Roadkill and the American Way

My dog licked a squashed roadkill turtle yesterday. It took me a minute to figure out what it was that was so delicious to her. Usually anything she’s eating on the side of the road is not something delicious to me, but I couldn’t even identify the thing as a turtle at first.

Roadkill is one of the most tragic things. We read roadkill, whatever poor creature got it, as standard collateral damage in life. It’s only standard because we think we need to get somewhere right now. It’s also standard because we are used to seeing it from a moving vehicle where you can’t smell it or see it too close (or sample it, if you are my dog). We’re insulated from the animals lying by the side of the road, until it’s a deer or moose, and then we’re only worried because our car will be totaled. It’s not about the significant injuries to the animal.

If someone hit that turtle on, say, a bike, it’d be the bicyclist hurting on the side of the road. But that poor turtle didn’t stand a chance against one of the local Priuses or Subarus who regularly come speeding around the dirt road.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Roadkill and the American Way

  1. Hey, anything that happens with a car, whether to man, woman or beast is an “accident”, right? Law enforcement/the judicial system both understand, even when it’s people who get squished–look at the petition the death of a chicago bicyclist has necessitated: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/no-plea-bargain-for-ryne?source=c.em.cp&r_by=522621 .

    The least we can do is stop calling this vehicular mayhem ‘accidents’, and call them the crashes and squishings that they are. Perhaps different language will help us figure out that it’s speed that kills, and our whole speed-driven life–fast food, fast money, fast transportation–is also killing us.

  2. Sadly, I’ve heard of several studies done that suggest people go out of their way to run over turtles or maybe any kind of animal, but the studies were usually done for turtles. It breaks my heart.

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