OPINION: Don’t Panic, it’s just a car

The intolerance of Seattleites toward car owners is palpable. The best way to respond to ignorance is with education. Click here to read more.

In case this article in The Stranger’s SLOG (marked with “Panic” as the keywords) is not the satire we hope it is…Here is our response.

I, too, have often looked up to see what was making so much racket at Pike Place Market, usually it’s a poorly singing street performer who thinks their rendition of “Come As You Are” by Nirvana will make them infamous pop stars. When a Challenger makes some noise, I only give it the well-deserved Nod Of Approval.

<Note: We are glossing over the fact that there is a picture of a Chevrolet Camaro in the article, rather than that of the aforementioned Dodge Challenger, nor that they intermix the Challenger with the Charger Hellcat. They aren’t car people and we can’t make them see how erroneous this is.>

But, let’s break it down from the top…

“…A good encounter being one that contributes to the strength and maintenance of your bonds.”

You’re right, good encounters strengthen bonds; such as those between car people or those between owner and car. Many enthusiasts believe that their vehicles are part of their identity or that driving is part of who they are as a person. Putting “Pedal to the Metal”, as he so eloquently (aherm..cliche) put it in the first paragraph, gives many a car enthusiast a release of great euphoria.

“The muscle car speed past me and came to a loud stop at a traffic light on Rainier Ave. All of that speed was for nothing.”

No, Charles Mudede, all that speed was not for nothing. All that speed was for the owner of that car’s delight.

Much like many Seattleites enjoy the aroma of extra-frappe, double-shot, sugar-free, extra organic soy cream, caramel Machiatto with a vanilla drizzle (not caramel), the example car owner enjoys the sound of high rpms (revolutions per minute) and the smell of burnt gas and rubber. That’s his prerogative. It’s his right as a free American. He is harming no one and nothing by enjoying the car he paid his hard earned money for (could also be she…).

“As the driver impatiently waited for the light to turn green…” – I’m going to translate this really quick: “As the driver enjoyed the sound of his car being revved…” – Mudede was reminded that this was the same model that was used by a terrorist in Charlottesville. Whether or not it actually was, we don’t know.

Breaking News: Americans Like Dodges

No one with a shred of humanity is being fooled into thinking a guy enjoying his engine’s sound is the same as a murderous terrorist using his vehicle in a way not condoned by the manufacturer or society. But, of course, this is probably from the same group of people that believe all gun owners are maniacal and all fork owners are obese.

Next on the list to take down is Mudede’s use of The Urbanist’s article about Muscle Car as Weapon. Plenty of people have been killed by angry mobs or trampled by Black Friday shoppers; let’s ban pedestrians and all foot traffic at Pike Place Market.

Instead of looking taking a step back to examine why there is over-reaction to a common-place occurrence (among Dodge owners), there is a demand for cars to be banned. Instead of not panicking, there is incitement of panic around vehicles. The purpose of terrorism is to incite terror and oppress, giving into the terror and trying to oppress others means they’re winning.

Breaking News: Anything Can Be A Weapon When Used With Great Violence

The fact that cargo vans and delivery trucks have been used globally more often than this one Dodge has been used within the US escapes the writer. There are hundreds of delivery trucks and cargo vans that make daily deliveries to Pike Place Market stalls; given the global statistics on these vehicles being used as weapons, shouldn’t we ban them first? (NO, I’m not advocating for any vehicle to be banned…)

The Dodge Challenger is less heavy and slower than the Tesla Model X and it’s “Ludicrous Mode” meant for soccer moms late for their child’s practice. There is zero realization that electric motors have instant torque and instant acceleration, unlike those scary gas-powered vehicles with their build-up in powerband. Come on, they sound scary, so therefore they must be so.

BREAKING NEWS: DODGE HAS MORE THAN ONE CHALLENGER; NOT ALL CARS THE SAME

The Dodge Charger Hellcat is not the same car used in the Charlottesville terrorist attacks. It isn’t even the same model, same manufacturer yes, but not the same model. The Hellcat is a rather rare car, not because they’re ungodly expensive, but because they’re not very practical. It’s a very, very thirsty car and is best suited to open roads or tracks.

Furthermore, no one has accused Ford, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu or other vehicles manufacturers of terrorism when terrorists use their vehicles for mass murder. People are using items in a means not intended by the original manufacturer are not the problem of the manufacturer.

The original writer then promotes the tweet of a EV advocate for why cars should be banned at Pike Place. Let alone that the American Muscle Car they pointed out, either in picture or words, weighs less than many EVs and, thus, less latent kinetic energy than EVs. He doesn’t understand that EVs have instant acceleration and torque whereas gas vehicles must lead accelerate to reach the power band.

BREAKING NEWS: PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND SCIENCE!!!

Also, people with disabilities (such as myself) should never be able to park near where they are going. They should never rely on vehicles to get them places, it’s absurd. People who enjoy cruising streets in complete safety should never be able to utilize a street paid for by their taxes and car tabs, it’s unsafe. <This is complete sarcasm, in case it was lost.>

All these EVs go faster than 35mph.

There’s also no reason to go faster than 35; has he never been on I-5 outside of Seattle? Has this person been to Montana, where its 80mph? Would this person drive down the California coast at 35 mph, taking around 3-weeks to traverse the entire thing? Imagine driving from Washington to New York (which my family has done), going the entire 3,500 miles at 35 mph. This common summer road trip would take 1,000 hours or 41 days and 16 hours. This is idiocy at the highest level. I’m sure the rebuttal would be “Why drive when you can fly”, to which my answer is: there is more to America than big cities with airports. Getting out and seeing that will enlighten travelers to many things, including speed limits more than 35 mph.

What is the ‘Extra Speed’ for? Driving outside the city! There’s dangerous, hateful people outside the city. People who drive 45 in a 50, people who use blinkers to indicate direction of travel, people who drive correctly or decide that personal independence and responsibility is better than public transportation’s long travel times to places that aren’t Seattle.

BREAKING NEWS: ADVOCATE CALLS FOR BANNING; CONDEMNS IGNORANCE AND INTOLERANCE

Not all people enjoy the same thing. Try not to get bent out of shape when I say this: Some people really like cars. It’s why there is a $1.7 trillion dollar a year automotive industry, a $39 billion a year aftermarket parts industry, and a $25.8 billion a year automotive racing market; all of which are more than the $20 billion a year coffee industry Seattle is part of or the $6.8 billion a year King County Tourism Industry.

It’s may be difficult understand that EVs are part of all those industries – from Tesla’s selling consumer cars, to aftermarket companies offering mod kits for privately owned Nissan Leafs, to the Formula E teams that are changing the future of technology going into the EVs.

And, so, I issue a challenge to Mr. Charles Mudede: Go to a track and try it. Not a joy ride in the passenger seat, but get behind the wheel and drive fast. Unleash what ever it is you drive/rent in a safe and responsible manner. Get out of your comfort zone and try out the freedoms found in reaching top numbers on the speedometer.

Furthermore, be tolerant of people who don’t have the same hobbies as you do. Those who enjoy cars do so for the vehicles, while others do it for the camaraderie found in gathering with like minded people who enjoy the same things. Sometimes, it’s just about being able to go fast simply because one can.

If you cannot bring yourself to try to be open-minded and tolerant, then stop wondering why people like the muscle cars that have been wildly popular since the 1960s. In return, we car enthusiasts promise not to question why you believe a base Challenger has more latent energy and acceleration than a stock Tesla.

 

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Deanna Isaacs is a syndicated automotive columnist who graduated from the University of Washington's Communication department. She enjoys sports cars, two-seaters and long drives where she can annoy the husband.

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