Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Bag Ban Manifesto


Introduction

“Single use” plastic retail bags are banned in Fort McMurray.  This is the result of a passionate 2 year crusade by 16 year old Sean Graham who watched a documentary at his school and got a 2000 person petition and brought it to city council.  Reasons for the ban are somewhat vague.  Melissa Blake implied on the RMWB website that it is to reach the RMWB’s goal of reducing waste in the landfill by 50% by 2012.  Sean’s reasons seem to be based on the environment and seems to focus on the landfill and the manufacturing process used to create the bags.  There was very little opposition to the ban made to council, save for one fellow who made some seemingly feeble arguments that the law would unjustly impact the poor in the community who relied on public transportation, or walking to and from the grocery stores as well as concerns about shoplifting.  So the ban passed with politicians and environmentally minded citizens feeling good that they are doing there part to green up the community, and those that may not like the ban keeping there yaps shut afraid to be painted as an anti-environmental.  After-all the evidence that a bag ban is good for the environment is overwhelming…isn’t it?

I’m going to present the contrarian side of this issue.  I don’t buy that this ban is helping the environment…in fact I think I think its causing more damage to the environment, so I’ll present some arguments from pragmatism.  I’ll also argue from a moral position that the use of force is not a legitimate way to solve social or environmental problems.  Finally I will offer up some viable solutions that might actually make a real impact on decreasing waste and therefore reducing environmental impact.

A Pragmatic Argument

Anytime a law is passed there are unintended consequences.  For example drug laws are aimed at decreasing problems associated with drugs, but, we all clearly see that these laws only create violence, more dangerous drugs and victimize drug addicts and users.  I will try and highlight a few obvious unintended consequences based on some very basic research and logic.

First this bylaw outlaws ‘single use bags’ like the light plastic bags used at grocery stores.  Implied is that false assumption that these bags are only ever only used once.  How many people use them to line small garbage bins or pick up dog-doo etc.  Ireland recently banned these types of bags and found a 400% increase in sales on thicker less environmentally friendly plastic garbage bags presumably because consumers no longer had light grocery bags at their disposal to recycle as poop bags and garbage liners. 

I couldn’t find any information on how much of our landfill is taken up with these plastic bags, however, they represent 0.4% of California’s landfill volume.  That’s all plastic bags mind you including heavy garbage bags, which, I imagine make up the bulk of the 0.4%.  Even if council banned all plastic bags from the city it would make a pretty dismal dent in our landfill usage.  So as a method to reduce our landfill usage by 50% (Mayor Blakes implied suggestion for the efficacy of this regulation) it seems a terrible waste of time and effort. There doesn’t appear to have been any pre or post regulation audit of the landfill to see whether the ban is making any impact in landfill usage.

It’s also interesting to note that plastic mining technologies are starting to take off.  There are currently plastic mining companies that are scouring landfills and collecting plastic to convert into petroleum products.*  They do this because it is economically feasible…they can make money at it as oil becomes scarce and oil prices go up. This fact alone should put to bed a lot of the critics of plastic bags in landfills.  The fact that they don’t break down is a positive because they can eventually be mined out of landfills and reused. Could it be that landfills are the best place for plastic bags…I mean they are all there in one convenient location.

It could be that the ban’s goal is to reduce litter in the community and it certainly seems like there are less bags blowing around town. Studies I came across showed that plastic retail bags make up a miniscule amount of litter in communities as well and litter audit in San Fransisco before they banned plastic bags showed that retail plastic bags made up 0.6% of all litter.  In Toronto it was 0.1% and in Florida it was 0.7%. In a recent Edmonton litter audit retail plastic bags made up 1.3% of litter.** So in terms of litter reduction it seems to be a small impact as well. If we were serious about curbing litter we would ban all paper and fiber products in the region as this comprises about 50% of litter in audit studies I found in other cities. Banning paper would probably be considered ridiculous by most people and it should be, the sale and use of paper is not the problem and it would be silly to punish people who use paper responsibly. Perhaps rather than punishing the people responsibly using these materials the litterbugs should be targeted.

