Takata Air Bags Bad… Government Air Bags Good!

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Probably the most interesting thing about the (can’t help myself) exploding Takata air bag scandal is the doublethink it exposes.air bag lead

On the one hand, we are told – in the literal/parental sense – that we will have air bags in our cars (like it or not) because not to have them is an unacceptable risk and “unsafe.”

Notwithstanding that when air bags were being developed back in the ’70s (and rejected by consumers, when consumers still had the freedom to choose) the manufacturers of air bags told the government of the very real risks to people’s safety that air bags posed.

Nothing is perfect in this world – and that includes technology, which includes air bags. They can save – and take – lives.

And have done both of those things.

The manufacturers of air bags warned the government of the risks, of the pros and cons. Specifically, of the risk to unbuckled and smaller stature/older people and young children posed by these explosive projectiles. The manufacturers urged caution – which the government in its usual way ignored. It was not government’s “safety” that was being put at risk, after all.

It was yours and mine.

With the predictability of the tide coming in, people were hurt – and some killed. Their lives were, of course, mere statistics – as Stalin liked to style it. No one in the government – none of the you-will-do-this-our-way- period – bureaucrats within the DOT/NHTSA regulatory apparat were ever so much as fined for their deliberate, knowing (and thus, by definition) criminal recklessness and negligence with other people’s lives. Joan Claybrook – to name just one name. She was head of NHTSA from 1977-1981 and one of the chief “nudgers” of air bags, knowing full well the risks involved (having been told all about them).

She retired on a full government pension. Have a nice day!

Which brings us back to Takata – the supplier of the defective air bags that sometimes spew shrapnel at high velocity into the faces of hapless motorists who were never given the freedom to say “no thanks” to these Claymores in the dashboard.air bag pic 2

Takata is to be raked over the coals – and possibly, company officials actually held responsible – for the harm caused by its products.

This is fabulous. It’s a sound idea to hold people responsible for the harm they cause, especially when the harm is caused with knowledge beforehand, as seems to be the case with regard to the defective air bags. Takata – people within the company (as well as people within the car companies that bought the bags and installed them in their vehicles) apparently knew there was a problem – a big problem – but did the shove-it-under-the-rug thing and let’s hope no one notices. They deserve to have their feet held to the fire.

But why does that never happen when it comes to the reckless/criminal negligence of the government? Why are government incompetents and worse allowed to destroy innocent people’s lives with such impunity?

Remember: Every single person who has been injured or killed by an air bag never had a choice. Was forced to accept the government-mandated Claymore in the dashboard and assume all the risks that entailed. Including the risks posed by the first-generation air bags (circa early-late 1990s) which “deployed” (that is, exploded – it’s what air bags do) with tremendous force whether the person facing the bag was sitting too close or too far away, was a fragile old lady or an infant. The government knew – because it had been told by the engineers –  that these first-generation bags were very likely to harm and yes kill some people. But government bureaucrats, arrogant beyond a normal person’s capacity to grok, dismissed these risks as incidental.air bag 3

That is, dismissed the lives of those who would be maimed and killed by their arrogance as incidental.

Only government gets away with such brazen disposal of other people’s lives. Gets to glibly decree who lives – and who dies – without any personal consequences whatever.

And then whoops with outrage when a private company does the same damned thing.

The vast majority of Takata’s air bags have not spewed shrapnel in anyone’s face. Just a (relative) handful of them.

Six, so far.

Plus about 100 injured.

This is fewer people than were killed by the first-generation air bags, which the government knew beforehand were dangerous.air bag 4

Yet the first-generation air bags were never recalled. No “safety” hearings were ever held. The government even fought tooth and nail to prevent people from disabling their Claymores in the dashboard via a cut-off switch, though this was eventually (and very grudgingly) conceded.

The murderous hypocrisy of government is quite something to behold. Say what you will about Takata, at least they didn’t force you to buy their defective air bags. It was the government that forced you to buy their defective air bags.

But it is Takata – and its officers – who will be held accountable. Pot, kettle, black.

There will be ever-more-hysterical recriminations, the recall will expand (it now includes not just Japanese-brand vehicles but also Fords, Fiat-Chryslers and BMWs, too; see here for more and to find out whether your car is involved) and very possibly some people will be fired, fined and one or two may even see the inside of a prison cell.

But not one of these people will be employed by DOT/NHTSA.

Because they get to hurt and kill us with impunity.

And, indifference.

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  1. It’s funny (funny uh-oh, not ha-ha) that the natural law of consequences doesn’t apply to government.
    The State does X – mandate airbags, implement social security, control “healthcare”, form an army, run a police force, establish a War On XYZ, etc… Pick your poison and your level of The State, it really don’t matter.
    X proves itself to have negative consequences, much of the time murderous, but always there and widespread.
    The State sees the consequences and determines what’s needed is more of X, not less.
    And the cycle continues ad infinitum.
    Worse, because the average yob has been indoctrinated in State schools and has no wish to break out of those mental chains, they believe the propaganda from The State. Oh sure, they convince themselves that their cause du jour is something The State has no right to be involved in (be it drugs, guns, healthcare, business, marriage, etc…) but YOUR cause “Hell yeah it should be regulated by The State!!”

