By Dr. Wallace Schwam. Republished with permission from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
We feared it was going to happen. And guess what? It did. Today, July 14, 2026, on the tenth anniversary of the Nice, France, truck rampage, the President made a stunning announcement. Henceforth, the private ownership of vehicles would be forbidden across the nation. In the future, only the police, the army and government officials will have the privilege of driving.
The government, explained the President, had exhausted all other options. Our nation, it seems, will follow the same route it took years ago when it tried to ban the private ownership of firearms.
The attentive observer might recall the steps that led up to this drastic curtailment of freedom. First, trucks were made smaller so that their impact would do less damage. However, this forced more deliveries to be made causing greater traffic congestion. The vehicles were then limited to two gallons of gas at a time to diminish their range. This measure was defeated by gas hoarders.
Finally, recall the edict that all cars and trucks were to be robot-controlled. The robots, of course, were factory programmed not to hit anything. Oh boy, did the hackers have fun with that!
Can we ever forget the time that, to the horror of their passengers, robo-cars were maliciously re-programmed to hit any sign along the road that said “Drive Safely.” And then there was the robo-bus that hit a dozen people while its mechanical voice dedicated itself to the ISIS motor pool.
Of course, there were always critics of these policies. One of the most vocal was the Cars Yes, Terrorists No movement. The government promptly labeled them a hate group, as banning anyone from driving because they were radicalized immigrants was deemed uninclusive. Alas, when a disgruntled lone wolf turned a gasoline delivery truck into a giant Molotov cocktail, the final decision was made.
The government did away with motor vehicles altogether.
In this endeavor they were greatly aided by the medical group Doctors Against Driving (DAD). DAD conducted a scientific survey asking patients whether they’d rather be kicked by a horse or get run over by a Mack truck. The majority of respondents preferred being kicked by a horse as long as it wasn’t in the head.
Opposing them was the organization Physicians for Responsible Ownership, or PRO. PRO reminded the public of the disastrous attempt at gun confiscation that had failed a decade earlier.
We all remember that when 3D printers started producing firearms, the government finally gave up. To the bureaucrats’ surprise, the next terrorist that opened fire in a café was gunned down by the patrons who didn’t wait for the police to show up.
That’s all for now. I need time to walk to work.
—Wallace Schwam, MD is a retired internist with interests in geriatrics and pharmacology who trained at Duke University. He rated expert in marksmanship in the Army and continues to enjoy hunting and tactical training with handgun, rifle and shotgun.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this…the Onion now?
Onions make me cry.
Onions give me some real, nasty, weapons-grade… er… uhm…
You forgot “tactical.”
Sadly. it isn’t satire, it’s an actual story sent back to us from the future…
Good stuff. Makes you stop and think…
I will say however that this piece reminded me of something interesting.
I wasn’t born at the time (as I wasn’t for most of history actually) but some of you were probably around when the government limited highway speeds across the nation to 55 miles per hour during the 1970’s gas problems caused by the OPEC embargo.
There’s an interesting aside to that sordid tale. Back then people didn’t want to drive 55 but speed traps were a problem. So enterprising folks formed convoys. Well, as anyone who’s ever driven or ridden in convoy knows, communications is a requirement. At the time, you needed a FCC license for a CB radio. The rise in the popularity of speeding convoys gave rise to a massive increase in demand for CB radios and therefore CB radio licenses.
Millions of people applied for CB licenses, all around the same time. The FCC was swamped and unable to deal with the situation. At the same time people were buying and operating CB’s illegally in ever greater numbers. The FCC didn’t have the resources to deal with this before the CB craze started in 1973 and they sure as hell didn’t have the resources to deal with the massive uptick in “illegal” usage. So, what did The FCC do? Something very unusual for government: they gave up. They rescinded the requirement to obtain a CB radio operators license, first for specific channels, then all channels. Then they reduced the cost of a license from $20 to $4. Then they just gave up altogether.
So, in the spirit of peacefully changing the government’s concepts on firearms regulation, and because it’s Friday I leave you in the capable hands of Sammy Hagar. Enjoy.
Well we shot the line
And we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
And eleven long haired Friends of Jesus
In a Chartreuse microbus.
Convoy, C.W. McCall
Hey I was there S9. Got one of 2 speeding tickets ever going a warp speed 67 in a 55 zone. You’da thought I was a serial killer. Didn’t know about the change in CB radios (and they’ll work after an EMP attack with a Faraday cage I believe)…
Unless you’re extremely close to the EMP your car will act as a Faraday cage and if the unit is off at the time it shouldn’t matter anyway.
No need to worry about the antenna screwing you. CB antenna’s don’t work unless they’re grounded, so either way, you should be good to go unless you’re basically at ground zero.
The ‘car as a Faraday shield’ thing only works at effectively DC (lightning bolt) to maybe powerline AC frequencies. CB is towards the upper end of the high frequencies (HF).
With an antenna connected, EMP will destroy it just fine.
On the bright side, if the EMP was strong enough to to pop your CB radio, having a dead CB will be the very least of your problems…
strych9 – The 55MPH nonsense went on until 1995 – so either you’re fuzzy on the date, or I am much older than you think I am.
