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Aug 28 2012

The price of a hoax is too high

That’s a ghillie suit over on the right. It’s used by the military and hunters as camouflage, and they’re fairly easy to get. You can also see how it could be used as a kind of Bigfoot costume, especially if you wore it in dim light. If you wanted to fool people into thinking Bigfoot exists, you could dance around in it around the edge of town, at twilight, and get people wondering what the heck that big, shaggy, manlike form was. But that would be unethical, of course.

It would also be really stupid.

There’s kind of an obvious problem to wearing camouflage (it makes you hard to see) in the dark (it makes you even harder to see) while also wanting to be seen, which usually means making an appearance near high traffic areas, like, you know, roads. With cars moving rapidly on them.

A Bigfoot hoaxer, Randy Lee Tenley, discovered this briefly before his brains stopped functioning altogether.

A 15-year-old girl hit him with her car, another car swerved, and a third car driven by a 17-year-old ran him over, CNN affiliate KECI reported.

Tenley was “well into the driving lane,” and according to his companions he was “attempting to incite a sighting of Bigfoot — to make people think they had seen a Sasquatch,” Schneider said in the KECI report.

Right now, I mainly feel a deep sympathy for those two young people who blamelessly caused the death of a very stupid man. I’m sure they’re traumatized by the whole event.

Tenley was 44, old enough to know better. I also don’t get it: if you believe in Bigfoot, why would you try to fake a sighting?

116 comments

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  1. 1
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I also don’t get it: if you believe in Bigfoot, why would you try to fake a sighting?

    Perhaps our resident bigfoot “expert” can enlighten us.

    Come to think of it, where has he been?

  2. 2
    Sastra

    My guess is that the Bigfoot hoaxer no more believed in Bigfoot than the people who make crop circles believe in aliens. He just wanted to make a sensation, and possibly laugh at the confusion.

    44 may seem “old enough to know better” only if you discount all the middle-aged trolls, flashers, and hackers in the world.

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    Those poor kids.

  4. 4
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    As someone currently teaching the Spawns to drive, I am franky filled with rage that a purported adult inflicted such trauma on new drivers. Driving is scary enough without maliciously ignorant hoaxers throwing themselves in front of random motorists.

  5. 5
    kc9oq

    Or, he coulda been shot by some gun-lovin Montannan who’d love to have a Bigfoot scalp to hang on his belt.

  6. 6
    raven

    Darwin award.

  7. 7
    Musca Domestica

    Also feeling sorry for the kids, hope they can still drive after this. I don’t think I could, had someone jumped in front of my car like that. It would be hard enough if it happened as an accident, but someone doing that on purpose means that there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

  8. 8
    Hurin

    Raven

    Darwin award.

    seconded.

  9. 9
    nerok

    So is this guy a victim of anything but his own stupidity? Is it finally okay to say he was asking for it, going out dressed like that?

  10. 10
    Glen Davidson

    Walking into traffic is generally a poor idea, in fact.

    Glen Davidson

  11. 11
    craigrheinheimer

    There is a non-zero number of people that will believe this was a real big foot and the ghillie suit story is a government conspiracy to cover up the truth.

    I’m not joking.

  12. 12
    Pierce R. Butler

    Ghillies should be leaping about Highland crags, not flailing around highways in cowboy country.

    Perhaps now we can rename the classic fallacy, “no true Ghillie”?

  13. 13
    craigrheinheimer

    Almost forgot.

    I nominate this for a 2012 Darwin Award.

  14. 14
    raven

    I didn’t read the article but this guy might have been really drunk or high.

    When things like this happen, quite often the police and newspapers have a phrase. “Alcohol was (believed to be) a factor…”

  15. 15
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith is a Spocktopus cuddler

    I feel sorry for those drivers and Teneley’s family; not so much for him though.

    ———————————————

    Or, he coulda been shot by some gun-lovin Montannan who’d love to have a Bigfoot scalp to hang on his belt.

    You don’t wear Bigfoot scalps on your belt, silly. You wear them on your head. Everybody knows that.

  16. 16
    SallyStrange

    Another reason why “ignore the trolls” is really not an option a lot of the time, and definitely not a long-term solution. The guy was a real life troll.

  17. 17
    Hurin

    Right now, I mainly feel a deep sympathy for those two young people who blamelessly caused the death of a very stupid man

    I hope they aren’t sued or hit with involuntary manslaughter charges.

    A relation of mine was in an accident (he was not at fault) that led to someone’s death, and he was sued by the family of the deceased.

    He was not ultimately held responsible, but the process of being brought into court made the whole incident more traumatic than it otherwise would have been.

  18. 18
    Bronze Dog

    Presumably, there can be a point behind a hoax if you intend to reveal it and bruise the egos of believers to get them to realize the flawed nature of their perceptions. Outside of that specific type of scenario, I only see lulz as the purpose.

    Of course, my major criticism is the fact that he was doing it on a road in the dark in camo. If you want lulz, at least get them in a safe way. I don’t like trolls, but not enough to want them dead for it.