Now I want to turn my attention to these reusable bags that people are forced to use.  The assumption is that they are more environmentally friendly because you can use them over and over again.  Is this really the case?  Do we know what environmental impact these bags have? We do not. Nobody appears to be measuring. Here are some of the things we would need to measure, compare and contrast to determine whether the environment is receiving a net benefit from using these bags:

·        Green house gas emissions from
o       Manufacturing bags
o       Transportation and distribution
o       Manufacturing technology and factories to make these bags
·        Emission of pollutants/toxins in manufacturing processes
·        Amount of energy and resources required in manufacture
·        Litter and waste produced in the manufacture of these bags
·        Litter Audit
·        Landfill Audit
·        Bag Reuse Rate
·        Energy, soap, and waste produced by bag washing

Measuring these things directly would be difficult if not impossible and may not account for every unintended effect of this regulation. Luckily price tells us all sorts of information about the amount of energy, resources, labor and infrastructure required to bring the product to market because it is a direct reflection of these things in aggregate. We are paying $1-$1.50 for these bags which is anywhere from 20-100 times more than we were paying for the plastic bags before. A Wall Street Journal article cited that the most common reusable bags shipped from China take up to 28X more energy to produce than regular plastic.  Wrap your head around that.  Even if the bag is made up of recycled materials all sorts of virgin resources had to go into the making of that bag…at least 28X as much in fact.***  This doesn’t even include the cost to ship it.  These bags are generally about 10 times heavier and have a greater volume than the thin plastic bags and so you can tack on increased energy to ship them as well. 

Cursory math says that I would have to use the bag at least 20-100 times before it has a net benefit to the environment. So another necessary metric would be how many times the bag is reused. My experience has been that I don’t always have a reusable bag with me when I need one and so I am continually buying new ones and throwing out the growing surplus I accumulate…sorry bout that environment, maybe the RMWB can pass some more laws and hire more enforcers as these unintended consequences pile up. This population is very transient with up to 20,000 people staying in camps. I often see these people purchasing bags, what do they do with them? Take them back to Newfoundland when they leave to make sure they get at least 28 uses out them? Do they squirrel them away in a safe place or give them away to friends or even give them a seconds thought in their busy lives? An interesting metric to me would be to see how many customers are buying bags during a day in a grocery store if its more than 1 in 28 or 3.5% of customers (its probably closer to 1 in 60 or <2%) then we have a problem…the environment is taking a shit kicking.

Lets suppose you are a good conscientious citizen that thinks this is a fantastic initiative despite everything I’ve presented. Once you have the bag the energy consumption does not stop.  Anybody who has bought meat at the grocery store knows that those lovely juices usually spill out of their packaging. In fact the RMWB’s web-site itself encourages frequent washing of these bags as if treating and heating water, running a wash cycle, using soap and draining water doesn’t have an environmental impact itself.  Suddenly these bags don’t seem to be all that environmentally friendly. 

I wonder if anybody bothered to tabulate the human cost to this endeavor as well.  How many man hours was spent on this campaign….this is not an insignificant thing.  Time is one of our most precious and scarce resources on this planet, and to think of all of that resource of time wasted on an endeavor that may well do the exact opposite of it intended purpose is a shame. Municipal employees spending time on useless endeavors aren’t just wasting time and money, they are paying an opportunity cost in lines of work that could be productive and make a real positive impact.

But, maybe it wasn’t all a waste.  I’ve noticed that I feel better when I recycle…even though I know that rationally I’m probably not benefiting the environment.  At the end of the day it seems that much of environmental activism is emotionally driven.  What we’ve done here with this law is provide our community with a much needed injection of self-esteem.  After all our community has taken its brunt of environmental criticism…this ought to help alleviate our environmental guilt and make us feel like we are making some real environmental contributions. At the end of the day the only metric that matters in politics is popular opinion. This is why a recent public review of the bag ban was aimed at measuring opinions not any measure of actual effectiveness at reducing harm.

A Moral Argument

Its important that we remember that anytime a law is passed it is backed by lethal force.  This sounds crazy and shocking, but think about it. What are the logical implications of a store owner disobeying and resisting this law. According to the bylaw he can be fined $1000 a day.  This means money that he has earned rightfully through voluntary exchange with customers can be taken from him by force, this is called theft.  If he refuses to allow his property to be taken from him eventually people with guns will come (aka Peace Officers).  If he defends his property from being taken, or his business from being interfered with he will be met with equal or greater force.  Of course it would be ludicrous to try and defend against this initiation of force. The path of least resistance is to just comply with the overwhelming force, just like it would be silly to try and resist a knife wielding bandit who demands $5 from you… it’s best to comply with threats of violence.

