the United States.

I deeply regret that she died, and I can't imagine what her parents are experiencing, but I don't condone what she was doing. In fact, I condemn it. She was making things that much harder for the rest of us.