Manslaughter in Boston: Tragedy or Typical?

A Boston man was using his cellular phone for text messages when he drove his Ford Explorer over a 13-year-old boy. The boy was killed.

According to the Boston Globe, the texting driver, who didn’t stop at the scene, didn’t even know he’d run over a human being:

The man accused of killing a 13-year-old boy in a hit-and-run in Taunton told police he was behind the wheel typing a text message on his cellphone when he lost control of the sport utility vehicle and hit what he thought was a mailbox, a prosecutor said today in court.

Craig P. Bigos, 31, told investigators that he did not realize the SUV had struck the boy on the bicycle until he drove back down Poole Street hours later on his way to work at a restaurant, said Bristol County prosecutor Aaron T. Strojny.

Predictably, the Globe quotes a police detective as describing this equally predictable (and certainly not one-time) consequence of the commonplace co-employment of two of corporate capitalism’s core products as “a tragedy.”

It is no such thing. Tragedies strike unexpectedly out of the blue. People running kids over while texting in their SUVs is simply part-and-parcel of our way of life.

The only tragedy involved is how we have been trained to accept the waste and manslaughter involved in this typical event as normal, natural, invisible, unquestionable, just part of the background.

And, of course, one doesn’t have to wonder what the super-urgent texts were about: “Should I get tacos or pizza?” “Should we watch ‘American Idol’ or ‘Dancing With the Stars’ tonight?” “Wazzup!!!!????”

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