A loss of air in return for lots of hot air
Was chuffed to hear about the group of Paris campaigners against four-wheel-drive vehicles, who call themselves the Deflators (Les Dégonflés). They are going around letting down the tyres of four-wheel-drive vehicles (SUVs), a campaign that has been stepped up since the local authorities wimped out of banning the monsters from the city.
SBS reports: "The group has promised to make a video of its tyre strikes available on the Internet within the next month with the aim of inspiring the same action in other French cities."
Now I can hear all the complaints now:
1. That must be illegal.
No, according to a report on BBC Radio Five yesterday (not on the web), it isn't, since no damage is caused. (Legal note: This is the case under French law; it may not be the case elsewhere.)
2 You're inconveniencing "innocent" people.
Oh no they're not - these are people behaving in a thoroughly anti-social manner. Society is entitled to extract a penalty from them for that. Teenagers who behave in an anti-social manner are forced to spend their weekends picking up litter; having to pump up your tyres and not being able to get where you wanted to go instantly might provide a good time for a little reflection on your behaviour.
As one blogger puts it: "La guerre du macadam est ouverte."
In case you still don't realise how bad they are, from yesterday's Guardian:
"4x4s are responsible for 43% more greenhouse emissions and 47% more pollution than the average car. You are 27% more likely to die if you are hit by a 4x4 than by an ordinary car. But, bizarrely, you are also 6% more likely to die if you are an occupant of a 4x4, because 4x4 drivers, feeling invulnerable, drive faster."
More about Paris anti-4x4 campaigns (in French) here. The British campaign, as yet rather more restrained, is here.