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


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

Hi, my name is Andy and I’m a transport editor. I saw on Twitter — yeah, I know, not a good place to see things — that you were going run over a child to prove a point. Something about Tesla and Autopilot and a video on Twitter – again, bad place, should avoid – of a test showing a Tesla vehicle being driven on a child-sized dummy and you wanting to prove these tests wrong and bogus, so you were going to try and crash a real child to prove your indicate.

So I thought I would write you this letter and tell you this:

Don’t.

Do not do that.

Really, I wouldn’t do that at all. Don’t force a kid to walk past your 2,000 ton metal box traveling god knows how fast just to prove a point to some idiot on Twitter who posted something and got you all confused.

Don’t put a child’s life in danger to win a fight on Twitter.

I see you are a big fan of Tesla and Elon Musk, with whom you seem to have a rather cordial relationship on Twitter. It’s very nice! I’m glad you have friends on the Internet. You seem to have a lot. 129,000 subscribers! It’s more than me. Congratulations.

Maybe your test is going well. Maybe the kid lives and your argument is proven and the people you were trying to prove wrong are so embarrassed they turn into corn cobs. But I can’t help but worry that some of your many followers see you tweeting about running over a kid with your Tesla to prove a point and thinking, “Hey, I could do that too!” And maybe their tests aren’t going well. And then oops, dead children.

You’re a big fan of Full Self-Driving, Tesla’s driver assistance feature that looks like an autonomous driving system, but not because it forces the driver to stay alert (as you noted). You want to prove it’s safe, despite all the safety experts and consumer advocates saying it’s not. I’m glad you like the cool new tech in your car. But that’s just one thing in a car. Children are much better! They say weird things and laugh at silly jokes and can be really cute sometimes. Let’s keep the kids out of the fight on Twitter, shall we?

I understand that you think fully self-driving is totally safe and you really want to prove that point to your followers, and from your personal experience, that seems to be true. But I think you are 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 security testing to the experts, shall we? Every day, Tesla and other companies working on driver assistance and self-driving technology perform thousands of tests and drive millions of miles. There are better ways to get senpai to notice you that don’t involve hurting children. Anime Photoshops, weed jokes, COD memes. Our guy is an open book. And you basically wrote the manual on how to get Elon to respond to your tweets!

I don’t know if you’re serious about running over a kid, but online threats tend to manifest as real disasters and I’d probably hate myself if I didn’t say anything at all. Many children die each year in car accidents, but the numbers are falling. Let’s keep it that way.

So please. Pretty please. Do not crush the child.

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




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