Guest Post: What A Pound Of Cure Really Costs

(This one’s from TTAC veteran contributor Thomas Kreutzer… welcome back, Tom! — JB )

Last week, Pamela Anderson was accused in the media of “victim blaming” when, in response to a question about sexual predation in Hollywood, she told NBC reporter Megyn Kelly “It was common knowledge that certain producers or certain people in Hollywood are people to avoid, privately. You know what you’re getting into if you’re going into a hotel room alone.” Later, in answer to mounting criticism, she doubled down on her statements saying: “I’m trying to tell women as a survivor of childhood abuse myself – It is important to be proactive as an adult who knows better – in defending themselves. Don’t get in cars with strangers — #rideresponsibly — Don’t go to Hotel rooms alone for an audition.”

Her message, essentially that people should look out for themselves, is similar to advice I used to give to new motorcyclists when I moderated the New Riders’ Forum on some years ago. “When another vehicle wants your place on the road, get out of the way.” That’s what I would write, but then, as now, some people didn’t want to hear it. Their motorcycles, they argued, were licensed vehicles and were entitled to their place on the road. Other drivers who encroached upon their space were violating their rights and, they assured me, they would not yield in the face of such provocation.

I see a similar train of thought at work in the heads of the pedestrians in my community. Usually they are Americans assigned to the local military base and they walk around utterly confident in their right to step into the road without so much as a glance to the left or right. Recently, I commented on their willingness to risk their lives so frivolously to my friend Gavin, the local Australian who shares many of my adventures, and was surprised to find that agrees with their mindset. “They have the right to do that,” He said, “If you hit them, it’s your fault.”

Technically, he’s correct. The clueless pedestrians in my neighborhood are fully within their legal rights to wander out into traffic and, if I hit them, it really will be my fault. By the same token, motorcyclists have a legal right to their place on the road and, should they be struck by another vehicle, that vehicle will also be at fault. Finally, Hollywood starlets, too, have the right to go where they will. Should they enter the hotel rooms of a bathrobe-clad movie moguls and suffer molestation, their assailant is the one who is clearly in the wrong.

It’s great that our legal rights are inviolable and that the guilty party is so clear cut. Because of their right to be in the street, the pedestrian I accidently strike will get paid off by my insurance company. Thankfully, money will not be an issue while his wife and children cry over his hospital bed and during the long months of his rehabilitation. The motorcyclist who was struck by an encroaching vehicle, if he survives, will receive his own payout and, if he is lucky, the settlement may include a little extra to cover the cost of his gear and the modifications he’d made to his bike. With that in his pocket, perhaps he can fantasize about how to spend it while they use forceps pick the gravel from his skin and apply a soothing cream to his road rash. The starlet, I assume, will get great satisfaction from reporting her assault to the police and seeing her assailant face criminal charges. She may also enjoy a period of withering public sympathy and the right to sue for damages. Assuredly, these will help her cope with the myriad of feelings that will likely follow her for the rest of her life.

I am sure that, given the choice, the vast majority of those who have had to invoke the rights listed above would prefer not to repeat the process. While the uninformed are free to debate the issues, real victims understand that the pound of cure they may have received as compensation is nowhere near the value of the ounce of prevention they failed to use. A simple pause and a glance towards the oncoming car before stepping into the street, the application of the brakes and a shift into another lane, and the thought that, even though he is a movie mogul, it might not be a good idea for young-and-vulnerable me to go to a man’s hotel room on my own are small things that could have prevented a lifetime of pain. The way I see it, Pamela Anderson is right when she points out that people need to protect themselves. She’s not trying to blame the victims, she’s trying to prevent new ones. I hope people listen.

31 Replies to “Guest Post: What A Pound Of Cure Really Costs”

  1. rwb

    Well, that would require one to think before acting, taking into consideration one’s motivations and the potential real consequences and this, as we all know, is boring and hard.

    Good to see you writing.

