Tuesday, May 13, 2014

General Motors Is Responsible for 13 Deaths

I’m still waiting for GM to be held accountable for the 13 deaths and 31 crashes their faulty ignition switches caused. Why are we still talking about it? Why is there a need for an investigation? We know the cause and the consequence of their actions. We know who was in office during this time and making the decision not to recall all cars affected by the problem. GM kept selling cars all the while knowing the risks and the dangers not only to the drivers but to innocent passengers and others on the road. Let’s figure out a good punishment to fit the crime already.

The GM recalls just started in March of this year, 2014, but the cars in question were made in 2005 to 2007. These cars had ignitions which could shut off during driving and prevent air bags from inflating. GM was aware of the problem. Even as people died due to this defect, they sat around and did nothing for a decade. In fact they were “concerned” about the cost to fix the faulty ignitions . . 57 cents each. This year 6.26 million cars have been recalled. One of the mothers of a girl who died estimates the deaths to be closer to 29, with most being under the age of 25. It makes me sick because I can imagine many parents of college students buying their children new cars and sending them off to college. You do that so your child will be safe on the road. You do that for peace of mind. We bought our daughter a new car in 2008 and luckily we went with a Honda. We didn’t want her driving long distances in a car that was several years old with a lot of wear and tear on it. It gives me chills to think we could have just as easily purchased a GM car for her.

Now we have endless investigations and probes. There are executives retiring and being transferred or even being fired. The parts necessary to “fix” the problem became available April 7th, 2014 with repairs starting the same day. No one knows why it took so long to initiate a recall. Gm is sorry. They are working on making amends. They hired a consultant to figure out how much each of the victims or their families should be paid. They replaced their CEO in 2013 with a woman who claims she knew nothing about what has been going on the past decade. How convenient. This way she can’t answer any relevant questions and play dumb.

And guess why this has all been made public knowledge? It’s not because GM suddenly wanted to do the right thing. No. In fact, who knows how long this would have gone on if it hadn’t been for a lawsuit that was filed against them. “The defect was not disclosed by GM nor was it discovered by government regulators or transportation safety agencies. Instead, public knowledge came about because Lance Cooper, a Marietta, Georgia attorney who sued GM on behalf of the family of a woman who had died in a crash, obtained thousands of pages of documents from GM and took the depositions of several GM engineers. According to Sean Kane, the president of a vehicle safety research firm, Cooper "single-handedly set the stage for this recall.”

And what will ultimately be the punishment? Fines? Payouts on lawsuits? Will there be no criminal action taken on those who knowing allowed these cars to be driven despite the potential for loss of life? They call that “depraved indifference” in the law don’t they? I compare this to a bartender who is held accountable if he serves someone too much alcohol, leaves his bar too intoxicated to drive and gets in an accident. Why is he criminally responsible and the individuals at GM not?

Enough talking. It’s time for action. We don’t need to give them time to hire the best attorneys out there to try and down play or weasel out of their accountability. We don’t need to allow them time to calculate in dollars and cents how much each life lost was worth. We don’t need to listen to their excuses as to why they didn’t act immediately when they discovered the problem and allowed more people to die.

Maybe it’s time to shut down GM altogether?

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