Hello, again dear readers. You may be surprised to learn that the two activities that Gumshoe tried to avoid when working in the uniform patrol were:
1. Directing traffic at fatal crash scenes. No choice for Gumshoe. You don’t have to like it, but it was your duty to do it Gumshoe!
2. Writing tickets, Gumshoe’s discretion with only warnings to my patrol watch sergeant’s chagrin.
Gumshoe will only address his first dislike and dread, “directing traffic at fatal crash/collision scenes”. Blaaaah!
Some background police schooling is in order kind readers. Gumshoe readily acknowledges the importance and the necessity of maintaining the safe free flow of traffic along the highways and byways of our municipalities. Minor fender-benders; exchange of insurance info and begone. Stalled vehicles, call a tow and begone. No worries and no hassles. Gumshoe smiles. The driving public has to be able to get to where they have to go and the local gendarmes have the duty to get them there safely in a timely manner. Oui! Qui!
God bless pizza delivery guys and gals among others.
But of course, weather conditions (snow, rain, black ice, oil slicks, fog) do inhibit traffic flow. Not to mention wayward cows, death wish rabbits, squirrels, deer, and misguided hitchhikers just to name a few roadway hazards. Did I say, bicyclists? Additionally, road conditions such as never-ending construction and unplanned detours, malfunctioning traffic lights, and signals also played a significant factor getting a cold pizza delivered.
Major hazards are the DUI’s (driving under the influence) or DWI’s (driving while impaired) vehicle operators who have a very serious and deadly impact upon all of us behind the wheel and on the road. Vigilance is the watchword.
Okay, folks, Gumshoe reiterates the list that works against you on the road: weather conditions, road conditions, unknowing itinerant beasts, clueless J-walking pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers texting on cell phones, alcohol/drug-impaired drivers, driver drowsiness, inexperienced drivers as well as drivers who can no longer operate a motor vehicle safely.
All of these factors coupled with the time of day (weekday rush hours) and even the holidays threaten our driving roadway wellbeing. Sadly these proximate causes and contributing factors result in traffic fatalities as well as life-changing injuries for too many innocent victims and suspects. God knows that life is just not always fair and that it is very fragile and fleeting.
The widely used term “traffic accident” is a misnomer. The correct term used in police traffic reports is “traffic crash” or “traffic collision”. Crashes/collisions occur due to driver error and to traffic law violations that were and are preventable. Crashes/collisions are not accidents when the police investigate the proximate cause/s and the contributed factors. These crashes/collisions result in unintended consequences for all parties involved. Some fatal. That’s a fact.
Unsafe speed, unsafe turning, aggressive driving, road rage along DUI lead the top of the list. Now you know. Buckle up!
Okay, Gumshoe’s police traffic schooling class is over folks.
Apart from the aforementioned reasons that demand police traffic control, enforcement, and investigation, Gumshoe developed an “up close in your face” personal reason for disliking and dreading traffic control duties at these fatal crash/collision scenes:
The on the scene “Looky-Loo’s”. Voyeurs of the downright ugliness in all its disgusting forms. The majority of the passing drivers, in either the on-coming or the opposing traffic lanes, would routinely slow down. This was out of safety sake and out of an abundance of caution as one would be correct. Definitely regard for self and others to be sure. However, there were always a few strange motorists who would arbitrarily stop their cars and occasionally get themselves rear-ended. (poetic justice) A pregnant pause due to genuine shock and alarm, nope! A lack of judgment, no way. A sick curiosity? –without any doubt. Perhaps it was their schadenfreude revisited at its worst. Absolutely, in Gumshoe’s opinion.
These deviant drivers appeared to Gumshoe to automatically transform themselves into “looky-loo’s”. On a few occasions, Gumshoe actually witnessed a few of them taking pictures of the carnage. Too bad Gumshoe was not able to grab them. These drivers temporarily underwent a “self-induced zombie hypnotic state” and displayed the “1000 yard, no blinking locked stare”.
This gazed-over-eye stare would not break in spite of the repeated loud shrills from Gumshoe’s officially issued police traffic whistle. Gumshoe’s evil eye nor Gumshoe’s animated and exaggerated arm gestures did not have any effective results upon them either. Frustration at its fullest don’t cha know. Gumshoe had to physically knock with righteous authority on their vehicle windows to shock ‘em back to consciousness and get them the $&!# moving!
“NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS!”, in Gumshoe’s most strong and commanding voice that definitely echoed in their ears if their windows happened to be down.
It was especially shocking and heart-wrenching when Gumshoe saw that these gawking zombie motorists had children passengers inside of their cars, trucks, and minivans. Sometimes, even school bus drivers, as well as church bus drivers, were overcome by this bizarre state of mind and body as audience members to this theater of the macabre. Gumshoe figured that they just forgot about their unsuspecting passengers.
Unfortunately, the child passengers had no choice. They became involuntary eyewitnesses to the mayhem. Their young and unbelieving eyes had captured the fresh and the ugly aftermath of the mutilated bodies; the blood and the gore. Childhood innocence destroyed in a flash! Tears and fears undoubtedly came forth. What was that mommy?
You see folks, in real life, there were too few officers at these scenes to assist and definitely a limited supply of plastic blankets to cover the bodies and the separated parts from the indiscriminate public view.
Gumshoe believes that many a nightmare, as well as an unknown number of night terrors, sprang from the young psyches of these hapless kids who were exposed to these horrid memory snapshots. Bedwetting abounded for some and some experienced wake-up screams that pierced their dreams and the sleeping household.
Gumshoe is sure of this and prays that God will bless every one of them and give them all the peace and comfort they richly deserve.
It seemed to Gumshoe that these few callous happy-go-lucky drivers just wanted to gape at the human carnage and debris with their collective wide opened eyes and with their collective mouths hung agape. Why? Gumshoe would ponder this question, and never really get the chance to ask them. Gumshoe could only speculate.
Maybe, their viewing of these horrendous scenes gave them their own personal (false) sense of well-being? Better them than I resounded in their quiet thoughts? Maybe, it would serve their next topic of conversation with their friends and family? They could proudly boast about being the first ones at the scene of the fatal crash. Hear all about it!
Gumshoe can almost hear them say in their rapid sounding and excited and almost exuberant voices:
“There were flashing emergency lights, the sounds of wailing sirens, bodies were everywhere with the acrid smells of burnt rubber and spilled gasoline!” “I saw it all and that cop just yelled at me to move and he knocked on my car’s window; I’m gonna call his boss and complain!”
They beat out the “Eyewitness News” cameras and crews. “If it bleeds, it leads!” is the news desk editor’s admonishment. Gumshoe surmises that it is also true to some of these obviously “bent” morons as well.
Gumshoe thought, what did these folks gain by having these fatal scenes carved into their memory banks?
Gumshoe thinks that there was no gain to be had, just loss.
Possibly the Rolling Stones got it right in their lyrical laments in their titled song,“Paint it Black”? Listen to the kazoos at the end.
Now, these misguided folks can play along with their own kazoos to the tune as they remembered slowly driving by the scene and looking at the dead and dying among the chaos.
On that sad note folks, Gumshoe asks you to always love the ones who love you and to especially try to love the ones who don’t.
PS: Drive carefully, thoughtfully, and responsibly. No personal nightmares for the kiddies. “Looky-looing” be damned! They can shove those kazoos up their kazoos!