    • silentsod

      I think there’s a widespread set of cultural mores, at least in pop culture which is what’s pushed and consumed at large, that believes a victim can do no wrong and is always completely without fault. I am inclined to say it’s a result of the assault on humanity as having no special characteristics; rather humans are increasingly viewed as just another animal following their instincts all the time with no free will, no capacity for true reasoning, and no ability to consider ideas outside of their own experience (empathize). That last one has brought with it the absurd notion that “unless you lived it” you have no voice and your opinion is worthless.

      A complex, tangled mess of thought bearing rotten fruit.

  2. Kvndoom

    People drive me absolutely friggin NUTS with the “better not hit me or I’ll sue” look they give you when they walk out into the street.

    I do my best to yield and give space but that sheer attitude makes my hair rise.

    I’d rather live with all my limbs and struggle to survive than be a rich quadriplegic.

  3. DirtRoads

    Being a pedestrian in England, you have to just give up and look both ways — a born-here American will get discombobulated over there looking left for traffic then stepping out and getting hit. It’s an issue over there.

    I hit a pedestrian one time. It was 9:30 pm, raining in Seattle on Western Avenue, and I was on my way to drop my tax return in the mail. I was in a Fiat Spider (124) and had crossed through an intersection, a small station wagon to my left as I was passing him on the right.

    Peripherally, I saw the other car’s brake lights come on. I had already started moving my foot to my own brake pedal when, suddenly, a man was in front of me, doing his best gazelle imitation, crossing against traffic and far from a crosswalk. At night. In the rain.

    I was stunned temporarily as I heard and felt his leg hit the right side of my car, near the headlight. I saw a shoe fly ahead of us, bouncing off the road a few times as it made its way to the curb. I finally broke out of my paralysis and pulled over. My wife and I got out of the car and ran back to the guy, and the car next to us had pulled over, too.

    His leg had a compound fracture and was bleeding. His bottle of cheap booze had broken in his jacket and he smelled worse than he looked. Somehow, an ambulance was called. Amazingly, the driver in the car next to me introduced himself as a personal injury attorney, and he stated there was nothing I could’ve done to avoid hitting the guy, as he had more or less appeared in front of his car, too.

    I didn’t get sued, and I was not found liable for the accident. But I never want to have that experience again. I did my own body work on the headlight of my car, and yes, I did get my taxes in the mail before midnight.

    • Tmkreutzer

      Answering the important questions.

      Sounds like a terrifying event. I’ve been there on a dark, rainy Seattle night and know how difficult it is to see. Fortunately, I’ve not had anyone throw themselves out in front of me like that.

  4. lzaffuto

    My wife is one of the people that had that attitude about crosswalks when I met her. I said to her “Do you want I was right written on your tombstone?” After thinking about it for awhile she agreed it was dumb. You may be well in your rights to do something, but it’s pretty stupid to commit suicide taking a strong, principled stance on something that ultimately doesn’t matter worth a damn or would have caused you an absolute minimum of inconvenience.

    • Rob

      Yessir. Reminds me of some excellent career advice I received many years ago: “It’s possible to be both correct and fired.”
      I see quite a bit of irony that it’s Pamela Anderson who has more street smarts in this regard than many of the “serious actresses” who have had their #metoo moments broadcast lately. Of course you should be able to leave a cell phone or laptop visible on your front seat when you park in a bad neighborhood. Of course you should be able to wear a miniskirt and stilettos and walk home unaccosted from the bar at 2am. Doesn’t mean it’s the smart play.

  5. rwb

    Also, at the risk of contradicting my initial shithead response: Everyone should know better than to blithely walk into the street and place the onus on a speeding car to not hit you, because virtually every functional adult has an idea of what happens when you get hit by a car, and of the odds of this happening if you close your eyes and walk into traffic. Exasperation is fully warranted in that situation.

    But, social situations don’t have the same universally understood consequences. The speeding car, in this case represented by some dude’s nasty old dick, isn’t recognizable to someone who’s never had to cross a street before.