  19. 19
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Best comment from the story linked at CNN:

    “My prayers are with the entire Bigfoot family.”

  20. 20
    montanto

    Oh Man….
    I’ve been a fan of Bigfoot lore for a while… Not a believer, a fan. Enough of one to own a copy of Grover Krantz’s “Big Footprints” Krantz was a proponent of bagging a specimen. And even though he fell for the Peterson Hoax with everyone else he thought that if it had been a hoax, the hoaxer was running a huge risk as the cameraman had a rifle (In hindsight that should have been a BIG indicator that the cameraman was in on it at the time)

    This is one of those cases where a hypothesis tragically becomes a reality.

  21. 21
    rturpin

    I’m always stunned at the number of people who wear camo clothing while hunting.

  22. 22
    sisu
    Right now, I mainly feel a deep sympathy for those two young people who blamelessly caused the death of a very stupid man
    I hope they aren’t sued or hit with involuntary manslaughter charges.

    A relation of mine was in an accident (he was not at fault) that led to someone’s death, and he was sued by the family of the deceased.

    He was not ultimately held responsible, but the process of being brought into court made the whole incident more traumatic than it otherwise would have been.

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. :( I wouldn’t be surprised, honestly, if there ends up being some amount of litigation out of this, just to determine liability between various insurance companies. Those poor kids’ cars certainly sustained damage, and their insurers are going to want to recoup the money they spend on repairs. Or it might be brought by the family, seeking a wrongful death verdict and damages award from the insurers. Either way, it’ll definitely make it more traumatic for those kids.

    So is this guy a victim of anything but his own stupidity? Is it finally okay to say he was asking for it, going out dressed like that?

    I know, I’m having a tough time with that! I don’t want to be victim blaming… but COME ON! Although, the young drivers are victims here too. As others have said upthread, I can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be for those kids to get behind the wheel again when there’s really nothing they could’ve done to prevent this.

  23. 23
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    “My prayers are with the entire Bigfoot family.”

    /falls off chair

  24. 24
    Forbidden Snowflake
    So is this guy a victim of anything but his own stupidity? Is it finally okay to say he was asking for it, going out dressed like that?

    I know, I’m having a tough time with that! I don’t want to be victim blaming… but COME ON!

    I don’t see it as victim blaming.
    Victim blamers have a thing they like to do: comparing whatever crime is in question to some mindless natural phenomenon (“What, you wouldn’t say that a person who stood under a tree in a thunderstorm had themselves to blame?” and similar), thus erasing the perpetrators conscious choice to commit the crime. Well, as much as that is a straw-scenario, the analogy actually fits here, since there was no party that made a conscious choice to harm the man. He stood in front of cars whose drivers couldn’t see him. He wasn’t provoking the drivers, he was provoking physics. Much like the straw-person under the tree.

  25. 25
    Amphiox

    There’s a simple reason that this isn’t Victim Blaming.

    This man was not a victim.

    No sentient agency in whole or in part conspired with intent to bring this man to harm. (Not even himself, unless this was an elaborate suicide).

    He is not a victim.

    Another thing to consider: suppose one or both those young drivers had, in the panic of the moment, crashed, or hit another car. Suppose they or someone else had been injured or killed.

  26. 26
    Moggie

    rturpin:

    I’m always stunned at the number of people who wear camo clothing while hunting.

    I’m stunned at the number of people who wear camo clothing at the mall. Not ghillie suits, admittedly.

  27. 27
    carlie

    I hope they aren’t sued or hit with involuntary manslaughter charges.

    I hope not either. I mean, he was deliberately wearing clothing that is designed to make you invisible, so I don’t see how they could be in any way responsible.

  28. 28
    raven

    Another thing to consider: suppose one or both those young drivers had, in the panic of the moment, crashed, or hit another car. Suppose they or someone else had been injured or killed.

    That happens a lot.

    Newspaper story. Woman swerves to avoid a chicken in the road. Headons another car, killing two.

    So is this guy a victim of anything but his own stupidity? Is it finally okay to say he was asking for it, going out dressed like that?

    Missed the point.

    It’s perfectly legal to wander around dressed like a Bigfoot, free country and all that.

    It’s not legal or a good idea to be standing in the middle of a busy road in the dark. People frequently get run over doing that even without a costume.

    Two people have been killed near me that way. Neither was dressed as Bigfoot. Both were extremely all-but-passed-out drunk.

  29. 29
    Amphiox

    Standing in the middle of the road (dark or not, busy or not) is at least jaywalking, so it is illegal.

    If these teen drivers get sued for wrongful death, I cannot imagine any judge that would not laugh and throw the case out.

    Unless there are additional circumstances that we don’t know about, like the drivers themselves being drunk or high, or not having a valid license of learner’s permit, or not having properly maintained the brakes on their car, or not using their headlights properly.

    Hm. Ok, there are actually a diversity of circumstances wherein a wrongful death suit might be waged, but even in all these cases, it would have to be shared responsibility – and it would boil down to haggling over how much responsibility assigned to which party.

