Adam Ruins Murder

Sep 04 2019

Adam shines a headlight on why drivers are rarely prosecuted for car accidents that result in death. He breaks down border patrol's problematic search policies and examines the messed-up history of corpses and medical studies.


"Yep, sure looks like it! But the fact is, car crash deaths are rarely EVER investigated or prosecuted. In the US in 2016, drivers killed over 6,800 pedestrians and cyclists, and most didn’t get so much as a SPEEDING TICKET!"

“Traffic Safety Facts: 2016 Data.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, 2016.

"...didn’t get so much as a SPEEDING TICKET!"

Andrew Zaleski. “Why Isn’t It a Crime to Kill a Cyclist with a Car?” Next City, 17 Feb 2014.

'Because we act like KILLING SOMEONE WITH YOUR CAR is only a problem if you’re driving DRUNK. But 85% of those deaths were caused by SOBER drivers. And for some reason, they’re hardly EVER prosecuted!"

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.

"Gee, Colby, defensive much? The truth is, drivers and cyclists actually BOTH break the law at around the SAME RATE."

“Survey finds bicyclists and motorists ignore traffic laws at similar rates.” Science Friday, Public Radio International, 18 Jul 2015.

"In New York City, driver mistakes were a factor in 70% of pedestrian deaths -- but until 2017, drivers were ticketed for less than 1% of crashes!"

Dana M. Lerner. “Why Drivers Get Away with Murder.” New York Times, 29 Sep 2014.

"And even though pedestrian fatalities have continuously GONE UP in Los Angeles since 2016, LA gives 81 percent of crosswalk violation tickets to WALKERS instead of DRIVERS."

Scott Schultz. “Cars are running over people left and right. So why is LAPD targeting pedestrians and not motorists?” Los Angeles Times, 6 Aug 2018.

LA is the most dangerous city for pedestrians in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. And they’re getting BLAMED for their OWN DEATHS!

“Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2017 Preliminary Data.” Governors Highway Safety Association, 2018.

In the early part of the 20th century, people didn’t think twice about driving drunk. And car crash fatalities were ROUTINE.

“First Drunk Driving Arrest,” The History Channel, 24 Nov 2009.

"But once we realized drunk driving KILLED people, we started issuing harsher penalties and driving fatalities went WAY down. Drunk driving deaths are now HALF of what they were in the ‘80s!"

“Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths," National Institutes of Health, 2019.

"At 20 miles per hour, you have a 5 percent chance of killing a pedestrian. But driving at 40 miles per hour increases that probability by EIGHTY PERCENT."

Lena V. Groeger. “Unsafe at Many Speeds.” ProPublica, 25 May 2016.

"And, we should reconsider whether we really NEED to drive vehicles that are PROVEN to be more deadly, like trucks and SUVs."

Angie Schmitt. “Study Links Rise of SUVs to the Pedestrian Safety Crisis.” Streetsblog USA, 9 May 2018.

"We've entered another dimension. One where it’s LEGAL for you to be stopped, searched, and detained, all without probable cause OR a warrant. You’ve just crossed into... THE BORDER ZONE."

“Record of Abuse: Lawlessness and Impunity in Border Patrol’s Interior Enforcement Operations.” ACLU of Arizona, Oct 2015.

"The border zone covers everywhere within 100 miles of a land OR sea border- that includes ten WHOLE STATES, NINE of the country’s ten BIGGEST cities, and TWO THIRDS of the population!"

“The Constitution in the 100-mile Border Zone.” ACLU, 2019.

"Yup! And border patrol cops can set up checkpoints ANYWHERE within it -- not JUST on the border itself. Even between two U.S. cities!"

Patrick Eddington. “A Cosmic Legal Collision: The Engineer vs.  The Border Patrol.” Just Security, 25 May 2018.

"And they’re allowed to stop and search ANYONE they want. They can even force you to UNLOCK YOUR PHONE -- and they do, routinely, without cause! In one famous case, they even searched a NASA ENGINEER!"

Loren Grush. “A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone.” The Verge, 12 Feb 2017.

"Well, if you refuse to cooperate, we can SEARCH your bags, DETAIN you for hours, and hold your phone... FOR DAYS."