    “…the thought that, even though he is a movie mogul, it might not be a good idea for young-and-vulnerable me to go to a man’s hotel room on my own”

    It is literally that this thought does not occur that makes the “me” in this example vulnerable. You cannot anticipate that what you’ve never needed to before; your ounce of prevention is a foresight that cannot be attained without the types of experiences we’d like to prevent.

    • tmkreutzer

      “It is literally that this thought does not occur that makes the “me” in this example vulnerable. You cannot anticipate that what you’ve never needed to before; your ounce of prevention is a foresight that cannot be attained without the types of experiences we’d like to prevent”

      That’s why it is important to have an honest and open conversation on the subject. People who accuse Pamela Anderson of victim blaming effectively shift the discussion to another topic and muddle her real message. The more people talk about these sorts of things, the more awareness there will be. Hopefully, that leads to more people protecting themselves and to fewer victims.

      • rwb

        You’re right; painfully so, about reactions to statements made with good intentions.

        Unfortunately I feel like the internet has reached a place where speech thereon is considered as what that person would state in front of their peers, where the statement may reflect a thought that would actually be tempered by some precautionary process if that person were in front of a skeptical crowd and were likely to be confronted or questioned immediately.

        But, reactions aren’t just cannonballs from the reprobate enemy ships, and if someone feels wronged, telling them they have no right to feel as much will not end well, ‘specially not if there’s a bunch of folks feeling that.

        I’m no expert, but I’ll bet clumsy language (yeah hi) has gotten people killed since we’ve been able to draw our hunting exploits on the walls of our homes, and assuming my assumption is correct, we won’t universally understand each other any time soon.

        What I should have said is that I don’t know if wariness can be taught without an accompanying shoulder-chip, or more simply some trauma, the definition of which gets weird. But I don’t know anything so that doesn’t say much.

        Also, I need to make sure it wasn’t lost in sarcasm or criticism: I genuinely appreciate your output, and you’re a dark horse, so easily one of the best writers who has written about cars or transportation, and demonstrably transcendent beyond that.

        • Tmkreutzer

          Thank you, rwb, I really appreciate your comments. I’ve been in a funk for the past several months but feel like it’s coming to an end. I’m not really sure why it started or why it finished, but here I am…

          I get your point about wariness requiring a chip on the shoulder. That’s certainly been the story of my life. I’m generally cluelessly naive until I’m hit by the freight train of reality. I’d like to think I’ve finally aged out of that, but it probably isn’t true.

  6. silentsod

    There was another actress or musician who came out and said something similar and was similarly lambasted.

    Applying common sense and some prudence to your life and urging others to do so is an evil these days.

    • rwb

      If someone is lucky enough to have never seen or experienced what bad people do, and no one’s ever told them, how do they know what seems obvious to us, that you don’t go up to that hotel room alone?

      Sure, histrionics do appear in response to pleas for responsibility, but I’d guess that the anger comes from the assumption that a “victim” should know or foresee something that they are completely unprepared or unable to, more than the fundamental proposition that people should take some level of responsibility for their actions which, when the partisan bullshit is stripped away, is actually a pretty uncontroversial idea.

      • Disinterested-Observer

        When she was a little young for it, maybe 10, without getting detailed I told my niece that adults are basically as dangerous as bears, and that she needed to be very careful around them. When she was going off to college I straight up told her, never go upstairs in a frat house and don’t let any of your friends go upstairs. Of course she still goes running at night with her headphones blasting music.

      • silentsod

        It is untrue that we cannot learn from the mistakes of others or to learn that there are people who behave grotesquely in the world, so I argue it is entirely reasonable for an adult (say, 17+) to have the wherewithal and brains to figure these things out by paying attention.

        Paying attention might be the hardest part of that, though.

          • rwb

            Depending on the situation, those parents might be thinking they’re gonna be rich, or they might be thinking about something else, or they might not be there at all.

            And if they are adults, does every adult have those brains? If you ask around, you might find widely varying opinions on the level of competence at which one can’t reasonably be expected to protect themselves against basic predation.