  30. 30
    ChristineRose

    According to the news, Mr. Tenley had been drinking.

  31. 31
    tbp1

    @4: Not to mention he could have easily caused serious injury or death to others, and not “just” the likely psychological trauma he inflicted on the teenagers who ran over him. I’m sorry he got killed, I am. I would much rather no harm had befallen anyone, including him, but he absolutely brought it on himself.

  32. 32
    Charly

    Victims are those two young kids who run him over. Therefore victim-blaming would be to try and blame them.

    The man who stood on the road in camouflage is not a victim. He is (now deceased) dumbass.

    That is how I see it anyways.

  33. 33
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    He sure did bring it on himself.

    It could be wicked funny to hoax some people with a bigfoot costume. But not in a place that will get people killed.

  34. 34
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Also, wouldn’t alum be cheaper than gold-infused V-creme? It works on mouths in cartoons.

  35. 35
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Whoops! Wrong blog. . ignore #34.

  36. 36
    Art Vandelay

    Can you be 44 years old and eligible for a Darwin Award? It seems like he’s had plenty of time to pass on his genes. Even if he hasn’t, if he’s running around dressing up like Big Foot, he was probably never going to anyway.

  37. 37
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Josh:

    It could be wicked funny to hoax some people with a bigfoot costume. But not in a place that will get people killed.

    Considering how many trigger happy people there are floating around out there… I’m not sure that Bigfoot hoaxing is the safest hobby one could choose.

  38. 38
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    Newspaper story. Woman swerves to avoid a chicken in the road. Headons another car, killing two.

    As I understand it, having taken Drivers ED in the Middle Of Nowhere (a place where there are literally more cows than people, and sometimes even more cows on the road than other cars), you cannot swerve for animals. Now, being a young, animal-rights activist vegan in high school (still a vegan, cooled off on the animal rights a bit), that thought absolutely horrified me, and I refused to do it. But my patient instructer said over and over again that if I swerved for that animal and hit another car (or person) I was legally responsible for that, and even with larger animals like a deer, the best thing to do was just speed up and hit it directly for both your own saftey and the safety of others.

    The first time I swerved for a squirrel with a friend in the car and nearly killed us both by sending us over a cliff, I learned the value of this lesson. Thus I became a cruel, callous squirrel-killer (or, at least, I assisted in their suicide. damn squirrels).

    I don’t know what the proper protocal is for bigfoot, though. That’ll be fun for insurance companies to argue out. I really hope those kids are all right…I can’t imagine how horrible I’d feel if I killed someone, even if it wasn’t my fault at all.

  39. 39
    New England Bob

    Sometimes stupid is self correcting.

  40. 40
    sisu

    No sentient agency in whole or in part conspired with intent to bring this man to harm. (Not even himself, unless this was an elaborate suicide).

    He is not a victim.

    Thanks, Forbidden Snowflake and Amphiox, for helping me parse that out.

  41. 41
    Amphiox

    Hmm. Disturbing thought.

    If you see a deer on the road in front of you and honk to scare it away, and it runs into the other lane and hits someone else are you liable?

    If you brake to avoid hitting a moose, and that causes the car behind you to rear end you are you liable? Is it different if it’s not a moose but a rabbit (hitting a moose could kill you outright, hitting a rabbit usually doesn’t)?

  42. 42
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    EEB:

    As I understand it, having taken Drivers ED in the Middle Of Nowhere (a place where there are literally more cows than people, and sometimes even more cows on the road than other cars), you cannot swerve for animals.

    Depends on state/county law. Around here (upstate NY), rural areas have “right to farm life” laws– many of which include clauses that make a driver at fault for hitting a farm animal in the road*.

    *The “right to farm life” laws in general have to do with preserving rural areas, so mainly deal with noise complaints, building codes/code enforcement, etc.

  43. 43
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    EEB:

    …even with larger animals like a deer, the best thing to do was just speed up and hit it directly for both your own safety and the safety of others.

    A deer, yes. A moose, no.

  44. 44
    michaelbusch

    @Moggie:

    Urban pattern?

    More seriously: I’ve gotten used to seeing ROTC types in UCP fatigues crossing campus on their way to and from PT.

    @rturpin:

    I thought that hunting camouflage was usually orange-patterned, to be readily visible to humans but invisible to the game? Or am I biased by only being familiar with hunting through my cousins’ going after deer?

  45. 45
    machintelligence

    Also moose are tall and will often slide over the hood, through the windshield, and land in your lap.

  46. 46
    alektorophile

    It happened not far from where most of my in-laws live. Now, why doesn’t that surprise me?

    Rather interesting to learn about the “no swerving for animals” driving tips. Is that a US thing? Having gotten my driver’s licence in Europe, even with plenty of animals on the road, I never heard about it. I guess it does make sense to a certain extent.

  47. 47
    Amphiox

    Moose can weigh over a tonne. Hitting a moose is like hitting a small car. That rides high like a SUV. With sharp spikes on the dash.

