Friday, October 01, 2004

Taxi Drivers: Arm Yourselves

I've written a number of times about the dangers faced by taxi cab drivers who are often assaulted or murdered(here and here), and OSHA's fact sheet which calls for
  • automatic vehicle location or global positioning systems (GPS) to locate drivers in distress;
  • caller ID to help trace location of fares;
  • first-aid kits in every car for use in emergencies;
  • in-car surveillance cameras;
  • partitions or shields;
  • protocol with police -- owners and police to track high-crime locations;
  • radios to communicate in emergencies (e.g., with an "open mike switch");
  • safety training for drivers;
  • silent alarms;
  • use of credit/debit cards ("cashless" fare systems) to discourage robberies.
But Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, is giving OSHA a hard time for neglecting the most obvious and effective solution: recommending that taxi cab drivers carry guns to protect themselves.
Now, this is a truly amazing and shockingly close-minded admission. You have an OSHA official who says that her agency wanted to "do something" to help make taxi drivers safer. But, the one thing that really would make cabbies safer - allowing them to keep and bear arms - she opposes! In fact, she is so anti-gun that her position is, literally, don't confuse me with the facts. Her position is that even if it could be demonstrated that an armed cab driver is a safer cab driver, she still wouldn't recommend that cabbies be armed.
So taxi cab drivers should shoot anyone who threatens their lives on the job? Hmm, do you think Mr. Pratt would advocate this type of action for any worker whose life is threatened on the job?

"What, you want me to climb down into that 15 foot deep unprotected trench? No way suckah! You put a trench box in there or I blow you away. Come on, make my day."