Opinion: ‘Stupid is as Stupid does’ | PostIndependent.com

Opinion: ‘Stupid is as Stupid does’

Ken Johnson
Free Press Opinion Columnist

Wow. I just saw where 3,600 people died in car crashes because of cell phones last year. That’s nearly 12 percent of the 31,000 who died on our roads in 2013. Oh, and 450,000 more were injured.

Worse, for drugs there are no numbers yet for last year. But in 2010 there were 3,000 deaths from heroin overdose, another 4,000 from cocaine overdose and 16,561 deaths from prescription drugs.

Don’t you think it’s time for Congress to hold a hearing on these terrible events and hold someone responsible? At least go after the phone makers and drug companies?

Surely these deaths are worse than 13 who died in Chevy Cobalt crashes in 10 years. We are in the midst of a feeding frenzy over those 13. We are daily seeing absurd finger-pointing, second guessing and political theater that is flailing the hide from that wretched, unresponsive and uncaring, terrible company called General Motors.

Imagine! That rotten company didn’t start recalling 2.6 million of their cars for 10 years, during which span 13 people died in them. And maybe it was because GM plotted to save 57 cents on bad ignition switches, recklessly sending innocent drivers to their deaths.

Mary Barra is the new GM CEO. A woman. First ever. When the faulty switch problem hit her desk, she ordered a recall of the affected models. And she started a deep internal investigation into why the problem was not fixed back in 2005 when it was first discovered.

Too late of course. No one cares about that compared with the grieving, lawyered-up families of most of those 13 dead. The families showed up in Washington to scowl at her on TV and in the hearing where both representatives and senators relentlessly pummeled her.

Terrific staging for “outraged” public officials who got great TV time for accusing GM of building crappy cars, not caring about their buyers, and deliberately killing 13 of them.

Maybe the most outrageous oaf was California Senator Barbara Boxer, who asked Barra if she had heard of the faulty switches during her previous 33 years at GM. Unhappy with Barra’s answers, Boxer exclaimed “You don’t know anything about anything!”

“You are just like the old GM culture,” she said. “You’re a disgrace to women.”

As Forrest Gump would say, “Stupid is as Stupid does.” And he would not be describing Mary Barra.

You see, despite the public spectacle, nothing came up about the other 400,000 who died in automobile wrecks during those 10 years. Driving is not totally safe. And back in 2005 when the engine went dead, a driver could still steer and brake; it just took muscle because the power steering and power brakes were off.

Get it? Engine dead, no power.

The real target in all this? How about the government wanting to fine GM about $3 billion to punish them. Just like they did to Toyota.

The Wall Street Journal summed it up a couple of weeks ago:

“At least Ms. Barra was treated better than Toyota’s Akio Toyoda during that company’s trial-by-bloviating-Congressman four years ago. But this is understandable. Toyota’s chief labored under the additional burden that the defect Congress was assailing him for was imaginary.”

GJ Free Press columnist Ken Johnson is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.

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