  48. 48
    Dr. Strabismus

    Amazing how cheap those ghillie suits are! I googled it and here’s the first thing that popped up. $70. Looks pretty good, too.

    My Halloween costume shopping may be over already!

  49. 49
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    The loud objectors—especially those that don’t respond when you point out that the thing they fear isn’t actually true—are indeed concerned about how they’re perceived. It’s probably not conscious for a lot of them, but I suspect the real motivation is the knowledge (subconscious perhaps) that regardless of the fact that A+ is opt-in, its very existence does make dismissing social justice issues more costly. It threatens an identity that people feel comfortable in (whether that be apathetic, indifferent, or outright hostile to SJ). It changes the conversation and culture.

    This is the same reaction every progressive issue has gotten. A new group forms who wants to expand or go to the next level, and a lot of former allies scream bloody murder. Civil rights, LGBT rights, gnu atheism. . . it always happens.

    You know this is the motivation when you calmly, clearly point out that no one is making a moral judgment against the person if they decline to join, and the person still goes into full meltdown. They either don’t acknowledge the plain facts you gently put to them, they say you’re lying, or they find some other reason to keep melting down. I can’t think of any other motive than an uncomfortability with the implicit judgment that A+(or whatever)inevitably invokes.

    Well, sorry, but that’s culture.

  50. 50
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    God damn it. . why am I posting on all the wrong threads today? I’m so sorry.

  51. 51
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    (It’s okay, Josh. I ♥ you anyway.)

  52. 52
    carlie

    If you brake to avoid hitting a moose, and that causes the car behind you to rear end you are you liable?

    In most places, no. Rear-ending someone is always your fault, no matter what they did, because you weren’t driving defensively enough to avoid the accident happening in front of you. That’s what the police officer and insurance company both told me after a woman made a left turn onto an icy road directly in front of me and I braked hard not to t-bone her as she was turning, and instead ran into her back bumper. If I had gone ahead and plowed into her passenger door (where a baby in a carseat was, btw), I would have had a case that she turned much too close to oncoming traffic and it was her fault, but since I managed to slow down enough to make it a clear rear-end, it was now my fault that my car was totaled because in a rear-end, they assume you were following too closely. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

  53. 53
    Dr. Strabismus

    Which thread was that supposed to be, Josh? Looks interesting.

  54. 54
    Reginald Selkirk

    Suppose you swerve to avoid a moose, but hit a bear; are you responsible?

  55. 55
    carlie

    Hugs and a large coffee for Josh. :)

  56. 56
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Thanks all:)) I heart you too. It’s the “that’s another good name” thread, Dr. Strabismus.

  57. 57
    coraquilonis

    RE: swerving for animals – I won’t swerve, but I will try to stop if it’s safe to do so. It also helps that I don’t go careening through roads that go through animal population centers at breakneck speed.

    I had a friend who lived in the country near a state park, and he enjoyed driving through the state roads at 65+ mph in the dead of night. The front end of his truck was demolished twice in three years from deer strikes. Go figure.

  58. 58
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I find it very hard not to instinctly swerve to avoid animals even though I know it’s a terrible practice. I’m trying to break myself of it because it could get me or someone killed. Do trynot to do it unless it’s a moose. Or a Bigfoot.

  59. 59
    sempersci

    No Darwin Award for this guy unless you can prove with absolute certitude that he has not reproduced. Of course something will have to be done about his kin.

  60. 60
    Amphiox

    re 54;

    It’s impressive that they had to actually track the bear afterwards, meaning that it was able to walk away from the impact, even with injuries (though that bit about internal injuries doesn’t bode well. :-( )

  61. 61
    Amphiox

    I have forgotten the exact rules for the Darwin Awards, but I do not think having already reproduced completely disqualifies you. If the candidate is still of reproductive age they still succeed in reducing their total potential reproductive fitness over the lifetime. And what with each of the stupid genes having only a 50% likelihood of passage per offspring it’s still more than possible that they successfully eliminated at least some of them!

  62. 62
    Alverant

    I feel sorry for the drivers. There was nothing that could be done. I was near a person who jumped in front of a train once (near meaning 20 feet away). Fortunately my mind was wandering so I didn’t see it happen. I did see the body wedged between the platform and the train. I bring this up because I’m sure the train engineer felt awful too. He couldn’t do anything. Neither could I and sometimes that’s hard to accept.

    I hope those kids can work through this. I also home none of their relatives decides to be “funny” and buy them Bigfoot “kill” stickers for their cars.

  63. 63
    busterggi

    I do feel sorry for the girls – they are the victims in this mess.

    However, now we have obtained a roadkilled bigfoot, actual physical evidence of what bigfoot is. And it looks as though from the only meaningful evidence that bigfoot is a hoax.

  64. 64
    Musca Domestica

    alektorophile

    Rather interesting to learn about the “no swerving for animals” driving tips. Is that a US thing? Having gotten my driver’s licence in Europe, even with plenty of animals on the road, I never heard about it. I guess it does make sense to a certain extent.

