On the anniversary of École Polytechnique: Speaking of things that do not surprise

So I just wrote about the roots of École Polytechnique and how responsibility for such a crime is widely shared. But I thought I would tack on a few stories that I noticed today that I feel are particularly noticeable on this day of all days. I only have two in mind right now, but I’ll add to the list over the course of the day as I notice other stories.

First: Uber acknowledges 3,000+ sexual assaults (including more than 250 rapes) that occurred over 2018 between driver and passenger – though it’s important to note that both drivers and passengers are included in the victims. This isn’t merely predatory drivers, but also predatory passengers. In fact, the predators are pretty evenly split between the two categories with drivers making up 55% of suspected assailants and riders making up 45% (Uber, p. 18). Though we can and should take note of this, it’s also good to note that the most common of the 5 categories of assault tracked occurred only once in every 800,000 completed trips. Since multiple assaults can happen in a single ride (e.g. its hard to imagine a rape being completed without other assaults being committed alongside), we’re not clear on the exact risk per trip, but it is fairly low in relative terms. If you don’t want to read the report, you can search your favorite media outlet or just click here for NPR’s take on the report. [Full disclosure: the report also includes information about other threats to safety, like ordinary vehicular accidents.)

Second: Propublica has a new report on maternal mortality in Texas. It is, of course, awful. They published a similar report on Black maternal mortality a single day after the 28th anniversary of École Polytechnique. Almost exactly two years later and its hard to see things getting better.

Third: A white man felt enough entitlement to run for Susan Collins’ senate seat in Maine despite two previous (but simultaneous, arising from the same evening of misbehavior) convictions for violent assaults on others. Sadly, he didn’t make any headway, the poor thing. But he did manage, despite his failure, to muster up enough entitlement to engage in violent assault again. In the first case he was charged with an assault on his then partner, reported to be a woman, and also several others. In the current case, he has been charged only with assaulting his current partner, also reported to be a woman. Imagine that!



  1. invivoMark says

    I wonder how the sexual assault numbers compare between Uber and local taxi companies. I despise Uber and Lyft for aggressively elbowing in on local companies, and in my experience they often charge higher prices and do not offer any substantive benefits to the passenger compared to a well-run taxi business. And local businesses can unionize, while Uber and Lyft drivers have essentially no bargaining power.

    If they are also less safe for the passenger and/or driver, that’s all the more reason to avoid them.

  2. Paireon says

    @invivoMark: Heh, pretty much wanted to say what you did. I’m also wondering about those numbers.

    As for the Propublica article: Welp. Looks like I wasn’t horrified and depressed enough today yet. And I’m guessing the vast majority of pro-lifers are against any measure that helps these women instead of only their fetuses (which is staggeringly hypocritical, because -CAPTAIN OBVIOUS WARNING!- if the mother dies or miscarries said fetus is as dead as if it had been aborted).

  3. seachange says

    Taxi fares are much higher than uber/lyft in LA.

    In Los Angeles taxi licenses are absurdly limited so they are a cartel. There is a ridiculous (and class warfare) historical reason for this. The reason for this is because 1920s wealthy people who were the only people able to own a car outright didn’t like people who were not so wealthy to buy their car outright making traffic and using up their parking spaces downtown.

    That said, I’ve seen as a pedestrian and experienced as a bus rider behind them taxi/uber/lyft drivers do some zarking stupid trafficfails and park where they absolutely shouldn’t.

    These taxi licenses are a lot more expensive than uber/lyft because they have to bid for those licenses or buy them from someone who has them. Unionization is not realy possible in these circumstances.

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