After the terrorist attack that took place in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday that left eight people dead and a dozen others wounded, folks on both sides of the aisle are trying to look for policies that will help curb the rise of terrorism in the West.
President Trump and his administration are looking to end the diversity visa lottery after it was revealed that a 29-year-old Uzbeki immigrant named Sayfullo Saipov drove his rented truck onto a bike path targeting civilians in an ISIS-inspired attack. BuzzFeed, on the other hand, ran a story on Friday suggesting that the real problem is cars in big cities.
"A gun lobbyist would typically step in right about now to ask whether those who demand gun control after mass shootings also want to ban cars after events like this week. To which I say: Hell yes," Jessie Singer, who is the senior editor of Transportation Alternatives, a biking, walking, and public transit advocacy group in New York City, wrote. "Cars don’t belong on the streets of big cities, and we should do everything in our power to get rid of them."
According to the National Safety Council, over 40,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016. Compare that to the ~33,000 Americans who died at the hands of firearms, according to the latest Centers for Disease & Control study in 2014.
There's no doubt that too many Americans have died from motor vehicle accidents. However, completely ditching cars in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago would not only cripple their respective economies, but it would also signal to the terrorists that they have won.
In many major cities, the cost of living is far too high, which forces a lot of people to live in suburbs. Many metropolitan areas don't have the infrastructure to rely on public transit in the forms of trains and buses, so commuting into the city is especially tough if you don't own or have access to a car.
But these are tangential to actually addressing terrorism. Banning cars in cities won't stop terrorist attacks. The only end result is the growing threat against public transit systems that people without cars have to rely on. If more people start using public transit, it would become an even more attractive target to groups like the Islamic State of al Qaeda to launch a suicide bombing.
American cities could start banning cars from city centers like cities are doing in Europe and Asia, but that's just putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. Of course, cities can build more barriers between roads and pedestrian areas in cities, and that might solve the immediate threat of terrorists using trucks to plow into pedestrians.
But one thing needs to be said: You can't defeat a reckless, destructive evil like terrorism through mere regulation. We can't keep adjusting our lifestyles to complement the evil intentions and acts committed by terrorists. We shouldn't stand for that. You have to defeat evil.
So, enough with these small-scale measures that would better address climate change than terrorism. It's desperation masked as dumb policy.