We're just numbers to the traffic vans
By Bob Krauss
Road rage over traffic-van speed traps is the closest thing Our Honolulu has ever come to a riot. It probably tells us a lot about ourselves. But what?
There hasn't been so much public indignation on display around here since the Hawaiian Revolution.
Remember when the city spent $6 million on security to protect against violence at the Asian Development Bank conference? Then it didn't happen.
On the face of it, the speed traps make sense. Every time I drive to Wai'anae speed limit 55 mph, cruising at 65 cars zoom past as if I'm standing still. No wonder people get killed. So what's all the fuss about?
It's time to slow down.
Frankly, I don't think this has much to do with speeding. It's a lot more complicated than that.
Ever since Sept. 11 we've been getting bad news. We've been patient and patriotic. We've suffered in silence while Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines merge. Now the Aloha Tower Marketplace is bankrupt. All you can do is grit your teeth and smile.
Maybe the white van on the highway to check up on you was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
But there has to be more to it, something that's unique to Hawai'i. After all, speed traps are nothing new in the United States. They're used all over the Mainland. After the initial resentment, things cool down.
Here, even police officers are outraged. A Mainland official confessed that's a new one on him. It's another example of something unique to Hawai'i.
All over the country, things happen without fuss or bother. But here, the public rose in outrage when the Star-Bulletin teetered on the verge of extinction; a group wanted to save the Columbia Inn; and now there's the Citizens for Competitive Air Travel, a group of Hawaiian Airlines employees opposed to the merger.
Why do some of these things happen here and not in other places? I think it's because there are some things that are just part of the family. You don't just turn your back on a relative because he's broke.
We have to look into what makes us tick, why we live in Hawai'i in spite of the cost of living.
Here's a clue:
Personal relationships assume great importance in Our Honolulu, probably because we're less mobile than Mainland communities. You get to know people and it makes life more fun.
That's why I get so annoyed at things like new security measures. At The Advertiser we have to show our magnetic cards every time we enter the building even though the guards got to know us after a week or two. It's an insult to have to show our cards as if we were robots.
What's the advantage of living in Hawai'i if you're a number?
That's what makes people mad at that van parked along the highway.
Bob Krauss can be reached at 525-8073.