The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

My Brother Shut Down Atlanta?

Posted on | February 1, 2014 | 63 Comments

Cosmic fate: My brother Kirby was trapped on I-285 during the big weather-induced disaster in Atlanta.

He had to get his driver’s license renewed, which required him to go to the Department of Vital Records — on the east side of town near Buford Highway — to get a copy of his birth certificate. He left on his way back to Douglasville about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, deciding to take surface streets in an effort to avoid gridlock on the expressways.

It took him nine hours to travel less than 20 miles — via Moores Mill Road and Atlanta Road — to reach the RaceTrac gas station at the intersection of South Cobb Drive and East-West Connector in Smyrna. The scene inside the convenience store was like a refugee camp. Stranded motorists were sleeping on the floor.

After gassing up, buying a sandwich and beverages, Kirby made the fateful decision to heed the advice on the radio: Take the interstate, because they’ll get those cleared before they get to the byways. Going south on I-285, he reached the Chattahoochee River bridge before traffic completely gridlocked.

“We didn’t move an inch from midnight until 7 o’clock the next morning,” he said, and once traffic did start moving, it took him more than five hours to make it the rest of the way home.

So it’s Kirby’s fault.

Fate conspired to subject him to this Herculean ordeal, and all the other people who got trapped in that icy mess were just collateral damage, so far as Fate was concerned.

And I tell that story because some idiot has written an article — at Slate, where else? — blaming the Atlanta Ice Jam of 2014 on racism.

Racism! Of course, that explains everything!

Racism is the Swiss Army Knife of explanations, the duct tape of social science. If you ever encounter a problem that seems to have no obvious explanation — boom! — racism explains it.



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  • JeffS

    Yup. Exactly my point. When you need an emergency plan, you need it bad.

  • vkigus

    School buses here in Gwinnett County start picking up at 6am. A 4am change in the forecast isn’t a lot of time for that kind of decision-making. And it’s easy to say to just keep your kids home, but that’s an unexcused absence from school. Any work that was supposed to be turned in or tests taken during an unexcused absence can not be made up. High school grades matter if you need the HOPE scholarship.

    There were so many things that went into this fustercluck that there really is no simple answer. (People saying that the problem was idiots driving too fast on snow and ice are my favorites. Driving too fast was so not the issue for Kirby, or my husband who sat immobile on Peachtree Industrial for 4 hours.)

  • Finrod Felagund

    When it’s 90F in 4-5 months and you’re complaining about the heat, we’ll be laughing at you. It gets to 90F almost every day in the summer here.

    Oh, by the way, it’s currently 70F here in Atlanta.

  • Quartermaster

    When a McCain is out and about, it can’t possibly be by natural causes.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Georgia hasn’t gone for a Democrat for President since Bill Clinton in 1992.

  • Quartermaster

    This sort of thing has been happening for a very long time in Atlanta. I was there in ’84 when 0.75-1″ of snow did the same thing. It’s not just a matter of rarity, it’s a matter of utter incompetence of the Atlanta area governments.

  • Quartermaster


  • Bob Belvedere

    The government guys would have just made things worse, so you were better off, methinks.

  • Bob Belvedere

    The same problem has been happening up here in the Nor-East. The Governors send all the workers home at, say, Noon, but strongly urge towns and private businesses to do the same – and they do. Hello traffic nightmare. There’s no damn reason for it, but, then again, most of the Governors up here [except for Maine] are all friggin’ Bolshes.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Props for the Paco reference.

  • JeffS


    But Paco is merely the current custodian of this meme. It started on Tim Blair’s old blog, back in the day.

  • JeffS

    That makes perfect sense. Unfortunately.