Will it be instant death or instant fame? Street racing has never been as lethal as it is today, and its popularity is increasing. This blog is not in defense of this activity, but is intended to highlight impending deaths. There is no partiality; just a heads-up to the dangers. However, various sectors of social media are used to fuel competition between rival car groups that come from all over the state.
Out pacing the cops, social media posts tag the spontaneous races. Just as quickly though, media posts change event meet-ups to avoid the law. But that’s not the primary focus of social media. Followers tout online “wars of words and video clips of racers performing on their home turfs,” states writers from the La Times, Queally and Cruz, “it’s the likes and followers that’s driving the increased street racing on our streets and the crowds, too”. Racers are staging more daring and risky tactics to gain more followers and likes at the event – filmed, of course. Death is very near and this raises the fan base.
Sadly, the internet is peppered with images of fiery crashes, and non-descript images of used-to-be cars. It’s hard to imagine anyone surviving these crumbled masses of steel. Hmmm, I wonder if anyone posts these horrific crash images on social media outlets. Youtube was the preferred manner of communicating these race videos until they were flagged as violating company policies. Instagram has become the current media choice. Video postings last only 24 hours, making the racers hard to find and prosecute. Last year over 984 races occurred in LA, 179 have died since 2000. Recently, a young woman and her unborn child died not as by-standers, but as riders in the back seat (see video below) of a race car.
Holy smokin’ tires – what a tragedy!
What can be done to stop this craziness? There is an old adage and it goes something like this, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Can we reduce this foolish, life-risking event to our young and bravado youths, after all, racing is considered another ‘high’ probably. Irwindale Speedway has allowed its facilities to accommodate some of these racers. However, it still remains a true blood sport, and it’s getting worse as crowds and rivalries continue to swell – Gladiators on wheels!
By Sharla Esparza