QOTD: Missing Morality?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd missing morality

Each one of us, minus the psychopaths, lives by a personal code, and that set of deeply held beliefs and attitudes dictates how we treat others. How we interact in society. It makes us whole.

Given that there’s a hell of a lot of variation in what drives a person, there’s been no shortage of diverging takes on the latest Cannonball Run “trophy” holder — the crew of a white, 2019 Audi A8 that rocketed from New York City to Los Angeles in 26 hours and 38 minutes earlier this month, using lightly trafficked highways borne of the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage. Average speed? Roughly 105 mph.

Is this feat worthy of a slap on the back, or a punch in the face?

Those are the bookends; your take on the issue likely falls somewhere in the murky middle.

If you’ve been around here a while, you’ve probably gathered that we’re a fairly freedom-loving bunch, though our personal credos generally stop short of undue selfishness. Indeed, a society is just a collection of individuals and, while individualism should be respected and nurtured, that doesn’t leave consideration of others as a non-issue. It’s a hazy line to walk, as there’s an infinite number of scenarios where not doing what you love could, in some way, be better for society. Your entire daily routine, from your choice of breakfast food, type and location of dwelling, commuting method, and everything else that makes up a life could be seen by others as harmful in some way.

Yours truly, at least, does not want to be told to “stop that, and live like me” any more than the other person would like to be told the same thing. We know that personal car ownership is under threat. The people who loathe them the most have probably never visited the furthest-flung, most wide-open and unpopulated corners of the continent, and are thus unable to see personal vehicles as a freedom machine. As a tool for personal autonomy, rather than something to automate the soul out of.

And so, to someone like this, to someone like me, the idea of taking advantage of sparse road traffic to seal a new Cannonball Run record, flying stealthily under the radar (guns) of local and state law enforcement all the way, holds considerable appeal. It’s romantic. It stirs the soul. And it’s dangerous. While the Audi’s pilots were no doubt capable of handling high speeds in a German luxury car, and certainly capable of scanning the interstate for lane hogs and signal-shunning mergers, the potential threat to public safety doesn’t disappear. Circumstances arise in a hurry. Unlikely scenarios crop up. Human error is ever-present. And in a pandemic, even with minimal interaction with other humans and a trunk jammed full of auxiliary fuel capacity, it’s far, far more antisocial than before.

I’d say unforgivably so. Just look where the Audi set out from: the viral epicenter of the country, New York City, currently home to more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths. Along the way, the A8 traveled through all manner of socioeconomic diversity (and health capacity) on its way to a state that’s had considerable success in limiting the virus’ spread. Just how mindful was the team in regards to precautionary measures? Who touched what, then drove off?

It’s one thing to take chances on the road. The damage potential is limited, though far from insignificant. It’s another thing to threaten untold numbers of people with a pathogen.

What’s your take on the latest Cannonball Run champions? Heroes, or zeroes?

[Image: Audi]

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2 of 74 comments
  • AtoB AtoB on Apr 18, 2020

    Punch in the face, but FIRST: Felony arrest Crazy high bail Loss of licence for 5+ years Aggressive DA Social denouncement Angry, unsympathetic court Financially crushing portion of judgement Jail time of at least a year Huge, mentally unstable cellmate Punch in the face from cellmate

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Apr 18, 2020

    April 14th, 2020 at 5:55 pm Your comment is awaiting moderation. (so I will change one word that catches the filter...let's see if I guess right) Makes perfect sense. The Audi is a car which can do the trip without any failures and is stealthy, and is designed for top speed. The fuel cells and a few Way of The Road jugs, and you are in LA before the second sun-up. Once you get west of Minnesota, it’s a different planet, and your biggest risk is nailing an elk. You also have full radar detection…scanners with the relevant frequencies programmed….two or more sober and dedicated drivers. A set of good field glasses used by the passenger give a tactical advantage equal or better than the electronics. There is always the risk of the attempt, but I don't see much risk of diseases.... You want anarchy ? Come with me to Harlem in August. The sound of dirt bikes and Quads, and mobs of 20-40 cycles at once, in contravention to every traffic rule, will fill the air. So many two stroke dirt bikes it sounds like a motocross race.

  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
  • Lou_BC "Overpriced" is a misnomer. Arguably, if they are selling they are not overpriced. "Dealer mark-up above MSRP" is a mouthful but more accurate. Simple, don 't buy anything marked up. A computer will help you search the country. It's a PITA but doable.