During the 80s, I went from boarding to being a day student in HS, so it was a 50 mile commute each way. The HP got me a couple of times right around 75-80 – you know, today’s posted speed limit. I remember the safety speech from the patrol copper, it was really hard to keep a straight face, pretend to be respectful, and not explain how wrong he was about the facts.
I became pretty sure the unofficial mandate was to ignore the highway outside the urban areas, unless you were doing something really egregious. Or it was quota time. Because I did about 8 years worth of that drive, sometimes twice a day, and 2 tickets was my grand total.
I didn’t know it went on until 1995. I was 11 in ’95 and not legally able to by myself drive until 2000.
I also lived in the backwood of da U.P of Michigan until 2001. The speed limits there were low because the roads were generally curvy, lined with trees and beat to hell from the winters.
Ahh, a Yooper. Lived in GR for a while as kid.
11? That’s about when we got dirt bikes to ride around, so that our parents didn’t have to drive us. Usually we had a car around 14, though most of us weren’t “allowed” to drive them. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.
I grew up in Houghton. Driving in fields was how I learned to drive around age 12. We had dirtbikes when we were in the single digits.
Driving on the road however was verboten. Houghton has six different LEA’s. Two state police posts nearby, a Sheriff’s department, Houghton Police, Hancock Police and MTU Police. Driving underage or drunk was something very stupid to do. Not a lot of people, very little real crime and way too many bored LEO’s. LEO’s who I later realized didn’t give a shit about your civil rights. More than once I was stopped while walking downtown as a kid and ordered to empty my pockets. No reason. They didn’t even get out of the car, they’d just pull up and be like “Hey, empty your pockets”. Being a kid, I complied.
When I was in high school I told them to fuck off. Big mistake.
Yup, different world. We drove underage (and sometimes intoxicated) and the worst that would happen is that the cops would follow us home, to make sure we got there safely. With an admonition that if we screwed up, they’d tell our parents. Otherwise, it was all good. Kids being kids and whatnot.
Four LEAs? Hokey Clinton Smokes, all those cops with nothing to do but justify their jobs was the problem.
We have far too many cops in this country, and need to slice that number by at least Bill Clinton’s “100K extra on the streets”. They should be doing nothing but responding to calls, unless it’s a really dead period. Then they can write tickets.
Six LEA’s, not four. Yeah, we were overpoliced and someone darkly amusing there was a murder… literally within 15 yards of the local Police Station. Jodi Watts got stabbed up with a screwdriver.
They caught the guy in ’93 solely because he was busted trying to break into an old lady’s house. He was there to murder her. He was a serial killer. He’s known to have committed another murder in L’Anse, but claimed to have killed more and disposed of them in the lake. Done right, those bodies would never be found. None were. That water is connected on both ends to Lake Superior and Superior doesn’t give up her dead (too cold).
After he was caught he admitted to being a serial killer to his priest. All done when the family was out of town. The priest convinced him to confess.
Quote: ” I didn’t know it went on until 1995. I was 11 in ’95 and not legally able to by myself drive until 2000. ”
This explains why there are so many inane comments on this board.
So being “of a certain age” is license to be a jerk?
Actually, there are calls now to ban driving with driverless cars on the horizon. Although why these people never called to ban sports cars and require special licenses based on a “justifiable need” to own SUVS and pickup trucks and demanded limits on horsepower and torque for most vehicles I am not sure.
I don’t know how a driverless car is supposed to behave in the event a SHTF situation (major earthquake for example where what constitutes a road becomes arbitrary) or if you find yourself in day a Rodney King riots situation where you may need to gun the engine and run people over, or ram your way out of a situation. A driverless car that is going to dutifully drive slowly and even stop for the rioters, I would not want to be in. Then there’s if you’re out late at night at a stoplight at a deserted intersection, and suddenly two men with handguns begin approaching your car. Again, you’d need the ability to drive.
But yet people like Elon Musk are saying driverless cars should be made mandatory. Time Magazine ran an article a few months ago saying the same thing. I sometimes wonder if we will see an automotive equivalent of the NRA arise in the coming decades.
“Actually, there are calls now to ban driving with driverless cars on the horizon.”
Yep, heard that recently as well. I think it will be awhile before it’s mandatory, however. They may deal with it by making auto insurance much more expensive if human operated.
We’re still very low on the artificial intelligence (AI) curve. Take this example: You are in an auto-pilot only vehicle one fine day when something happens to a vehicle coming toward you. (Suspension collapse, or whatever).
That vehicle just swerved in front of you, you are about to crash head-on at a combined velocity of 100 mph. Your car’s AI looks for an escape route, and finds it. Only problem is, there is a group of 5 children standing there on the sidewalk.
If your car does nothing, you will be in a likely fatal crash. If the car chooses the escape route, the children will die.
You just paid 80 thousand for that spiffy new car. Should you car choose to save you rather than the children? Should your car act only in your interest?
Aren’t the lives of 5 kids worth more than the old coot? Decisions, decisions.
