Whoops-a-Daisy is an expression heard more often in the UK than in America, where like most of the English language, it has been abbreviated to “Whoops” or even further to “Oops.
Recently when Republican Presidential Candidate, Rick Perry couldn’t remember the third government agency he would abolish if he were president, he offered up “Oops” instead.
The saying apparently dates all the way back to the early 1700s and it is thought the original saying was Ups-a-Daisy, exclaimed as you picked up a child who had fallen down. The whole purpose was to let the child know that it was no big deal; it was okay, the child was safe. Even today oops means, “Sorry I screwed up, no big deal.”
This morning I read an article on Gothamist titled: “Here’s why drivers get away with murder in NYC.” It was a report on a meeting the New York City Council had with the NYPD. It appears that more New Yorkers are killed by motor vehicles than are murdered by guns.
It struck me that when it comes to deaths on our streets and highways there is a Whoops-a-Daisy attitude; sorry someone made a mistake and someone died, oops, no big deal.
Thank God that the NYC Council is at least addressing the issue. Councilmember James Vacca, kicked off the hearing by declaring,
"We don't accept gun violence as a way to die, and we shouldn't accept traffic deaths either."
Can we have a loud Amen to that?
If someone is murdered by gun or any other means; the person responsible is hunted down, prosecuted, and in most cases goes to prison for life.
Last year in NYC 241 pedestrians or cyclists were killed by drivers. Only 17 of the drivers responsible faced criminal charges. That means that the other 224 deaths were given a “Whoops-a-Daisy.”
When asked how many criminal charges were filed against drivers in non-fatal accidents, the NYPD reps said they were not aware of any.
It appears only fatal “Accidents” are investigated in NYC; if you end up spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair, you didn’t die, so no investigation or consequences for the driver responsible.
Back in 2009, an unoccupied delivery van left idling on East Broadway in Chinatown jumped a curb and killed two preschoolers as their class was coming back from a field trip. 17 people were injured in the incident, which was deemed an accident. The driver was not charged or even issued a ticket, sparking enormous outrage and rallies demanding a new law that would criminalize such carelessness.
Called Hayley and Diego's Law, it's named after 4-year-old Hayley Ng (Picture right.) and her 3-year-old classmate Diego Martinez.
Sponsored by Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Senator Daniel Squadron, the law was intended to close a loophole in that allowed a driver who had caused injury or death to avoid punishment.
Under the amendment, "drivers who act in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger a pedestrian or cyclist thereby causing physical injury or death shall be guilty of a traffic infraction.
That was back in 2009, and the deaths of these two children is now a distant memory, and the outrage of the time has died down. So what happened to this law that was supposed to protect vulnerable road users like the 224 deaths last year that were not prosecuted?
The NYPD says judges have repeatedly thrown out these charges on the grounds that an officer has to personally witness the accident in order to file the charge. And because traffic court judges have been throwing out "careless driving" tickets, the NYPD says they've instructed patrolmen not to issue them.
What a crazy fucked up world we are living in. Even when people try to do the right thing and pass laws to protect people, someone screws up and the law is rendered useless.
Sorry Hayley and Diego; Whoops-a-Daisy.