“U.S. border guards can search your phone: here are some details on how.” Canada Broadcasting Corporation, 19 Jan 2018.

"But the fact is, even if you had driven around this checkpoint, you STILL could’ve been stopped! Border patrol can legally pull you over ANYWHERE within the border zone."

Alexia Fernandez Campbell. “Why Border Patrol agents can board a bus or train and ask if you’re a citizen.” Vox, 9 Feb 2018.

"Well, they tend to take HUGE liberties with what qualifies as 'suspicious.' Border patrol has pulled people over for things as arbitrary as 'sitting rigidly upright in seats,' 'making a U turn,' or simply 'driving toward Los Angeles.'"

Mario Koran. “When Border Patrol Can Pull You Over.” Voice of San Diego, 19 Oct 2017.

“Record of Abuse: Lawlessness and Impunity in Border Patrol’s Interior Enforcement Operations.” ACLU of Arizona, Oct 2015.

"In 1975, a Supreme Court ruling even authorized what effectively amounts to permission to RACIALLY PROFILE people."

Kevin R. Johnson. “How Racial Profiling in America Became the Law of the Land: United States v. Brignoni-Ponce and Whren v. United States and the Need for Truly Rebellious Lawyering.” Georgetown Law Review  98 (2009).

"And even though there’s NO LAW requiring you to carry citizenship papers, border patrol cops have been known to ask people to produce them -- and then DETAIN anyone who can’t prove their status on the spot."

“Uncovering USBP.” Immigrant Rights Clinic, New York University School of Law, 2013.

"Uh, that is debatable to say the least -- but what’s NOT debatable is that we've allowed Customs and Border Protection to expand WILDLY out of proportion to every other system of law enforcement. The department has a bigger budget than ALL the other agencies COMBINED -- including the DEA and FBI!"

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2017.

"We owe all SORTS of medical breakthroughs to the study of dead bodies. Doctors learn to perform surgery on cadavers..."

James Nutt et al. “Cadaveric surgery: a novel approach to teaching clinical anatomy.” The Clinical Teacher 9.3 (2012).

"And, cure diseases! For instance, right now, researchers are using pancreases from dead bodies to find a cure for Type-1 diabetes!"

John Shiffman et al. “The Body Trade.” Reuters, 27 Dec 2017.

"For centuries, using bodies for medical teaching was considered SACRILEGE."

Sanjib Kumar Ghosh. “Human cadaveric dissection: a historical account from ancient Greece to the modern era.” Anatomy & Cell Biology 48.3 (2015).

"But medicine COULDN’T advance without this important field of study! So, in the late 1700s, a nefarious, illegal industry emerged to fill the need for bodies by ROBBING GRAVES."

Kristina Killgrove. “How Grave Robbers And Medical Students Helped Dehumanize 19th Century Blacks And The Poor.” Forbes, 13 Jul 2015.

"And the worst part is, grave robbers preyed on society's most VULNERABLE populations. It was a MORBID mirror of the prejudices in the LIVING world."

Kristina Killgrove. “How Grave Robbers And Medical Students Helped Dehumanize 19th Century Blacks And The Poor.” Forbes, 13 Jul 2015.

"In the mid-1800s, some states FINALLY started passing laws giving doctors ways to LEGALLY procure corpses -- but only if they were UNCLAIMED from poorhouses, hospitals, jails, and asylums."

Kenneth C. Nystrom. “The Bioarchaeology of Structural Violence and Dissection in the 19th‐Century United States.” American Anthropologist 116.4 (2014).

"In 1968, the federal government finally standardized and legalized organ and tissue donation, so doctors FINALLY had a system to get WILLINGLY donated corpses -- but that ALSO opened the door for some unscrupulous body brokers to take advantage of people!"

Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, 2019.

"But while that SEEMS compassionate, unfortunately some of these programs have been known to violate mourners’ trust in some pretty EGREGIOUS ways. Like using donations in ways that weren’t agreed upon..."

John Shiffman et al. “The Body Trade.” Reuters, 27 Dec 2017.

"There’s still so much stigma, we’re actually currently facing a global body SHORTAGE!"

“Why there is a shortage of cadavers.” The Economist, 19 Jan 2014.