Last week, I opened up a web browser, and noticed on the BBC’s news page an article (now no longer available, sadly) that nearly broke my heart. Some Muppet had destroyed a Bugatti Veyron. Yes, it made me upset enough that I started using British insults. This might have been because the story was on the BBC, and the incident happened in the UK, but I think it was mostly because it grabbed me somewhere down in my gut, and my more usual American-style insults just seemed too standard for me to use at a time like this.
Now, some of you are not likely to have quite grasped the enormity of this crime. I will do my best to illustrate. This person, their name never mentioned in the story or in anything I’ve seen in the news since, took what was once a finely crafted thing of surpassing grace and beauty…
…and turned it into a twisted mixture of shame and tragedy:
This car, in the configuration you see there, has a 16-cylinder engine which produces more than a thousand (yes, that’s 1,000) horsepower. It can go from zero to sixty in a hair over two and a half seconds. This car retails for roughly one and a half million dollars. Let me write that number out for you too: $1,500,000. Its top speed is a little over 250 miles per hour. This car is, in fact, the fastest production model in the world. There have been only a few hundred of them ever built, and now, there is one less.
Oh, yes. In the process, the driver and his young passenger were involved in a 100 mph crash in which their car spun several times before striking another vehicle with several passengers, including a woman seven months pregnant, and then careening at high speed into the trees.
You’ll note that I’ve managed to gloss over the entire human portion of this event in a single sentence, having already spent three paragraphs and a trio of pictures to describe the mechanical part. I went back and read over the news coverage of the event, after I realized that this was what I had been doing in my head. In every case, the focus is on the car. Yes, the people are usually mentioned, and certainly were on the BBC, but on some of the car sites I found covering the story, they weren’t given so much as a passing notice.
I would like to apologize. I yearn to throw myself before humanity and honestly say that I was wrong, and that I’ve seen the error of my ways, and from now on, I will be better. I want to do this, but I can’t. Every time I think about it, I don’t find myself feeling empathy for the people involved in what must have been a terrifying accident. I don’t know them, I haven’t so much as seen a picture of them, and I find it hard to open up my heart to their suffering. The car though, is different. The car touches something primal in me, and seeing it destroyed like this makes me want to rear up and roar like an angry mother bear, clawing at the faces of anyone who would destroy such a glorious example of design and engineering, and leave them bleeding on the cold ground.
Nevermind the humanity. This is a Crime Against Machinery.
Is this the hardware geek in me talking? Is the similar bias I find in the media’s coverage of this event due to a shared sense of reverence for technology experienced by the kinds of people who tend to get these types of assignments? Or is it simply a more basic human abhorrence at seeing something beautiful destroyed? I’m not sure, and I’m not certain I’ll be comfortable with the answer if I ever find it.
For the record, nobody was seriously hurt in the accident, and the foetus shows no signs of injury at all.