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An open letter to the Tesla fan who wants to run over a kid to prove a point

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Take a deep breath and step away from the car. | Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Dear Tesla fan who wants to run over a kid to prove a point,

Hi, my name’s Andy and I’m a transportation editor. I saw on Twitter — yes, I know, not a great place to see things — that you were going to run over a kid to prove a point. Something about Tesla and Autopilot and some video on Twitter — again, bad place, should avoid — of a test showing a Tesla vehicle running over a kid-sized dummy and you wanting to prove that those tests are bogus and wrong so you were going to try to run over a real kid to prove your point.

So I thought I’d write you this letter and say this:

Don’t.

Don’t do that.

Really, I would totally just not do that. Don’t force a kid to walk in front of your 2,000-pound metal box traveling at god knows what speed just to prove a point to some dummy on Twitter who posted a thing and got you all mixed-up in the head.

Don’t put a kid’s life at risk to win a Twitter fight.

I see you’re a big fan of Tesla and Elon Musk, with whom you seem to have a pretty cordial relationship on Twitter. That’s very nice! I’m glad you have friends on the internet. You seem to have a lot of them. 129,000 followers! That’s way more than me. Congratulations.

Maybe your test goes well. Maybe the kid lives and your point gets proven and the people you were trying to prove wrong are so embarrassed they turn into corncobs. But I can’t help but worry that some of your many followers will see you tweet about running over a kid with your Tesla to prove a point and think, “Hey, I could do that too!” And maybe their tests don’t go well. And then oops, dead kids.

You’re a big fan of Full Self-Driving, the Tesla driver assist feature that sounds like an autonomous driving system but isn’t because it requires the driver to stay vigilant (as you’ve noted). You want to prove that it’s safe, despite all the safety experts and consumer advocates who say it’s not. I’m glad you like your car’s cool new technology. But it’s just a thing in a car. Kids are way better! They say weird things and giggle at dumb jokes and can be really cute sometimes. Let’s leave the kids out of the Twitter fight, yeah?

I get that you think Full Self-Driving is completely safe and you really want to prove that point to your followers, and based on your personal experience, it seems to be true. But I think you’re confusing your own anecdotal evidence with statistical evidence, which is an informed logical fallacy. Don’t worry, people do this all the time!

Let’s leave the safety tests to the experts, yeah? Every day Tesla and other companies working on driver assist and autonomous driving tech perform thousands of tests and drive millions of miles. There are better ways to get sempai to notice you that don’t involve harming children. Anime Photoshops, weed jokes, COD memes. Our guy is an open book. And you basically wrote the manual for how to get Elon to reply to your tweets!

I don’t know whether you’re serious about running over a child, but online threats have a way of manifesting as real-life disasters and I would probably hate myself if I didn’t say anything at all. A lot of kids die in car crashes every year, but the numbers are going down. Let’s keep it that way.

So please. Pretty please. Don’t run over the kid.

Sincerely, a guy who saw you wanted to run over a kid to prove a point and thought that was a bad idea.

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ssweeny
5 days ago
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I can't believe this needs to be said, but...
Pittsburgh
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Pirates owner Bob Nutting is buying Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider & Mead

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Mr. Nutting will take over the Strip District distillery and North Side cidery/winery under the business name of Pittsburgh Spirits, a sister company to his Highland Ventures.

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ssweeny
7 days ago
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😭
Pittsburgh
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Whoops, we forgot women could still vote

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We are chastened, and we won’t repeat this error.
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ssweeny
14 days ago
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Pittsburgh
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Enginomics

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
The second step is to get the cartoonists to leave town.


Today's News:
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ssweeny
23 days ago
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Pittsburgh
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3 public comments
ReadLots
23 days ago
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Wow, nailed it.
jlvanderzwan
23 days ago
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Sounds great, just make sure that moving there is a one-way ticket. In a few years Blockchain City will have collapsed into an "Escape from New York" like hellscape full while the rest of the world is finally freed of those damn ugly apes.
Lythimus
23 days ago
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Re: Making cartoonists leave town. Just make it so the coffeeshops ONLY accept crypto.

The Best Camera

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The best camera is the one at L2.
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ssweeny
35 days ago
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Pittsburgh
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Pregnant woman given HOV ticket argues fetus is passenger, post-Roe

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Brandy Bottone was recently driving down Central Expressway in Dallas when she was stopped by a sheriff at an HOV checkpoint to see whether drivers had at least one passenger in their vehicles.





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ssweeny
38 days ago
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Only seems fair.
Pittsburgh
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