    When I took my licence in Finland, we were told it was illegal to break for anything smaller than a dog. The breed wasn’t specified, but I always took it as larger than a raccoon dog. Never heard of accelerating when hitting a moose, and quite a few moose-car accidents happen here every year. On one of the highways I used to frequent, there was a warning system for one strech, where moose often crossed (there was an opening in the fence), but it was taken away, because people didn’t slow down anyway… Pissed me off somewhat.

  65. 65
    Grimalkin

    Christ, those poor teenagers. I was spooked away from highways just because once an 18-wheeler was a dick while I tried merging on while learning to drive; I can’t imagine what it would be like having committed fucking manslaughter* while learning to drive.

    And judging by the 15 year old’s age, she might only have a learners permit. That’ll make a driving test fun.

    Tenley was “well into the driving lane,” and according to his companions he was “attempting to incite a sighting of Bigfoot — to make people think they had seen a Sasquatch,” Schneider said in the KECI report.

    So.

    Where the fuck were his companions? This makes it seem like they were with him when he decided to pull this stunt. Did they never think “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t be dancing camouflaged in the middle of the road? sounds kind of like they didn’t have a single brain cell between them.

    *I was told by my driving school teacher that in all cases where a vehicle kills a person, even in cases like this, the driver is always guilty of manslaughter regardless of what the pedestrian was doing. Please, please tell me she was wrong.

  66. 66
    otrame

    I learned a number of things while living for 3 years in Anchorage. One was that moose pretty much ignore humans, and are perfectly willing to wander into a major city, crossing streets without a care in the world. This is especially hard to deal with in cold weather (which is a large part of the year) because of the black ice that accumulates on the roads. Not hitting a moose is sometimes not much of an option, whether you try to swerve or not. And hitting a moose is a not uncommon cause of death for both the humans and the moose.

    As a result, you tend to keep an eye on the vegetation at the edges of the road, and a dark shape in said vegetation sets off your alarms. I had the devil’s own time when I moved to San Antonio because when the deciduous trees and shrubs were bare, there were still the mountain cedar (which does not come from the mountains and is not cedar) are dark shapes in the bushes. Took me an entire winter to stop reacting.

    Back OT, I am so sorry for the kids. What a horrible thing to have to deal with.

  67. 67
    fishy

    I’m not even sure of what I wanted to say anymore. I spent so much time trying to join the forum.

    I’m getting old and grumpy.

    I guess it was something about needing a baseline from which to judge humanity’s progress.

    Not everyone can be as smart as the operator of this blog would like them to be, and has anyone asked how progressive a society might be if there were no fools?

  68. 68
    madscientist

    And yeti there’s still no shortage of idiots…

    What annoys me is that someone swerved. You may see it in the movies all the time, but don’t do it – it’s a good way to get yourself killed on a high-speed road. I always tell young drivers to do their best to stop, but don’t swerve unless the obstacle is essentially immovable and would kill you on impact anyway. If you hit someone on the road who shouldn’t have been there, that’s their problem, don’t make it worse by getting yourself killed too.

  69. 69
    pspence

    Didn’t the link say “brains”? I only have one brain, so I guess I’m roadkill in any lane!

    The suit looks like something my friends used to wear when doing Morris dancing when we were all students back in the good old UK.

  70. 70
    Turtles

    Can you be 44 years old and eligible for a Darwin Award? It seems like he’s had plenty of time to pass on his genes.

    There is always the chance his kids are equally stupid and do something similar, so nominating themselves and him for the Darwin Awards.

  71. 71
    Ashley

    Just hopping in to clarify the camo in hunting stuff. You wear full camo when you’re hunting certain animals, and blaze orange accents when you hunt others (deer, mostly). Full camo is used for turkeys and squirrels. (Dunno about others, those are all I have experience with.)

    I was told it’s because the deer can’t see the orange color, but the other animals can. (This is from my dad. I’m unsure whether or not this is actually true, because I’ve never bothered to look it up.)

  72. 72
    David Marjanović

    What, 15-year-olds are allowed to drive?

    I also don’t get it: if you believe in Bigfoot, why would you try to fake a sighting?

    See comment 16: he was trolling in meatspace. I see no reason to think he believed.

    Trolling on the Internet is much safer.

    Rather interesting to learn about the “no swerving for animals” driving tips. Is that a US thing? Having gotten my driver’s licence in Europe, even with plenty of animals on the road, I never heard about it. I guess it does make sense to a certain extent.

    I got my driver’s license in Europe, too, and I was explicitly taught to hold the steering wheel and zoom straight through. But animals bigger than roe deer are extremely rare on roads over here.

  73. 73
    Inaji

    fishy:

    has anyone asked how progressive a society might be if there were no fools?

    Much farther along? Less stupid?

  74. 74
    Inaji

    David:

    What, 15-year-olds are allowed to drive?

    In most states, 15 qualifies you for a learner’s permit, you can drive with an adult of driving age in the car with you. Most of Montana is high rural, though, and the driving age is usually younger in such states.

  75. 75
    Stella

    Those poor drivers.