It would be extraordinary to claim that the initiation of force is moral, because this is a principle that cannot be universalized.  This means that it is immoral to initiate force against anybody else.  Politicians and police officers are supposed to get their right to govern and enforce laws from the people.  The act of voting supposedly delegates a citizens authority to the people in government.  So how is it that the people in government end up with authority that no man has…in fact doing so is always a violation of self-evident human rights. In this case it’s the right for men to engage in voluntary exchange with each other. If I do not have the right to point a gun at a store owner and tell him to cease and desist what he is doing with his bags, then neither does government.

While I’m arguing that its immoral to initiate force against others, I’m also saying that a person has the self-evident right to defend themselves and by extension their property…especially to the degree to which that property is used to allow them to provide a means to live and flourish…no other man has a right to destroy or take that property because it interferes with an individuals ability to live and flourish.  So lets see how we can apply these principles to effectively solve this environmental problem without resorting to violence.

Solutions

If I had a problem with plastic bags littering my property from other people dumping them or carelessly littering I would have every right to hold them accountable and have my property restored.  So at a minimum I would have the right to have the litter bug come and clean-up my property and restore it to its original state.  I would not have the right to go to the bag manufacturer and get restitution, they didn’t litter on my property, I wouldn’t have the right to go to the store and ban them from selling the bag.  My beef is with the person who owned the bag and littered it.  So it seems crazy to me that merchants and consumers are automatically paying the price for criminal litterbugs.  If it’s a litter issue the litterers should be targeted, if it’s a landfill issue the landfill users should be targeted.

How do you target the landfill users.  Well to start with you stop funding the landfill with extorted money (aka taxes).  You allow it to become a private enterprise where competition can come up with cost effective and environmentally effective ways of disposing or recycling waste.  You allow landfill users to bear the actual cost of disposing of garbage. People are accountable for their own decisions and actions and therefore should bear the cost of them. According to the RMWB budget the unaudited Landfill Operating Budget was over $18,000,000 in 2008.  If this is accurate it represents between $500-900 per household of funding. The landfill expansion is costing us $24,000,000 which represents over $1000 per household.   I imagine industry pays a huge portion of this cost, because the landfill is only a fraction of the municipalities operating budget.  If it really costs that much per household to run a landfill, we are seriously generating garbage. Right now people who generate small amounts of garbage are funding people who generate large amounts of garbage…and industry is subsidizing all of our garbage disposal with their higher tax rates.  The costs of dumping are not born by the individual landfill user, oh sure we pay a small $10 fee when we bring a load to the dump (the last 2 times I went it was actually free), but, this does not accurately reflect the actual cost of disposing of garbage.  If we had to bear the cost as individuals of the garbage we generate and dispose of…as we rightly should…we may find new motivation to reduce and reuse things.


I also want to take some time to address the guilt many of us in this community have. You can see hints of this guilt in one of our RMWB council members quotes in a national paper, “As a community we're very strongly environmentally conscious. Frankly, we get a bad rap. Fort McMurray is associated almost singularly with oil sands and the external media tends to focus on the negative rather than what is being done and what is positive. Right from industry right down to the mother who's doing the shopping, we're always looking at ways at improving our environmental footprint.”  Clearly he echoes the sensitivity our community has about our status in the world.
Common in environmental activism rhetoric is that humans are sinful creatures and extreme environmentalists seem to advocate a world without humans. One environmentally conscious friend of mind suggested in a blog that Gaia was showing signs of eliminating its human parasites. It strikes me as self-hatred being projected outwards onto others, this is what humans do, we unconsciously project our inner world and anxieties on others. There is something wrong with feeling the need to defend ourselves against the mischaracterizations and lies of people who are selling their ideology and not interested in hearing what we have to say anyways. We shouldn’t feel the need to respond to bad press and lies, we should be telling the good news about the natural resource we have under our feet and how it is benefiting the world.

I think we should feel proud to be up here and in this economy.  We do this world a major service by producing the lifeblood of an economy. Energy consumption is required for all life to survive and flourish. Until alternatives come along, oil is needed in developing countries to bring them out of stone-age poverty, it is needed for human life to flourish.  Human life is not innately sinful, we are not the scourge of this planet, we are its caretakers, we are its greatest achievement, we are by virtue of having prefrontal cortexes its consciousness…we are the culmination of billions of years of simple systems becoming more complex and developing self-awareness.  Eventually we will kick our need for oil, and will continue to find new and better ways to steward the eco-system we rely on to survive, but right now oil is needed for our species to survive and pick itself up out of dirt  and squalor and we ought to be proud that we are helping our fellow humans out through the production of oil products.  The ramifications of stopping so-called “environmentally unfriendly” practices are that many millions of people suffer.  By some peoples definition this is environmentally friendly…not by mine, people are a legitimate part of the environment and this is definitely unfriendly to them.

