The Other McCain

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

What Counts as a ‘Tragedy’?

Posted on | October 7, 2020 | Comments Off on What Counts as a ‘Tragedy’?

Did I mention that I’ve been watching a lot of police chase videos lately? It’s my way of relaxing, tuning out for a moment the continuous drumbeat of political “crisis” messages from the media. There is not an actual crisis in America, but ever since Donald Trump was elected, the media have gone into such a complete panic — “Democracy Dies in Darkness”! — as to agitate their audience into a state of helpless fear.

The only way to avoid being sucked into this vortex of madness is to tune out these messages, and focus your mind on something — anything — that will absorb your attention. You need a hobby, something to distract you from the non-stop insanity on cable TV news.

For me, this is police pursuit videos. As I explained in the case of Mitch Taebel, after watching a few hours of these videos on YouTube “you find yourself developing a thorough hatred of these lunatics . . . and find yourself hoping that the driver either dies in a disastrous crash or is shot to death by cops.” Really, these are bad people, and if they die as a consequence of their evil actions? Well, that’s OK with me.

So it was a happy ending in February 2018, when a convicted felon named Billy Frazier decided to run from Douglas County sheriff’s deputies in my hometown of Lithia Springs, Georgia:

 

Frazier, 30, was doing 69 mph in a 45 mph zone when the deputy first pulled him over. Why did Frazier then try to escape in a high-speed chase? Well, he was on probation, having previously been convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Frazier had a stolen pistol in the car, as well as what police called “a large quantity of prescription medications, MDMA (Ecstasy), cocaine and crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana that he intended to distribute.”

 

In other words, Frazier was a career criminal and drug dealer, and he knew that if cops caught him again, he was going to prison. That’s why he tried to get away and accidentally killed himself in a fiery crash.

So why is that video titled “Georgia police chase ends in tragedy”?

How is it a “tragedy” that a criminal got decapitated by T-boning into a semi trailer rig at high speed? This puzzled me enough that I decided to research the February 2018 incident, which is why I know so much about Frazier’s criminal history. Alas, he was not alone in the car:

A 10-year-old and a man were killed in a car crash that ended a police chase on the evening of February 3.
On Tuesday, Douglas County Sheriff’s officials released details regarding the fatal wreck resulting from a police chase on Thornton Road last Saturday night.
Here is what they say happened:
At 7:45 Saturday evening, Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies noted a gray 2006 Infiniti M35 headed southbound on Thornton Road near Westfork Boulevard doing 69 mph in a 45 mph zone.
The deputy initially pulled the Infiniti over, with both cars pulling into the Quik Trip gas station at the intersection of Thornton and Maxham roads. As the deputy began to get out of his car, the Infiniti sped off, pulling recklessly back onto southbound Thornton Road. The deputy took off in pursuit.
Officials said the pursuit was allowed to continue for about three miles because the Infiniti was driving in a reckless and dangerous manner and because the deputy said the driver was the only person in the car.
The Infiniti continued to weave in and out of traffic on Thornton Road aggressively and at a high rate of speed. After it passed Interstate 20, the Infiniti lost one of its rear wheels.
Officials said the deputy was authorized at that point to use a PIT maneuver to end the pursuit. Before the deputy could do this, however, the Infiniti went through a red light and hit a semi that was crossing the roadway at the intersection of Thornton Road and Riverside Parkway. As it struck the semi, the Infiniti went underneath the semi and caught fire as it came to rest on the other side.
At that point, pursuing deputies realized that there were four other people in the car — all children under the age of 16. The driver, identified as 30-year-old Billy Frazier of Atlanta, and the front seat passenger, 10-year-old Quemontae Frazier, were killed in the wreck. Deputies were able to remove the other three children — ages 6, 5 and 3 — from the burning car and put out the fire. None of the kids were wearing seatbelts.
That is the Douglas County Sheriff’s version of events.
“The car literally went underneath the trailer and then came out the other side,” said Douglas County Sheriff Jesse Hambrick. “It was a very bad accident.”
Frazier was driving on a suspended license and was on active probation at the time of the wreck.

It’s been years since I studied dramatic theory, but as I recall, tragedy was the downfall of a heroic figure as a result of fate. From the standpoint of the Greek classics, then, the basic aspects of the Billy Frazier saga don’t fit the definition. In the vernacular sense, of course, tragedy just means “something bad happened,” and certainly the death of a child is bad.

So the moral of the story, I guess, is that if you’re a convicted felon on probation with illegal drugs and a stolen handgun in your car, you should probably avoid speeding in Douglas County if you’ve also got four kids in the car, including a 3-year-old, not wearing seat belts.

A grim tale? Yes, but less depressing than what’s on cable TV news.




 

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