Sunday, May 6, 2012

Media and Speed

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‘Mislead and misinformed’ is the public of today. Mass media affects public opinion drastically; they take issues and twist them to become something more tragic then they really are. Street racing is about as old as the car, yet it’s also poorly understood by the general public, the media and even by some criminologists. The media, even though they have a lack of some understanding, seems to know everything, and all that they know seems to be true. Taking simple incidents, and warping it to be more suitable to entertain the public, even though it can give information that is not true, is how the media broadcasts their news. Public relation wizards concoct and spin the news, which control our political debates and public opinion, twisting reality. The media often creates unreal fears in criminals, foreign peoples and countries, and illegal street racing. They focus their news on crimes, deaths, and disasters instead of the positive aspects.

Street racing has been in our lives for years, and today it has become one of the mainstream attractions followed by young men and women. Their ages range from fifteen, to twenty-five, or older. As the years have passed vehicle related accidents have increased. How many of these accidents can be directly related to street racing? Investigators suspect dozens of traffic deaths can be attributed to street racing, although Gunn said statistics are hard to prove. Without actually being at every accident that happens and recording it, whether it is a street race or not, will be hard to prove. The media has developed a sense apprehension in the public about street racing.

Illegal street races are very organized and occur in deserted industrial zones between the hours of 1000 p.m. and 400 a.m. However, there are those that race on roads with traffic during peak traffic hours, creating a bad reputation for street racing. The police started to catch on to the late night illegal street racing, and in-turn the city invested millions of dollars to set up sting operations to try and eliminate them. This battle has been going on for years, with little effect. No matter what the police do, there will always be cars racing on the streets. These illegal street races are very organized. Finding an adequate road that is long enough to go ¼ mile and have a safe enough distance to stop is found. There are people that scout the roads for debris, or any other obstacle that can endanger a driver. Markers are set up at the beginning and at the end of the track; these markers are extremely visible to help the drivers avoid any disasters. On the contrary, to many beliefs, the presences of alcohol or drugs are slim to none. However, there is an occasional can of beer or joint of marijuana. Vandalism seems to have no part in the street racers agendas. Street racers share some of the attributes of youth gangs, being socially exclusive and very territorial. Street racing is more of a transitional period for today’s youth, because participants usually continue to race for no more then two to three years.

Racers spend any where from $10,000 to $5,000 on their cars. Many receive huge fines, and tickets for traffic violations. The majority of people that race are either employed full or part time, or is a full time student. This sets apart other forms of juvenile crime. The people that work hard to pay for the modifications for their car generally do not steal. They even hold second jobs, just to get their car to perform to their needs. Racers sacrifice a lot of time to accomplish their goals, which in-turn makes them really appreciate their car.

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The people that go to these races are usually only there to watch, generally eighty to ninety percent. Usually the spectators are in the process of building their own race- ready vehicle.

Street racers look forward to the organized, illegal street racing on weekends due to the lack of legal venues. These legal venues only hold once a month or at most one day out of the week for the dedicated racers to race legally. Street racers are essentially legal racers who have been forced onto the streets because of the lack of facilities.

If we continue to let illegal street races strive, when we can come close to eliminate it by constructing legal venues for the street racer, how will our society react? Having legal venues will help reduce the participation and therefore help lead to a safer environment. The mass media contributes to the publics biased opinion on racers, making them seem like an average gang member, which is involved with drugs and vandalism. Racers go to illegal races to have fun and race. If committing illegal actions is the only way to suppress their desire to race then they will do it, for there is no alternative. Except that one time a month or week ‘meet up’ at the illegal venue. Overall we create our own problems, and solving them needs to come from the minds of people that are involved with the problem, and with the media playing a deceiving role it’s hard to accomplish this task.

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