The problem with AI controlling machinery transporting humans is that even if you throw huge engineering effort to make it respond perfectly, it will invariably find a combination of circumstances that the AI can’t figure out. Airbus has discovered that a few times with their fly-by-wire hyper-automated airliners. Stuff has popped up that has killed people.
Automating airliners is also having the effect of the pilots loosing their hand-flying skills. Flying ain’t like riding a bike. Skills can deteriorate rapidly with lack of use. That’s a real danger when those very skills may be needed to save the plane…
This very thing actually happened during the first Moon landing. The computer in the lunar lander got hit with two variables that it needed to compute and the same time but that it had been designed to only compute one at a time. The NASA engineers had missed that it would need to compute both while landing. So the computer just froze and Neil Armstrong (I think it was him) had to land the craft on intuition.
The overflow was due to the machine being overloaded.
It was due to leaving the rendezvous radar was left on during the descent in case they needed to abort. Leaving the radar on left it didn’t have enough processor to do all the needed for navigation tasks as it wasn’t designed to be on during the descent, while calculating a difference from the planned course that Buzz asked it to do. The computer displayed the alarms that it didn’t have the extra memory for that task, rebooted deleted the lower priority command that Buzz entered and continued with the normal guidance.
At no point was the module on auto pilot (computers weren’t that good back then), and Neil was still relying on the data it was feeding him. If the computer was truly out it would’ve been an abort.
Thank you for the corrections. I do think it still shows, to some degree at least, how computerized systems can run into unforeseen problems.
Let me expand on this with another real example. We use autosteer on a few pieces of equipment on the farm, and even though that technology has been out for a good while now, it still confuses itself occasionally. And that’s just one tractor or combine out in the middle of a field (don’t get me started on how it acts when you’re next to a treeline or something that blocks signal).
Now, imagine thousands and thousands of self driving cars out on the highway, flying along at 80+…one of those has a computer error and makes a hard left across 3 lanes of packed traffic, you can just imagine the carnage. Sure, same thing happens with people driving the car, but typically a person could react better than the computer or at the very least, find a way to avoid the incident that might not have been programmed into the computer.
No thanks, I’ll keep my hands on the wheel and shifter and feet on the pedals…
As for your car scenario, that’s easy: the car should save itself.
Geoff,You’re on the right track. According to the most reliable predictor of future behavior, past behavior, here’s how it will play out (assuming no civilization ending events in between).
Autonomous vehicles will become more ubiquitous over the next 10 years. Tesla is sorta here, Benz has neat stuff in the next 3 years or so, Volvo maybe 5. 15 years from now tops, strippo Hyundais will have it standard. Despite the fact that errors will happen and deaths will too – they will be at a far lower rate than human drivers. Insurance companies will raise the rates if we lowly humans decide to drive ourselves. As most folks get out (forced or not) of their old car for a pre-owned self-driver, then the real fun begins. NHTSA and Traffic engineers will be leaning on the cars – god knows we have no money, political will, or sometimes even space to build newer/bigger/wider roads. But, with computers communicating amongst themselves, traffic signals become a thing of the past. That only works if everybody is in a self-driver. Probably won’t be any windows – people would freak out if they know how close it can all be arranged to flow. They’ll get the view through a screen, that doesn’t show the car crossing the intersection in front of you at 60MPH and you missing it by a foot. The efficiencies in urban areas that can be accrued are staggering – which will no longer be optional as people increasingly move to metro areas.
If civilization continues, it’s inevitable – only the exact timeline, and continuation of civilization are in question.
Mmmm…I don’t think that level of centralized control will occur. If you had gone back to the 1960s and said to liberals will guns be banned by 2016, many probably would have said yes. Surely 21st century America would not still be sticking to that primitive guns nonsense. The future was supposed to be gun bans, socialism, and global government.
I also wonder how these self-driving cars would handle the deep snow that doesn’t get plowed in New York City every winter. I think self-driving will become a feature on vehicles, and eventually a standard feature, but not something mandatory. Too many people just love driving recreationally. It would mean the end of sports cars and car culture, of motorcycles, and so forth.
Also there are still the issues of dealing with criminals, natural disasters, etc…
Kyle, I do so wish that you’re right. The last 100 years tells me otherwise.
I’m all for banning privately owned vehicles in Miami, New York, Boston and on several sections of the I-10.
For the children.
My contribution ‘For the children’ occasionally leads to helping their mother give the kid a younger sibling…
I’m for banning New York, Miami, and Boston.
I’ll second that motion!
And several others….
Chicago, LA, Detroit, Deerborn, MI to name a few.
This would probably seriously help gun rights. Think about it, all the liberals wouldn’t ever dare leave the major cities if they couldn’t drive. Lord knows they won’t ride a horse, or god forbid walk, outside their safe space. Meanwhile the rest of us will lose allot of weight.
In one of Heinlein’s last sci-fi novels, “Friday” from 1982, the wealthy, the connected, the corporations, the cops, had APVs or Authorized Powered Vehicles. The rest of us could hire a horse drawn taxi.
On the plus side, intercontinental travel, for those who could afford the tickets, was by the Semi-Ballistics, basically giant ICBMs with pilots, much faster than flying in aircraft.
What scares me is that this could happen
Do what DAD tells you to do, dammit!