In the last couple of days, there have been two separate shootings on the 101 Freeway. The shootings are thought to be not related to each other, but it reminds me of what happened in Southern California in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where freeway shootings were all the rage. Another rash of Southern California freeway shootings occurred in 2005, prompting the New York Times to publish an op-ed piece about the psychology of freeway shootings. That story has the best excerpt that explains how everyone feels about the shootings:

Secretly, everyone wants to believe that the shootings have been motivated by violations, however slight, of automotive honor. That would leave the rest of us on our best behavior, which is pretty much where we already are. What we really fear is that they are genuinely unmotivated. If that is true, then suddenly we all live in a very different neighborhood.

That’s exactly how I feel. I would hate to think that everyone on our freeways has only two emotions: rage and repressed rage. The person that survived the second shooting claimed that he did nothing to provoke being shot. If that is so then we live in a different neighborhood indeed. Let’s hope the shootings stop and this isn’t the start of a new trend in the Bay Area.

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