  2. Friend of mine had an airbag incident just last week. Hit a (large) pavement break going a bit too fast, and the bags fired. Totalled the car and left him looking like he’d had the rough end of a bar fight. Saaaaaafety.

    • Art, I tried to post this but don’t think it was a success. i turned a corner as sharply as I could in a Volvo road tractor. I had a big load and there was no way to avoid a big hole. There was tape wrapped around the airbag/horn assembly and it gave up right then. The entire thing popped off into my lap. Once able to survey the situation, I saw a wire with with a male connector on the airbag and another coming off the steering wheel with the female connector. I grabbed some electrical tape and taped off both connectors, stuck the airbag back on so I’d have a horn and felt much better about it. Months later that tractor had an ‘event’ with with a Northern Pacific train. The front end was wiped off. The air bag did not deploy. I didn’t notice or think about it till much later since I was running away as fast as I could.

  3. “Why are government incompetents and worse allowed to destroy innocent people’s lives with such impunity?”

    Because that is the essence of government. It conveys impunity. As Bastiat put it:

    “What then, is the common denominator to which all forms of socialism are reducible, and what is the bond that unites them against natural society, or society as planned by Providence? There is none except this: They do not want natural society. What they want is an artificial society, which has come forth full-grown from the brain of its inventor… They quarrel over who will mould the human clay, but they agree that there is human clay to mould. Mankind is not in their eyes a living and harmonious being endowed by God Himself with the power to progress and to survive, but an inert mass that has been waiting for them to give it feeling and life; human nature is not a subject to be studied, but matter on which to perform experiments.”

    Without impunity, how could they perform these experiments on us? It would be impossible.

    When air bags first came out, my Dad used to joke that if the government really wanted to save lives, instead of an air bag they should mandate that any accident would cause a spike to come up out of the steering column to impale the driver! The point being that it would provide incentive for them to drive carefully. Little did he know that that essentially was what was going on (with exploding air bags instead), but unfortunately the incentive provided is backwards. The people are told the air bags will protect them, thus giving incentive for them to speed up and become more careless. At least the spike would have got them to slow down, and bad drivers would have gotten off the road…

    • My father noted somethign similar…
      The air bag “solution” tended to protect the wrong people.
      The drunk who T-boned someone else, for example.
      Drunk is OK because of airbag; car he hit, people are killed.

      The person on the cell phone? Damaged (dead cell phone), but OK. The people hit on the corner of the vehicle? Whiplash, spinal injuries, aibag of little help if it even deployed.
      Or the car ends up under another vehicle, such as a semi… But the cause of the accident walks away without a problem, because the accordian that was a car provided the necessary stopping power…

      Incentives are DEFINITELY backwards. Why we cannot allow these animals (not people) to keep populating our planet.
      Remember, man was given domain over ALL the animals, including Homo Erectus.

  4. I can see why the car industry has expanded the use of airbags. With 8+ of these things in every new car, the likelihood of an otherwise perfectly good vehicle getting totalled by the insurance mafia after a fender bender due to high cost of replacing said airbags is pretty high. Which means more new car business for the automakers.

    • I recall my dad desperately trying to find an over-priced(they gouge when a vehicle is popular)’94 Chevy pickup. The rumor was the ’95 was going to be more expensive due to airbags…..and they were. He could have saved a grand or more if he’d bought one a year earlier.

      I’d buy a ’93 Turbo Diesel tomorrow if they’d make one. More room and a nicer interior than anything since plus no computer. I’d buy a used one tomorrow if I could find one.

    • Safety and fuel economy regulations are opposed to each other. The former demands more weight the later demands less weight. Airbags weigh less than the steel to achieve the crash performance required.

  5. Despite all this the federales still insist on even more air bags in new cars. Isn’t Einstein’s definition of insanity repeating the same action while expecting different results? except our masters don’t give a rat’s ass how their edicts affect the lives of us mundanes, just do it because they say so, just to remind you of your status in their eyes. So much for your saaaaaaaafety.
    My Corolla is on that list, so I disconnected the air bag right at the igniter; doesn’t bring up the idiotic “check engine ” light, and still passed the annoying annual saaaaaaaaafety/emissions inspection.

  6. I was going to share this to some friends but I can’t with that photo…that looks like an execution not an airbag!!

  7. Maybe you should (as you mention to some degree) Eric the Air bags.

    “Claybrook’s Claymores”

    Has a nice ring don’t it?

  8. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander….
    Meet them at a BBQ, douse them in lighter fluid and light ’em on the way out.

    And do it with a clear conscience, as such beasts by definition (indifference to others’ pain) are not human, and ARE evil.
    There is no reasoning with cancer (or evil). You root it out and destroy it, always – or it consumes you.

  9. Here’s what happened to an unlucky Audi owner:


    Or maybe he was lucky. That could have been his face.

    Your government statistician will tell you the net gain in lives saved is “worth” the loss of lives due to airbags. What they will likely gloss over is the dramatic advances in brakes and handling that help to avoid accidents in the first place (or at least reduce the impact velocity). When I think back to some of the s***box Dodges my dad bought in the 1980s and their drum brakes it’s a wonder we were able to stop at all. Or the minuscule brake pads that GM used in the 1990s, guaranteed to burn up and warp the rotors after 20K miles.


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