Tuesday, March 23, 2010


On March 12th I had Posted about the manic media reaction to the incidents of Toyotas malfunctioning. Since then one gentleman who led police on a high-speed odyssey over California highways after his Prius’s accelerator allegedly jammed (a Prius in a high-speed chase?) became the subject of an investigation (still on-going) as to whether he had made the whole thing up to make a few bucks.

Now comes an incident recently in New York state where a housekeeper ran head-on into a wall with her employers’ Prius and said the vehicle wouldn’t stop when she stomped on the brake pedal.

After investigation, including an examination of the vehicle’s ‘black box’, the local police are now convinced that the housekeeper caused the accident. The ‘box’ indicates that the brake pedal was never depressed and that at the time of the crash the accelerator was pushed to the floor.

To the inquiring mind the possibilities raised by the results raise far more interesting questions than have been answered.

Perhaps this is a case of an individual who made an error for which she would rather not take the consequences taking advantage of one of the country’s ever more frequent trip-wire mania waves created – I would say – by the market-driven exaggerations of 24/7 news and the Pain-tripwires originally laid down by the sob-story TV talk-shows of the 1980s and 1990s.

Or perhaps the hapless housekeeper was sent out by her employers to surf a wave on their behalf; perhaps with an eye to getting some cash to keep up the payments on their other car (a Mercedes or Bentley, perhaps?) and the McMansion.

At any rate, the story only gets more interesting.

The police are not going to charge the housekeeper. “She believes she depressed the brake but that just simply isn’t the case here”, says the local police captain. Ummmmm – so he’s going to go with the fact that since she says she ‘believed’ she depressed the brake, then it’s all OK.

Members of the SO community will feel their whiskers twitching at the mention of ‘belief’ and ‘memory’.

Apparently the police are now going to accept ‘memory’ and ‘belief’ even if the available physical evidence clearly and irrefutably indicates that your story and the provable facts utterly contradict each other.

So her ‘recovered memory’ (and thus her allegation) is proven to be false, but since she reely reely ‘believed’ it, then it’s all OK.

No doubt there has been a local police decision not to get themselves involved in going after a poor minority housekeeper in an upscale PC neighborhood, or going after her possibly ‘connected’ employers. After all, it’s a ‘nice’ town.

And this rather innovative deployment of the ‘recovered memory’ stuff is simply an opportunistic use of whatever ‘cover’ was handy and useful.

You can only wonder what would happen if the housekeeper – on her own or at the behest of her employers – had made a sex-offense allegation, and somehow the allegation had proven to be irrefutably not-so, what the police would do to the ‘believing’ false accuser.

Or you might wonder if this sort of thing has happened in SO cases, with the ‘believer’ either getting off without being held to account or the prosecution figuring they could still surf the SO wave and get the defendant convicted by presenting a lurid enough allegation.

Just another straw in the wind as to how the entire queasy weed-patch of the SO Mania is now wafting its seed to other ‘gardens’ in the great American park … spreading its greasy seedlings into the rich manure of Fear and Ignorance and the civic Immaturity that allows itself to be stampeded not just for a moment, but for 20 long years.

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