By Allen Penticoff
A lot of protesting is occurring around the idea of “excessive government regulation” being equal to “tyranny.” Here is a classic example of why laws come into existence to attempt to end ignorant, arrogant and ridiculous human activities.
In a recent television news segment, the topic was “coal rolling.” While the name sounds like an activity to partake of at a West Virginia coal mining company picnic, it is actually a description of a diesel truck (mostly large pickup trucks) modified to produce a thick BLACK smoke coming out of their exhaust. Owners may spend upward of $3,000 to have a system to inject raw diesel fuel into the exhaust manifold to produce this noxious attention-getting display. Can regulation banning this modification and activity be far behind?
In the news segment video shots, the truck has twin vertical exhaust stacks and is shown belching columns of black smoke worse than a tire fire. In other shots, the exhaust exits to the side, and the driver hits a switch to produce the smoke and engulf pedestrians walking along the road. One truck had some anti-Prius sentiment emblazoned in the back window.
According to the news report, these coal rollers are anti-environmentalists who are protesting those folks who ridicule people who drive Hummers and huge jacked-up pick-up trucks. I doubt our nation’s founders had belching thick clouds of fine particulate matter into the atmosphere in mind when they wrote the First Amendment of our Constitution defining our right to free speech … although our current Supreme Court, in its current lack of wisdom, may agree that it is.
While the overall quantity of carbon and fine particulates released into the atmosphere from coal rolling is not going to have a big impact on our climate, it is like the difference between peeing in a swimming pool and defecating in one. One may not be so bad if it isn’t done all the time, but the other is just plain wrong and disgusting. Using coal rolling to inundate someone walking along a roadway … now that is an assault, a crime and should be treated accordingly — but, a new law may need to be written to define it as such for law enforcement to arrest someone for engaging in that action.
Our activities on this tiny planet, with its paper-thin atmosphere, have reached the point where nearly everything we do is having a negative impact. The planet can no longer scrub away all that we are doing and replenish what we need. To be anti-environment is to be anti-life. We are slowly killing ourselves off with our disregard for what we are doing to our air, water, climate and natural resources.
Why are we environmentalists so annoying? We care about life. All of it. And we see the dire writing on the wall for the future of life on this planet. We are out there evangelizing that there are things we can do to stop the worst of what is coming if we act now, but we must make a lot of changes — NOW — not be looking the other way when some moron belches black smoke from his truck as entertainment.
From the July 23-29, 2014, issue