Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Peak: We must move forward

Well, it’s been three days without any rock-throwing attacks on the Parkway West. More specifically, it’s been three nights since the last attack, which is the proper designation since all of the rock-throwing has taken place at night.

As such, there isn’t much to report, and the major local news outlets reflect this lack of new information. But I’m not a major local news outlet, and this case is still on my mind, so I’m going to keep writing about it until something does happen.

Yesterday the gist of my post on the case was that state police are upping their surveillance of the Parkway West. I think that’s a good idea, particularly since the incidences of rock-throwing became even more dastardly with the appearance of a copycat rock-thrower several days after the arrest of The Parkway West Rock Thrower. With the emergence of copycats, Pennsylvania’s Finest know that the need to crack down on rock-throwing is an even higher priority. The rock throwers must be made to understand that the state police will not rest until it is once again safe to drive on the Parkway West.

I fear, though, that this may be a case where a true feeling of safety is never regained. Jeffrey Angelo Ramous, aka The Parkway West Rock Thrower, terrorized travelers for nearly two years before an aggressive investigation by state police brought him to justice last Thursday. But while we all breathed a sigh of relief and Pennsylvania’s Finest patted themselves on the back, new rock-throwers were plotting to carry the torch for Ramous; on Saturday night our worst fears were realized.

If there is one evil-doer and he is brought to justice, a feeling of safety and security can develop. But when more evil-doers emerge and strike, we are reminded that safety and security are illusions, and we realize that we are never truly safe or secure.

No one who is familiar with this story will ever be able to drive under the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle on the Parkway West at night without wondering if their evening travels will be ruined by a rock raining down from above. In a way, Ramous and the subsequent rock throwers broke more than just windshields when they did their acts: with every rock they threw, with every window they cracked, Ramous and the subsequent rock throwers shattered the confidence of safety that travelers should be able to expect when they drive the highways of this city, this county, this commonwealth, and this nation.

The Parkway West Rock Thrower, and The Copycat Rock Thrower(s), took all of that away with the toss of a rock.

But we cannot bleat like sheep and stray from the Parkway. In this time of terror and fear, we cannot allow the evil-doers to force us onto time-consuming and poorly-maintained side roads. We must rise above the fear that the rock-throwers have caused and fight back in the only way that law-abiding citizen-travelers can: by continuing to drive on the Parkway West.

It will take courage, and it will take perseverance, and some of us may fall victim to the evil-doers/rock-throwers. But we cannot be dissuaded from driving on the Parkway West. In the end, continuing to drive on the Parkway West may well be the only recourse we have against the rock-throwers. We must remain ever vigilant and always aware of the dangers that lurk, but we cannot allow The Parkway Rock Throwers to control our lives.

And at this time of our darkest hour, when we are in the grasp of unseen and unknown assailants, I think we can all take guidance in the words of Anne Frank:

The best remedy for those who are afraid…is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God.

For those of us in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, we cannot allow The Parkway Rock Throwers to take away that place where we can be alone with the heavens, nature, and God:

The Parkway West.

1 comment:

Bram Reichbaum said...

I almost never have to use the parkway west. Well, Airport trips, I guess.

But your plight made me feel like I want to DRIVE the parkway west, go out and visit people, see movies, celebrate the defiance.

During the day, anyway.