  76. 76
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Also moose are tall and will often slide over the hood, through the windshield, and land in your lap.

    The young Mythbusters looked at the myth that speeding up your car would cause the moose (a rubber simulate) to flip over your car. Well, maybe the very lowest slung sports cars, but anything resembling a family sedan, the simulate hit the top of the windshield, with resulting and usually considered fatal/debilating to front seat occupants damage.

  77. 77
    fishy

    Caine,fleur de mal
    Much farther along? Less stupid?

    Well. that’s the point isn’t it?

    What is it about homogeneity that appeals to us so much?

  78. 78
    'Tis Himself

    Ashley #71

    I was told it’s because the deer can’t see the orange color, but the other animals can. (This is from my dad. I’m unsure whether or not this is actually true, because I’ve never bothered to look it up.)

    When I was taking a hunting safety course ever so many years ago, I was told hunters were required to wear orange so they’d be visible to other hunters. The instructor was asked if deer could see a hunter wearing orange and, without giving a yes or no, replied something to the effect of “would you rather get a deer or get shot yourself?”

    When I was growing up in Wisconsin, I knew a farmer who spray-painted the word “cow” in bright orange on all of his cows and on his horse during deer hunting season. My father asked him why he didn’t write “horse” on his horse and he replied: “If some hunter doesn’t know the difference between a cow and a deer, he sure won’t know the difference between a cow and a horse.”

  79. 79
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    ‘Tis:

    It also takes longer to read ‘horse.’ More syllables.

  80. 80
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Ogvorbis, ‘cow’ and ‘horse’ both are monosyllabic.

    (Though ‘horse’ has two more letters)

  81. 81
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    John:

    I know. I was trying to be funny. Failed.

  82. 82
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Amphiox:

    I have forgotten the exact rules for the Darwin Awards

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_Awards#Rules

  83. 83
    Dhorvath, OM

    Ogvorvis,
    Not true. I laughed.

  84. 84
    Julien Rousseau

    You don’t wear Bigfoot scalps on your belt, silly. You wear them on your head. Everybody knows that.

    Is that where mullets come from?

  85. 85
    hypatiasdaughter

    #76 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    I had a friend whose Miata hit a deer that flipped right over his car. Front hooves landed in he back seat and back hooves hit the windshield – plus Miata’s are convertibles, so there is no roof structure to take the force of impact. He was a very lucky man that he wasn’t injured.
    This summer I had a small deer pull a “squirrel feint” on me. It was just standing on the roadside about 1/4 mile away from me. I began to break “just in case” and it ran out in front of me when I was about 100 feet from it. Missed it by inches and only because my foot was already on the brake.
    Sort of OT, but in the 1950′s some guys pulled an alien hoax, claiming they hit and killed an ET. It was to win a bet but I think the hoax cost them more than the bet.
    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/archive/permalink/the_great_monkey_hoax
    The psychology of hoaxers, trolls and people who make computer viruses kind of fascinates me – such a combination of the infantile and the malicious.

  86. 86
    Dhorvath, OM

    Hypatiasdaughter,

    I had a friend whose Miata hit a deer that flipped right over his car. Front hooves landed in he back seat

    Never happened. Miata’s don’t have a backseat. I have had two.

  87. 87
    bassmanpete

    Reminds me of a saying I heard many years ago: “Beauty is only skin deep but stupidity goes right down to the bone.”

  88. 88
    sisu

    Grimalkin – crime definitions vary from state to state but at least in MN, that isn’t the case. Manslaughter requires, at least, “culpable negligence” that “consciously takes the chance of causing death or great bodily harm.” Criminal vehicular homicide would be possible if the drivers left the scene of the accident; if not, you either have to drive in a “grossly negligent” manner or be under the influence. In any case (leaving the scene aside; I don’t know the facts there) it doesn’t sound like these drivers were negligent or taking any unreasonable risks. I hope the laws are similar in Montana. They don’t deserve criminal punishment for this idiot’s rank stupidity.

  89. 89
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo.

  90. 90
    Crissa

    EEB 28 August 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Speed up? NO. There’s times when you want to feather the accelerator, but that’s not a rule of thumb, but an advanced driving technique. Don’t speed up. Just slow down and try to stop. Only swerve if you’ve prepared all the proper clearance checks to make sure there’s no oncoming/passing/parked/trees/potholes/blindspots/etc. In other words, just stop normally and focus on that.

    carlie 28 August 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Yes, generally it’s your fault. It’s not the fault of the deer or the guy who swerved through traffic that made everyone come to a dead stop. However, in your case, whoever told you that, they were wrong. How exactly were you supposed to react to someone pulling out into traffic in front of you? Their position was stupid.

    Of course, to fight it, you need to show the math. And might have the calculator taken away by the court bailiff. I know, I had that happen. And when I left the court, I realized the judge was waiting on my doing math in my head to prove the high-po was lying. If I’d had my calculator, I’d have known it immediately. Grr.

    Anyhow…

  91. 91
    psanity

    Guy had a 10-yr-old son. So, so far, three young casualties of his stupidity.

