Blaming the victim in North Sac hit-and-run death

The problem with being a self-described “advocate” is that you are often in the unfortunate position of having to advocate for your cause even when doing so ignores a more important cause. Case in point: Child’s hit-run death in North Sac spurs school safety warnings (Sac Bee)

Safety advocates sounded a grim reminder to drivers and walkers after Monday’s hit-and-run death of a 4-year-old boy outside a North Sacramento school: Drivers need to be extra cautious in school zones, and walkers need to hold on to little ones when crossing a driveway or parking lot.

Yes, obviously parents and caregivers need to keep their kids safe. But in this case we are talking about a hit-and-run driver who ran over a 4 year old boy in a crosswalk and dragged his body into the street. We’re probably not dealing with a fellow parent who forgot to slow down. I grumble as much as the next grumpy old man about lazy parents. But with a hit-and-run it should not require a Criminal Science degree to place roughly 100% of the blame squarely on the driver. If there is a time to ask questions about what the victim could have done better, it is not the very next morning.

If you’re a reporter, what is your inspiration to call up a walking safety advocacy group to get their spin on this story? Since nothing is known about the driver — other than the fact he fled the horrific scene of a child’s lifeless body he had just run over and dragged into the street — we don’t know why he didn’t stop. I don’t know why we should assume that this could have been prevented by the victim or his family, or the neighborhood, or the school. It seems likely it could only have been prevented by the driver.

And if you’re a “nonprofit community organization working to improve the walking environment in the Sacramento metropolitan region,” and you get a call on day 2 of brutal hit-and-run death of a little boy, do you have to pick up the phone?

Finally, does everyone involved with writing this article have to ignore the fact that a helmet and better school traffic control would have done exactly jack shit to prevent this from happening? Those kinds of safety precautions would help when a child jumps out into traffic and a conscientious driver pulls to an emergency stop, or accidentally bumps a kid in a crosswalk, or when too many parents are piled up in the school drop-off area with kids weaving through drop-off traffic. But none of those things happened here: there is not much grey area in this story.

It seems to me a much more valid angle on this story is that the streets of Sacramento are terribly unsafe, fare more unsafe than they should be.

Not to mention, this article’s focus on the victim plays right into the hands of the Sac Bee Comment Krew:

mickiturney wrote on 12/01/2009 01:33:11 AM:
First of all why is a 4 year old riding a razor across a busy street. Second is the grandmother and father cannot speak english-they cannot read the street signs.

ihatetaxes2 wrote on 12/01/2009 06:33:39 AM:
The grand mother was interviewed on TV and couldn’t speak English and this could have been a factor in the accident. If the driver didn’t know why a wild eyed gibberish old woman was banging on his car, he could have driven off in fear of her.
Never knowing that he ran over the small child.
How was she able to call 911, press 2 for Spanish.
Not being able to speak English has killed more immigrants legal and illegal than anything else.

mickiturney [CoolDMZ sez: A twofer!!] wrote on 12/01/2009 07:43:19 AM:
yep it has nothing to do with that-she could have put a helmet on the child, picked herself up some english skills so she could read literature on helmet laws. Plain and simple-educate your self while you are milking from the California teat.

And so forth.

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Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

6 thoughts on “Blaming the victim in North Sac hit-and-run death”

  1. This is BS. My kid wears a helmet and all the protective gear we can find and I can speak English. I still see crazy idiots all over my own neighborhood (right next to a school!) that freak me out on a daily basis and I am constantly on high alert. They’ll find the driver though, it’s only a matter of time. Loser.

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  2. On the other hand, when affluent teenagers from the foothills are killed while seeing how far their turbo-charged Subaru can drift on a dead man’s curve, all people will talk about is THE ROAD!!! Oh, WHY do we have to have such a DANGEROUS ROAD luring innocent people to their UNWITTING DOOOOOOOOM!!

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  3. This kid and his grandma are NOT in the wrong. I wrote a letter to the Bee’s editor about just this. Apparently drivers are never to blame… like the trees on Fair Oaks near Watt are JUMPING OUT AT CARS and killing people. Please.

    School grounds need to be sacred. Driving adults need to respect the slow zones during school hours and THINK – even on weekends – kids may be there.

    And intentionally running from an accident IN such a zone, should be hugely penalized.

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  4. As a sidenote, the 7 yo brother/witness to the accident (imagine how devastating THAT is!) is in my friend’s class. The family is devastated. They’ve opened a trust fund for the family.

    She tells me it’s
    “Bank of the West in the name of Sergio Vazquez with the account number 1700-134-29”

    Like

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