Like garbage and litter, drug addiction is also bad. Common sense would say that passing laws banning these substances would be a good way of preventing their negative social effects, but decades of drug prohibition tell a different story, these laws actually contribute and add to the problem. Portugal legalized all drugs a decade ago and has seen a decline in addiction rates ever since. Instead of using guns to get people to change their behaviour Portugal is treating it as a health problem and connecting with the hearts and minds of the individuals to create sustainable change from within. The lesson here is the sustainable environmental and social change comes from first letting people be free to change, then connecting with them, hearing their needs first so that you can be heard and being open to learning…now put down your guns and lets talk.

*http://nonewplastic.com/mining-landfills-for-plastic/
**http://www.savetheplasticbag.com/ReadContent606.aspxhttp://www.edmonton.ca/environmental/documents/LitterAudit2011.pdf
***http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122238422541876879.html

http://m.reason.com/26819/show/e00e3084d013a4d10ee0aef12827fbed/

Monday, 7 May 2012

Keyano and the Arts - A Philosophical Perspective

I really love art. I see art as not only the sigh of the oppressed creature, but also the also the song of the ecstatic creature and everything in between. As an owner in Epic Productions I produce art. When I'm home and feel inspired I play piano, guitar and sing...this is art, at least to me it is and in the end that's all that really matters. As a lover of art I was alarmed when I read a FaceBook post about the axe falling on the VPA program at Keyano College. Especially alarming were the rumors of ill treatment towards those that lost their jobs. Long time staffers being given 15 minutes to clear out and then being escorted out by security certainly doesn't paint a very flattering picture of Keyano College administration.

Then came a response from Keyano that seems all kinds of reasonable and flatly denies the whole "15 minutes" rumors and frames the situation in a different light. More responses come from critics refuting Keyano's framing of the situation leaving in the wake all sorts of muddiness around the issue of the Arts in Fort McMurray and Keyano College's role. As an outsider (outside of the VPA circle) I am thouroughly confused about what the truth is. Proponents of the program are framing the situation in a way that villianizes Keyano and emphasizes the importance of the VPA program (culture is going to take a turn for the worse), and Keyano spokespeople are framing the situation in a completely different way. So who is right and who is wrong, or is that even a legitimate question?

Untangling the problem of 'The Arts' in Fort McMurray requires a bit of philosophy. I like to start with first principles, axioms that are internally consistent and irrefutable.

Axiom 1 - Self-ownership.
I own myself and as an extension those material things that I mix my physical labor with or acquire through free exchange. (ie. I whittle a statue and trade it for beans) Self-ownership and property acquisition at some level are how all biological organisms survive and flourish.

Axiom 2 - Non-aggression.
This follows from Axiom 1. If I own myself it is wrong for someone else to initiate force against me. If I take another human beings property or harm him, I diminish his ability to live and flourish.

These are universal axiom's, they apply to everybody. This means I do not have the right to take your property (money) away from you or harm you and therefore can neither delegate this right to another person. Individuals in government therefore do not have the right to take money or property from people for any reason, not even to fund the arts. The men in government cannot possibly have been delegated this right if no individual has this right to delegate to a representative. Violence is wrong, it is evil and anything funded by violence may be wonderful in the short term but is not sustainable in the long term and in fact corrupts the very problem it tries to solve.

We have this idea that abstractions like institutions, governments, corporations, are actual things...they are not, they are simply mental constructs that at one time may have helped us understand material reality but now more often than not interfere with our perception of reality. We can describe a group of people working towards a common purpose as Corporation X and it can be a useful abstraction that can help us communicate, but as soon as we ascribe agency to Corporation X like it is a person that has consciousness and a mind we have chosen an illusion over reality, we have elevated a mental abstraction over a flesh and blood human. If I say to a person who is one of the individuals comprising the group called Corporation X, "The Corporation does not approve of your work." What am I saying? I am saying the Corporation exists in material reality, it has a mind, I know what its mind is, and it disapproves! This is an extraordinary claim that used to be the purview of only the priestly class. Of course what I am really saying is that I disapprove and I want you to do things my way and I am invoking the power of the Corporation to try and control you, you are my human resource in the same way the desk is my non-human resource. Similarly, art is an abstraction that can either illuminate or distort reality.

