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Not long ago my brother and I were driving down Main St on a Friday night We were pulled over by a police officer The officer had time only to ask us for our drivers licences and registration before we heard the sickening crunch of twisted metal It seemed that a young man who was driving a lifted Ford pickup had been mesmerized by the flashing red and blue lights on the patrol car Failing to look where he was going he crashed into the rear of the four door car stopped at the light It was obvious that he was rubber necking and paying more attention to us than the road With a frustrated growl the police officer let us go As we drove away we saw the young man standing outside his vehicle wearing a foolish grin shrugging his shoulders as the police officer spoke to him I sat amazed at the sheer stupidity of the driver and his amusement in a situation that should be somber or at least serious I read an article about two years ago in which a US Marines plane on a low-level flying mission in Italy cut the wire supporting a cable car on its way down from a ski resort on Cermis Mountain All twenty passengers including the cable car operator perished when the gondola plunged to the mountain below Each of the four men manning the plane was initially charged with negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter but only the two men actually flying the plane were court martialed Over the course of the trial it was found that the plane was flying at speeds more than 500 miles per hour faster than military regulations allow Additionally it came out in the trial that the military-issued map that the pilots were using did not show the cable car With a decision that angered the Italian government both men were acquitted They were later court martialed
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