If Ford were a gun company, our betters in politics and the legacy media would be wringing their hands calling for accountability and liability right now. Against all rational thinking, they’d be shrieking on every cable news network that Ford should be sued by the victims of last weekend’s vehicular attack in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where a ridiculously powerful, high-speed Ford Escape killed six and injured at least 60 innocent Christmas parade goers.
They’d tell us that Ford encouraged the criminal misuse of its Escape product through an advertising campaign full of toxic masculinity that explicitly suggests a buyer “MAKE YOUR ESCAPE” with this SUV.
Indeed, this appears to be precisely what the perpetrator chose to do in last weekend’s murderous rampage through the parade route.
Obviously the criminal purchased this particular vehicle as a result of Ford’s testosterone-charged advertising campaign and reckless naming choice. Ford is clearly negligent for creating such excitement relating to the potential illegal uses of this dangerous vehicle and for designing an SUV capable of inflicting such carnage.
Nobody needs a 3,500-pound steel missile — a weapon of mass destruction — just to commute to and from work.
As commuting is the only valid purpose for civilian motoring, single-trip, single-passenger vehicles such as electric scooters with biometric activation are the only form of vehicle that should be legal to sell or own.
Naturally, though, police officers, as civilians tasked with performing law enforcement duties (many of which every citizen has the right to perform), should be the only citizens with access to unrestricted vehicles such as fully automatic Ford Escapes. Also police are racist murderers, but only when we aren’t discussing vehicle laws.
Ford is clearly responsible for the criminal misuse of its product. Yes, the company is selling a legal product through legal means, but it is ultimately Ford’s duty and moral obligation to ensure that criminals or those with potential future criminal intent are not able to acquire its products, whether through a Ford dealership, a used car dealer, a private party sale, or even by theft.
Obviously Ford’s ability to monitor and control sales made after the initial transfer from Ford to a licensed dealer is entirely non-existent, and the company has no ability to control what customers do with its vehicles, but anything that happens after that initial dealer transfer is still ultimately Ford’s responsibility.
No longer can we exempt these cavalier manufacturers of dangerous vehicular weapons from liability for end users’ misuse of their products. We must end the immunity vehicle manufacturers have taken advantage of for too long. No other industry has complete immunity from liability for the misuse of their products like auto manufacturers do. This must end now.
We should likewise identify and hold to account the gas station at which the Christmas parade massacre suspect purchased the gasoline that he so effectively used to murder innocent people. As irresponsibly dangerous as SUVs are, they are rendered impotent without the fuel to power them. The retailer that recklessly sold gasoline to this criminal must be held to account.
In fact, strict controls should be put in place related to the purchase of all gasoline, including background checks, special tax levies, education and permitting, and breathalyzer checks. Gasoline refiners and retailers need to be held financially and criminally liable any time a crime is enabled by the use of their products. For example, the drunk driving incident that made headlines just a few weeks ago.
If Ford were Remington, this is the level of insanity we’d have been subjected to since last Sunday afternoon. Case in point, and case in point…just two examples of hundreds. Attempts to bankrupt firearm manufacturers due to criminal misuse of their legal products were so rampant, in fact, that legislation had to be passed in 2005 to prevent this sort of disingenuous, bad-faith abuse of the tort system.
[Editor’s Note: neither Jeremy nor TTAG believes Ford is or should be liable for the criminal misuse of its vehicles. Obviously. Suggesting that is insane. Unhinged from reality. Yet this same argument persists when the topic is firearms, made and sold legally but misused in criminal fashion. Apologies to Ford for using them in this example; it was just a function of last weekend’s news.]