Philosophical first principles quickly slice through the mud and recognize as illegitimate, any mental construct that sanctions the use of force against another flesh and blood human. These principles recognize that the only legitimate way to connect with fellow humans is through voluntary association, this is the heart of community, egalitarianism, charity, justice, order, free-enterprise, and I would argue proper art. Proper art should not separate us from the source of life but rather connect us to what is alive and enrich our life and so I see art that is produced at the expense of another persons life-force, no matter how miniscule or well intentioned, as a parasitic abomination. You might as well be forcibly extracting blood from a person and painting your canvas with it. The artist shouldn't call for forced blood donations and then distance himself from the crime by saying "I didn't commit the violence it was the enforcer that we all recognize as legitimate that took the blood."

The beginning of wisdom, according to an ancient Chinese proverb, is to call things by their true name. The euphemism "publicly funded" really means money taken from its proper owners under threat of violence (threat of imprisonment, or ultimately death if they resist imprisonment) and directed to a special interest groups preference. A "publicly funded" College ought not to exist from an ethical stand-point. Austrian economists like Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Walter Block explain very clearly why the cost of education is rising and becoming less accessible and it has everything to do with public funding, but, that is a lengthy article for another time. So using force is not only unethical it doesn't work. Ayn Rand makes a good point when she says that which is not ethical is not pragmatic either.

Degree's and formal education are becoming far less important to employers now. As the owner of a company that produces art I can tell you that I could care less what your University credentials are. Your work, attitude and expertise speak for itself. This is not only true of art "credentials" but of any degree really, including medicine or law. It matters not what credentials an institution bestows upon you it matters what value you can deliver to the customer: Can you cure my disease doc? Can you resolve my dispute esquire? Can you inspire me artist? Information is freely available to any motivated aspiring artist and this is how most people learn to create art. Institutionalizing beauty can only ruin it.

As an artist I am often my own customer, but other times I produce art for consumption by others. I know my art is valued by customers because they pay me for it, sometimes with money and sometimes with applause and sometimes with a personal word of appreciation. It is always a win-win proposition, I get something I value more than what I give up and so does my customer. If nobody values what I produce I am not entitled to have an enforcer (regardless of whether popular opinion thinks the enforcer has legitimacy) take money, applause or appreciation from the morons who don't get my art and don't know what's good for them. There are certainly times where I have produced bad art that has caused disconnection and has caused me to reflect and inquire and has been a source of personal growth and learning for me...this is how artists grow and art begins to move in the right direction towards connecting people with life.

So to me the question about who is right or wrong in this debate is a distraction. Both are right and neither is right. Keyano College, like any publicly funded institution, does not have the right to exist. It is a repugnant and corrupt idea that force is required to make society function, to obtain an education, and to produce art. Art is a natural byproduct of the human experience and will be produced regardless of whether force is applied or not. The most beautiful art is connected with the source of life and leads to truth and insight. As force is applied to culture the natural byproduct is art that disconnects us from the source of life and it becomes an expression of domination and self-indulgence. In my opinion this is why team sports (the art of the masses) are so popular, they are ritualized symbolic warfare that reflect the tribalism and domination memes that pervade our modern culture, a byproduct of the systemic violation of the non-aggression axiom. They are a distraction from noticing what is beautiful and important and life sustaining and they provide an opiate to numb the pain of cultural oppression. Like morphine for a toothache bad art relieves pain but doesn't cure the rot.

I don't want this blog to be taken as a moral lecture or a judgement on people enrolled or invested in the community college, I work for government and so can't credibly cast stones if I wanted to. I want this to be a call to artists to connect with the life source, to illuminate the path to truth and insight, to shake our dogmatic paradigm, to notice what is life affirming in their art and seek feedback. I want to call an end to the petitioning and lobbying for the use of violence to support the arts...please, let us put away the guns of government. This is a real opportunity for growth. There are many voluntary, peaceful and positive ways to keep the Arts as you prefer them alive and well. Artists are creative people and can think of a myriad of solutions and possible connections. I would be willing to lend my time and company resources to a mentoring and training apprenticeship to young artists and provide them with opportunities for employment and provide a voice and a medium for experienced artists to use. I can't be the only one who sees the possibilities here, there are plenty of resourceful people who are ready and willing to nurture art. Message me if you see the possibilities.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hwy 63 Speeders - Defending the Undefendable

Here's a critical thinking question: Would reducing the speed limit to 25 km/hr on Hwy 63 and enforcing the shit out of that speed limit with zero tolerance lead to a safer highway?