    The girls were driving within a few miles of home in a very rural area. The 15-yr-old would have been driving on a learner’s license (must have licensed adult in car) or possibly a very new provisional license (must have logged 50 hrs driving, 10 at night, can’t drive after 11pm except for work, school, farm or emergency reasons). The provisional license thing kicked in a few years back. Not too long ago, a kid in MT could get a license at 14.5. I suspect most of them are safer drivers than the college students in our neck of the woods, who have just started the annual fall Drunk Freshman Natural Selection elimination rounds.

  92. 92
    truthspeaker

    raven
    28 August 2012 at 11:03 am

    When things like this happen, quite often the police and newspapers have a phrase. “Alcohol was (believed to be) a factor…

    That’s the Wisconsin state motto!

  93. 93
    truthspeaker

    Since this comment thread involves discussions of driving, I’m afraid I have to once again point out that the thing that stops your car is a brake.

  94. 94
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Since this comment thread involves discussions of driving, I’m afraid I have to once again point out that the thing that stops your car is a brake.

    A 1.5 ton Wyoming buffalo can do a pretty good job of it too.

  95. 95
    Glen Davidson

    Then too, I remember when a break in a piston stopped a tractor pretty fast once when I was driving it.

    Glen Davidson

  96. 96
    JohnnieCanuck

    A few years back there was a news article about a man who was given a ticket for stopping for a duck on a highway near here. He was incensed that he should be ticketed for not killing an animal. Luckily traffic was light and no collisions occurred.

    What made it hit the headlines was that he felt it was religious persecution and attempted to bring suit. Being Sikh, his religion was clearly displayed by his turban and beard.

    As usual, the final outcome wasn’t as newsworthy and didn’t make the paper. Probably he had to let it go.

  97. 97
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    The Backwoodsies are always good for a weekly Darwin Award or two. This is an instance where the trauma of killing a person was almost guaranteed to happen to younger people. There’s a reason some places put limits on night driving on teen drivers: their vision at dusk is worse than an adult’s. Another instance where maybe some knowledge would have saved a number of people some grief, especially two young adults that have to carry this burden for another idiotic asshole.

  98. 98
    Amphiox

    has anyone asked how progressive a society might be if there were no fools?

    In Robert Sawyer’s scifi series The Neanderthal Parallax, he does explore this question to some extent. He presents a Neanderthal society (in an alternate universe where Neanderthals survived and evolved full sentience, while H. sapiens died out) where, at one point in time they decided that, a for a fixed period of time, the bottom 20% least intelligent (which they measured objectively using density of neural connections in the brain) individuals would not be allowed to breed. (Their primary legal punishment for most violent crimes is sterilization of the perpetrator, as well as everyone sharing at least 50% of the perpetrator’s genes, to eliminate the genes that produce violent tendencies*)

    *The system was portrayed as extremely effective with one glaring exception – it was almost completely helpless against domestic spousal violence, because if the victim reported the violent spouse, the victim’s own children, sharing 50% of their genes with their violent parent, would also be sterilized, so the crime was almost never reported.

  99. 99
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    Re: the swerving thing. I lived in a rural town outside of Calgary for most of my life. There’s a majority of my driving hours that were night hours. It’s much easier to say don’t swerve than to do so from that split second reaction time. I’m fortunate that the worst that has come from it was ending up facing down the road the wrong way. Despite the advised course of action, I can’t regret a single time I have swerved since there’s several dogs, deer, porcipines and coyotes that would be dead now if I had stuck to that adage. Nevermind the vehicle damage. This was always wee hours, though, so the advice certainly is sound on busier roads. It also should be mentioned that I knew that route was a migration route for some animals so always drove at least 10 km/h under the speed limit at night, limiting the amount of energy for the car or truck to wig out.

  100. 100
    sadunlap

    @ McC2lhu saw what you did there.

    There’s a reason some places put limits on night driving on teen drivers: their vision at dusk is worse than an adult’s.

    Citation, please? I’m not getting in your face, I’m really curious about the science behind this. I know that adolescent’s blood vessels’ valves are not fully developed which leads them to have a difficult time getting up from a lying or prone position quickly. But I never heard of night vision deficiency.

  101. 101
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    It’s been a couple of years since I read the article. I’ll have to dig around the intertoobz a bit.

  102. 102
    Moggie

    pspence:

    The suit looks like something my friends used to wear when doing Morris dancing when we were all students back in the good old UK.

    I wouldn’t swerve for a Morris dancer.

  103. 103
    Colin J
    I’m always stunned at the number of people who wear camo clothing while hunting.

    I’m stunned at the number of people who wear camo clothing at the mall. Not ghillie suits, admittedly.

    My wife calls it can’t-see-me gear. There was a man wearing that stuff at the shops the other day. As soon as we’d walked past him I nudged my wife and said with a laugh: “Did you see that guy?” She replied: “Nope.”

  104. 104
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    What’s funnier is some bloke walking past in camo trousers, and a plain top. ZOMG! It’s a man with no legs!