            It’s hard to generalize without being super wrong, but while it sometimes sounds like a person would have to be either capital-R delayed or wanting it to put themselves in a given situation, sometimes smart people can be too easily overwhelmed or prone to panicking, or too open and trusting from an easy life, or they freeze and are unable to do what even they would say they should at any other time.

    • silentsod

      Note that I expressed it was interesting that the actions of Mike Pence were trashed in the media shortly before this entire hoopla started and the replies were, well, not well thought out. They consisted of “things need to be better” or “men should stop harassing women” which is anything but an actual actionable solution to a problem.

    • Frank Galvin

      Applying common sense and prudence should be encouraged with a known quantity. With Weinstein though – he had an army of enablers and honeypots. The average victim did not know the intricacies. Big shot producer asks for a breakfast meeting, and she get the invite from her talent agency. If he’s not known at the time, what would give her pause?

      The sad part is that Weinstein’s activities are only going to be known to the enable, the lawyer, and those closest to him that have much to lose, therefore his predatory habits will likely remain hidden for some time. Second, most really deranged dirtbags operate the same as him.

      Common sense and prudence are great for the strange bar, frat party, etc., but in a business setting – its an entirely different deal.

  7. MLCraven

    It is always a treat when when a succinct and well-crafted essay distills an issue to its essence. Bravo Mr. Kreutzer.

  8. sabotenfighter

    “I see a similar train of thought at work in the heads of the pedestrians in my community. Usually they are Americans assigned to the local military base and they walk around utterly confident in their right to step into the road without so much as a glance to the left or right.”

    I don’t know, this seems to be a serious issue with the locals. I’ve had to quickly grab girlfriends, like errant children, as they tried to step in the road in front of oncoming traffic and have weekly issues with riding my bike on the road downtown and idiots jumping off the sidewalk to jay walk and then stopping in the middle of the road right in front of me as I yell at them to “get the fuck out of the road”. Especially when its dark out, despite my extremely bright flashing front light. I’m glad I don’t ride a fixed gear in town simply because I probably would have creamed one of these idiots already and got my ass sued.

  9. Scott Seigmund

    Thomas, thank you for a very good article. This a topic that gets scant coverage, but hardly a day goes by that I (and expect a lot of others) are not affected by the actions of apparently clueless people. I say apparently but my personal opinion is that most them engage in these behaviors with some degree of consciousness. Some are fully conscious of their actions like the 300 lb bitch turning left out of a parking lot across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic last Friday afternoon. Rather than make her way to an intersection with a traffic signal, which she could have done, she instead chose to nose out and completely block the outside lane of traffic. The look of angry entitlement on the face of this woman was palpable. I believe these behaviors are symptomatic of a general attitude of entitlement that is becoming more pervasive in each new generation.

    Entitlement Mentality – Lack of personal responsibility. Just as those with an entitlement mentality typically expect others to solve their problems, they also refuse to accept that the problems are of their own making. Thus, those with an entitlement mentality are frequently unable or unwilling to acknowledge fault or error; this typically leads to denial.

    More here: http: //

    • Eric H

      It’s not necessarily entitlement, it’s lack of enforcement of social norms. Why not be greedy and self-centered when there’s no penalty?
      When the police are busy in speed traps and ignore stupid shit like this, stupid shit like this flourishes.

  10. James

    What does it say when the nanny state politicians here in the 808 have to pass a law banning looking at a smartphone while crossing the street?

  11. Hogie roll

    Quite the implication here. You’re saying that a powerful Hollywood Jew is as assuredly a pervert sexual predator as it is dangerous to run in traffic or ride a motorcycle? Are you an anti-Semite?

  12. Frank Galvin

    Very well put. My day to day work is investigating these claims for a large employer. Any advice that touches upon self-awareness that *could* be construed as victim blaming is touching the third rail. Thankfully, some of the more zealous advocates are finally realizing that yes, advice that promotes self-control, self-awareness, and self-help is not a bad thing when combined with the other advice.


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