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The renewed SUV bash. Kinda long.

In response to Dave Puterbaugh's missive on SUVs, I think the consensus
of the list's repeated diatribes against SUVs is that it's the typical
driver and his/her attitude that's the problem, and it's only
aggravated/magnified by the size of the vehicle. I know some very fine
drivers with good skills and attitude that chose to operate SUVs on
occasion, as I'm sure we all do. The overwhelming majority of the SUVs I
see on the roads around here, however, appear to be operated (and I use
that term loosely) by persons of little skill, poor training, and with
the attitude of the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. 
There appeared in a recent issue of the magazine of the Automobile Club
of So Cal (AAA) a letter from a reader protesting articles and letters
criticizing SUVs and their owners. The writer proclaimed that there were
only two types of motorists: those who drove SUVs, and those that wanted
to. Now THERE'S an arrogant statement if I ever saw one. Remind me not
to drive wherever that guy is. 
Choosing a car of massive proportions because you (or your diminutive
spouse) have a far better chance of survival WHEN you have an accident
(NOT if) is only symptomatic of the progressive degeneration of the
driving skill level of the general American public. It is all but
forgotten that driving is a privilege, not a right, and the sooner that
starts being the guideline by which drivers are licensed the better off
we'll all be. The reliance upon and installation of safety bumpers, seat
belts, air bags, padded dashboards, the little imprints on the right
side mirrors, and a host of other add on has paralleled this decline in
the average level of ability, and the growing unwillingness of society
in general to accept responsibility for it's actions. I suggest that a
pill to prevent or cure traffic accidents would be a huge hit among the
general population. "I don't need to be a good driver, this is a SAFE
(BIG) car" seems to be the thinking of the modern SUV driver. 
I live in a semi rural part of CA, and we get to read about some
horrendous accidents involving "big ol' pickups" and SUVs. People going
too fast for conditions (including their own limited abilities) and
doing stupid things. Hey, Monica Lewinsky rolled her SUV on a busy
freeway just a ways down the road from here. You drive a big ol' hunk of
iron that is handicapped by too much power steering and brake assist,
too much height, the wrong tires for the street, a false sense of
security, an attitude, and a lack of skill, often coupled with a bunch
of undisciplined kids screaming in your ear and beating on each other,
you can't expect to dart around as if you were in a 911, or a Quattro,
or even a Mustang. I'll bet we've all seen 'em try, though.
Ahhhh, its good to be back from the long weekend!
Thanks for listening, John