    Well, OK, it’s probably only funny if you’re people-watching while drunk.

  105. 105
    Moggie

    Of course, the only acceptable use of ghillie suits is for an OK Go video.

  106. 106
    Christophe Thill

    A 15 year old driver? Did I read this correctly???

  107. 107
    azgeo

    @ 106 – some states let you get a license at 15 and according to:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver%27s_license_in_the_United_States
    Montana is one of them.

    Like most people here I wouldn’t consider what PZ said as victim blaming. The man was a victim, but of his own stupidity. Dumbass blaming isn’t victim blaming. I feel sorry for his kid.

    I wear camo pants in the field periodically, despite being neither a military enthusiast nor a veteran. There’s simply nothing better for keeping cactus out of your bum than a pair of army fatigues. Also, they’re decently cool in the summer, warm in the winter and very comfortable. And the surplus of pockets is just awesome.

    -just a few random thoughts from AZGeo…..

  108. 108
    feedmybrain

    It may have already been said but if not; Darwing award.

  109. 109
    feedmybrain

    GRAARK!
    *Darwin*

  110. 110
    yuenhao

    >Darwing award.

    I’d pay good money for a Darkwing Duck award

  111. 111
    puppygod

    Rather interesting to learn about the “no swerving for animals” driving tips. Is that a US thing? Having gotten my driver’s licence in Europe, even with plenty of animals on the road, I never heard about it. I guess it does make sense to a certain extent.

    I got my driver’s license in Europe, too, and I was explicitly taught to hold the steering wheel and zoom straight through. But animals bigger than roe deer are extremely rare on roads over here.

    Same here. I also got my driver license in Europe (in mid-nineties) and was explicitly instructed (several times, both by my instructors and by my father) to not swerve for animals. Though animals in this case were supposedly mostly stray dogs.

    On the other hand, when I was visiting my friend in Białowieża in Poland this spring, I heard a nice story. One day early morning he was driving to work through the forest and was stopped by the police patrol. He asked if he did something wrong, and the officer said “No, it’s just that we’ve seen a herd of wisents nearby and we are warning drivers that they migh be…” ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-DUMP, BA-DUMP, BADUMUBADUMP BA-Dump, ba-dump, ba-dump… [herd of around 20 wisents gallops across the road shaking ground some thirty meters away from them] “… crossing the road. Well, I think you are safe to go now. Have a nice day.” It’s a pity it happened so fast that he only managed to snap a couple of photos with his phone depicting a couple of blurred brown shapes disappearing behind the trees – it all happened within seconds.

  112. 112
    Nick Gotts

    Suppose you swerve to avoid a moose, but hit a bear; are you responsible?

    Only if the bear has a really good lawyer.

  113. 113
    pipenta

    I just want to go on record that you DON’T want to hit a deer with a Miata. Miatas are delightful cars. I can’t think of anything more fun to drive, (and I learned to, back in the day, on a ’67 GTO convertible, so I know from fun. That was the car I used to drive to high school. Makes me smile just remembering it.) but you need to be alert when you drive one. You have to keep an eye out for large obstacles in the road that might send you spinning into a ditch like, say, acorns. If you hit a deer, you’ll probably total the car. If you hit a moose? Gawd! You might skin the moose’s knee, more like his ankle and you would be unlikely to survive.

    Please understand that I am not dissing Miatas. I love them. Amazing cars! Wonderful fun to drive. If a Miata was a horse, it would be a quarter horse, they’re that nimble. Okay, a miniature quarter horse. The only down side is that the car is too large for really big people. But then you guys never have to pull up a chair to get the big serving platter off the top of the dish cabinet, so I guess it all works out in the end.

    But oh yeah, fun fun fun to drive. As a fellow Miata fan friend of mine says; when you sit down in that car, pop the top down and turn the engine over, no matter how bad your day has been, it just got BETTER.

    <3 those cars. Would hate to run into a sasquatch with one.

  114. 114
    pipenta

    Car is too SMALL for large people. It’s like driving a six-spotted tiger beetle.

    Going to have to lay off the frosted ergot flakes for breakfast, no matter how much I want the box tops.

  115. 115
    riftmann

    My Goodness… those poor kids… I would never drive again. Maybe now since I’ve been driving 35 years, but even now it would be hard to get behind a wheel after something like that happened. Too bad you can’t sue dead people.

    My niece is learning to drive, and yes in american rural states/areas the driving age is much lower. Her cousin was driving at 13. My brother has held off letting my niece learn to drive at the ripe old age of 15.

    I was taught never to swerve, but I was also taught not to slam on the break either. And yes rear ending a car is almost always your fault… ‘inattentive driving’.

    I’ve seen morons trying to text and drive at the same time. Darwin Award recipients unfortunately have a habit of killing/affecting innocent, smart, people.

  116. 116
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    There’s a road I drive down usually once per month that I take slowly as you can get ambushed by kangaroos. Did hit one once that tried to overtake me but I was very slow by that point and it basically fell over, got up, and bounced off into the bush. No dent in car but was shaky for a bit.

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