I mean if its true that "Speed Kills" and "We Need More Enforcement" then it should follow that reducing the speed to near parking lot speeds and strictly enforcing this rule would lead to a safer highway right? Wrong, the data indicates that the road would actually become much more dangerous.

The reason that setting and enforcing artificially low speed limits is unsafe is because it is not congruent with rational principles. It fails to recognize the fact that most people have reasonable and prudent judgment, do not want to crash, and want to reach their destination in the shortest time possible. This is why every single driver is guilty of breaking speed limits, because they understand that they can usually safely drive faster than the speed limit and reach their destination faster. Setting up a speed limit below the speed that drivers will naturally drive at sets up a dangerous speed differential between law-abiders and everyone else.

Lets go back to the thought experiment. Imagine a person driving a naturally safe speed down Hwy 63 closing fast on a convoy of law-abiders driving the 25 km/hr speed limit down 63. Would they get impatient? Might they take risks after 10, 15, 30 minutes behind this convoy? Would it be fairer to characterize them as dangerous drivers or characterize the enforced rules as dangerous?

As a paramedic who has responded to a decades worth of carnage on this highway I am probably more motivated than the average citizen want a safer 63. It is not fun coming face to face with gruesome preventable deaths. If you've ever had to walk 100 meter stretch of highway with a flashlight and a shovel to pick up brain and skull material and place into a body bag you'll sympathize. In light of the recent tragedies on Hwy 63 there have been calls for increased enforcement of speed limits on Hwy 63 as an interim solution. I caution against rushing to this solution as it may backfire.

Consider this; from 2001 to 2005 there were 25 fatalities on Hwy 63*, then our enforcement on the Hwy increased drastically in 2006 with the advent of the Provincial Sheriff's, from 2006 to 2010 there was nearly double the fatalities at 46**. Now any good scientist will tell you that correlation is not necessarily causation, however, if fatalities doubled at the same time enforcement doubled it should give road bureaucrats pause to call for increased enforcement of speed limits. If the 100 kph speed limit is a dangerous rule then it would follow that adding enforcement to it will increase the danger and the data backs this thesis for Hwy 63.

Here are some of my recommendation about what can be done right now to make Hwy 63 a safer highway:

1) Reroute wide loads down 881 if possible and if not only send them down 63 during the lightest traffic days and prohibit them from travelling during poor visibility. The idea is to minimize speed differential by decreasing the number of vehicle exposed to these slow moving behemoths.

2) Change the speed limit to what the data and safety experts say is the safest speed, the 85th percentile***. An engineer needs to study the highway to see what speed 85 percent of people naturally drive at or below, I would predict that this would be close to 120 km/hr. This will allow law-abiders to drive at a faster naturally safe speed and keep up with the flow of traffic and again minimize speed differential.

3) Target dangerous driving instead of safe drivers. Right now its likely that the majority of enforcement activity actually targets some of the safest drivers on the road. Research indicates that those driving 10 mph below the average speed are more likely to get in an accident than those driving 5-10 mph above the average speed****.  So if we reasonably assume the 85th percentile speed is 120 km/hr then those travelling at 130 km/hr are among the safest drivers on the road. Dangerous driving involves activities that threaten the rapid deceleration of another vehicle (note its deceleration not speed per se that kills), things like crossing into oncoming traffic, swerving around erratically, driving 30-40 km/hr below the flow of traffic**** etc.

As a community we are understanably angry right now. Post-traumatic anger is blind and dangerous, just ask 1 million dead Iraqi's who paid the price for America's post-911 anger. Our instinct is to project our anger onto the 'other', in this case the crazy asshole driver, instead of learning about our anger. This will result in more deaths. Obviously twinning the highway will drastically improve safety. I can think of few fatal accidents that I've attended on Hwy 63 that were not caused by collisions with oncoming traffic, roll overs and ditch spin-outs tend to be far less fatal events. Until the twinning happens we can apply the light of reason, evidence and rationality to make Hwy 63 a calmer and safer environment for motorists.

*http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=1ade6e44-1f45-4769-b554-c2ccc80c769e&k=96617
**http://beaconnews.ca/calgary/2012/05/twinning-highway-63-proceeding-at-snails-pace/
***http://www.motorists.org/speed-limits/safety-setting-limits
****http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_curve