by Bruce O’Hara 

April 16, 2923

My elder son Daniel turns sixteen in December. Soon he and his friends will be old enough to drive. It’s time to talk with him about risk lotteries.

Risk lotteries are different from regular lotteries in that, when you ‘win’ one, you lose.

The game of Chicken is a classic car-based risk lottery. Two cars drive directly at each other as fast as possible. The first one to turn away loses the game. If neither turns away, they both ‘win’ that particular risk lottery. I figure Chicken is the Universe’s way of removing macho teenage idiots from the gene pool before they can procreate.

I trust that my children, and their friends, are way too smart to play Chicken. But they are probably not immune from taking part in lesser risk lotteries: driving too fast, driving under the influence, showing off, perhaps even street racing. Those risk lotteries can kill you just as surely as Chicken.

I tell my kids there are two things that are important about risk lotteries. The first is to tell the truth about the risks you are taking. Minimizing the risks – telling yourself the driver has only had a ‘few’ drinks, that they are a good driver so it’s not a problem that they are driving too fast, or that you’re almost home so it doesn’t matter – all those rationalizations can get you killed.

Forty years ago, I worked a driver with Victoria’s Handicapped Recreation Society. One of our clients was a young man we’ll call ‘Jamie.’ On his eighteenth birthday, Jamie celebrated his attainment of the legal drinking age by going out drinking with his friends. On the way home there was a terrible accident that left Jamie a quadriplegic.

I’m sure Jamie must have railed against the unfairness of the Universe. It was his birthday for Christ’s sake. He wasn’t even the impaired person driving the car. He was only a few blocks from home. None of that mattered.

As a quad, Jamie could talk, and watch TV. We would take him to movies. There was very little else in his life. He lived in a care home. His sex life consisted of making lewd suggestions to my female co-workers. All because one fateful night he bought a ticket in a risk lottery.

The second thing about risk lotteries is that you want to buy as few tickets as possible. I tell my kids, if they realize the person driving a car they are in is impaired, they need to get out of that car as soon as possible. If necessary, pretend there’s an emergency: ‘My Gawd, did you see that? Stop the car!’ I have told them they can call me any time of the night and I will come and bring them home. I’d far rather that than to get a call to come to the hospital – or the morgue.

I’m thinking today about risk lotteries because the macho teenage delinquents who work at the US State Department are still playing Chicken with Russia in Ukraine. The latest escalation is finding out via the Pentagon leaks that US soldiers are covertly on the ground in the war in Ukraine. How many times can the United States government escalate in Ukraine without going over the brink into World War 3? And if World War 3 starts, will it be possible to prevent it from going nuclear?

There are some who have finally decided to get out of the car. Emmanuel Macron, recognizing that the US Government is now also playing Chicken with a nuclear-armed China, has told the US in no uncertain terms: if you do something stupid in China – you’re on your own. France won’t be part of that idiocy.

Saudi Arabia has also gotten out of the US car. They’re selling oil in Chinese yuan. They’ve made peace with both Iran and Syria. They’ve asked to join the BRICS alliance.

China and Brazil have dumped the US dollar in mutual trade. So have India and Indonesia. Every week, more countries are deciding that it’s probably prudent to avoid the US dollar as much as possible.

Last week, Canada’s Defense Minister Melanie Joly declared that the end goal of the war in Ukraine was regime change in Russia. Joly is right about one thing. Regime change is required. Vladimir Putin is roughly twice as popular with Russian voters as Justin Trudeau is with Canadian voters, or Joe Biden is with American voters. We need to vote both Trudeau and Biden out of office before their insane game of Chicken goes any further. The future of everyone on the planet may depend upon it.

Just get out of the car!

P.S: Our vacation in Mexico was great fun, and my wife’s injuries are healing fast.