With the news of the latest truck attack in Jerusalem it is fair to say that a pattern has developed and it is high time that we have a serious discussion about truck control laws. We need Congress and our new president to work together to develop a plan for keeping trucks out of the hands of terrorists. Too many people have been killed already for us to sit around and do nothing about this major problem.
I know that there are many people who think that trucks are not a serious problem, and many arguments will be put forth for the continued widespread availability of trucks in our society, so before the debate begins I would like to comment on some of the more common points that are brought up in the defense of trucks:
There are legitimate peaceful uses for trucks
This is one of the most common arguments for trucks today. But are there not alternate means for transportation of goods? We could expand the use of shipping, trains, and airplanes. New technologies such as drones will be used in the future for the sending of parcels. Why do we need to use such an outmoded method of transportation? Some people will insist on bitterly clinging to their trucks, along with their Bibles and hunting gear, but it is time to bring these people into a more modern age. A more progressive enlightened world view can herald a new era for such backwards folk.
Existing trucking licenses are enough to restrict the use of trucks to responsible owners
If this were true we would not be seeing the rash of truck violence that we are today. Just because someone carries a Commercial Drivers License does not mean that they are not violent or a terrorist. The existing requirements for health exams and driving tests are not enough. At a minimum the programs need to be expanded to include background checks for all drivers, and we need to prevent people with a history of felonies or violent crime from owning a truck. But recent terrorism cases have shown that even trucks under the possession of licensed truck owners/operators may be hijacked and used by terrorists for violent acts. Therefore the only way to meaningfully prevent more truck violence is to stop the sales of all trucks and take measures to get existing trucks off the streets.
People in a free society should be free to own trucks without government intervention
There are many precedents for the outlaw of general use of trucks. Do we not prohibit people from carrying automatic weapons or nuclear bombs? Should trucks get a pass because they are considered less dangerous? How many more people need to die before we do something about this terrible problem?
Trucks don’t kill people, people kill people
This is a silly argument put forward by people who want to continue to allow the free availability of trucks. Of course trucks, by themselves, are just physical objects and do not have minds of their own. However, just because a truck sitting by itself is not necessarily dangerous does not mean that a truck, in the wrong hands, is not a threat to society. People would not be able to kill other people with trucks if they didn’t have them in the first place.
People who didn’t have access to trucks could still hurt people
This is another of the foolish arguments given by the pro-truck lobbyists. Yes, people intent on hurting other people could still use knives or other weapons to hurt them, but that does not mean that we should go on allowing people to freely own such dangerous items as trucks that can be used to harm so many people so quickly. This goes back to the above mentioned limitations on the free ownership of automatic weapons and nuclear bombs.
Let us take the opportunity in this year of great political change to take a stand: let 2017 be the year we finally pass sensible anti-truck legislation. Do not let the demagogues in the pro-truck lobby sway you with foolish arguments.