Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tragic stupidity

This is a tragic tale, of course.
A seven-year-old girl has died in a head-on crash as she drove along a country road on a quad bike she had been given for Christmas.

Fingrith Hall Lane in Essex where 7-year-old Elizabeth Cooke was killed while riding a quad bike
The road was dark when the collision happened

Elizabeth Cooke and her 10-year-old brother Jack were following their father's car in the dark along an unlit lane in the village of Blackmore, Essex, last night.

The little blonde girl was killed in a collision with a Range Rover travelling in the opposite direction at 7pm.

The tragedy happened quarter of a mile away from the home of her parents, Gary and Claire Cooke, who live at Bluebell Farm and run a chicken farm.

A friend of the family, who did not want to be named, said the excited children were taking their quad bikes, which they got as presents, out for a ride on Fingrith Hall Lane, a narrow road flanked with hedgerows and fields.

Yes, indeed, extremely tragic but what the fuck were the parents thinking? As the report points out...
Authorities said it was illegal for children to drive any vehicle on a public highway.

The Quadzilla Pro-Shark quad bike, the model believed to be being driven by the seven-year-old, is designed for use by children in fields.

The bikes are not legal on public roads unless modified and driven by someone over 16 wearing a crash helmet who is appropriately insured.

Does that quad bike even have proper lights? No, I can't see any. What the fuck were they thinking? I have to say, I am with The Longrider on this one.
So, quite apart from any feelings I might have about the suitability of buying motor vehicles as presents for minors, we have an illegal vehicle being driven on a public highway without insurance. Bad enough, but at the controls is an unqualified, under-age driver. I’m sorry, but what part of this scenario is not rampant stupidity?
“It’s such a tragedy, it’s absolutely awful especially at Christmas time. I don’t know how they will cope.”

Yes, well, without wishing to sound harsh or anything, it’s because they bought entirely unsuitable presents for their children and then allowed them to drive illegally on the roads that this tragedy happened at this time of the year. There is no one to blame here but the parents.

Quite. What realy enrages me is that the poor lass who was driving the Land Rover is the one who has been arrested and, after a breath test, bailed. She was, apparently, arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving: in that case, why were the parents of the girl not arrested? They were clearly in breach of highway laws, and it is they who should be prosecuted if anyone is to be. In fact, were I the 28 year old who hit the girl, I would be highly tempted to sue the girls' parents for damages.

It is a tragic accident but, unlike many accidents, it could have been avoided had the parents not been completely fucking stupid and had they not broken the law.


Newmania said...

I `m suprised your Libertarian principles do not suggest that the parents are the best judge of the risk to their children and others.
Or are we free to make only unimportant descisions with no consequences?
Anyway , you are quite right about this and it is far from the only way in which we are propelling children into danger .

Devil's Kitchen said...

Well, yes, to an extent. The trouble is that their stupidity has not only affected them: it will affect the driver of the Range Rover too, probably for the rest of her life.

Even if the police do not charge her with something, she is no doubt extremely upset. How much will she spend on counselling for the next few years?

The other point being, of course, that the rule of law is the basis of libertarianism: the parents broke the law.


Longrider said...

In fact, were I the 28 year old who hit the girl, I would be highly tempted to sue the girls' parents for damages.

If she wants compensation fro damages, she'll have to do that or go through the motor insurers bureau.
I think you will find that the bikes had front lights, but were otherwise not road legal. Given the off road tyres these things come with, they aren't the easiest of vehicles to manoeuvre - I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole; give me two wheels any day.

Newmaina, well, yes, perhaps, but it is the law of the land and even if it wasn't, it is rampant stupidity.

JuliaM said...

"...why were the parents of the girl not arrested? They were clearly in breach of highway laws, and it is they who should be prosecuted if anyone is to be."

Ah, but you see, charging the parents would be a PR disaster for the CPS (or so they believe - I'd be all for it). Can't have that...

Who said we were all equal before the law?

verity said...

Those bikes are not legal for anyone under the age of 13 to drive, and then only on fields. Not on the road.

How is a little 7-year old girl supposed to control a motorised vehicle? What on earth judgement does a seven-year old have? Apparently they were "driving" if that is not too strong a term, on an unlit road, meaning the lack of lighting was seen as a contributory factor, meaning their father had taken them out on the public road in vehicles they were not competent to drive, at dusk.

How stupid does one have to be?

It is a terrible tragedy about the little girl, but intentionally imperilling the life of a child is probably a crime and the parents should be charged.

This was absolutely insane. What's the betting that mummy and daddy had been nipping at the drinks all day? No one who wasn't tipsy would think giving a 7-year old child a motorised vehicle she was much too little to handle and then taking her out on the public highway at dusk was a fun idea.

Unsworth said...

This incident took place in Essex, did it not?

Ingram said...

Essex is full of idiots with too much money and not enough sense. A case in point.

Angry Steve said...

Saddened as I am by the small child dying, what the fuck were the parents thinking? I can only hope they have the decency to blame themselves, but somehow I think even that is too much to hope for given they put a 7 year old on a quad on a road!

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

I `m suprised your Libertarian principles do not suggest that the parents are the best judge of the risk to their children and others.

I don't see how those principles are compromised in this instance.

They made an error of judgement; it caused there to be a collision with another vehicle; someone else has been traumatised and possibly made the victim of a crime, therefore the parents ought to be prosecuted and hauled before a court.

Their poor judgement did not work out for them in this instance. Libertarianism does not mean letting people do what they want without consequence- that straw man argument needs putting to bed.

Thon Brocket said...

Evolution in action.

verity said...

Agree with MU. It is tragic that these people have lost their little daughter, and that her death was their fault. But another individual has, despite having done nothing wrong, been dragged into this family tragedy.

Yes, the parents should be prosecuted. To put a little girl in charge of a motorised vehicle she wasn't even close to the legal age to drive - even if it was on private property - is so stupid it beggars belief. To compound it by taking this very underaged child, on her first day of having a vehicle she wasn't capable of handling, out on a public highway, in the mid-winter dusk is so toweringly stupid it takes the breath away.

And let's not forget, in addition to the poor little girl who died through her father's stupidity, her brother was also riding along on his new quad on the public highway, in the dusk.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Thon Brocket. Evolution in action. The parents should be prosecuted. What kind of half wits take children on the roads with off road motor vehicles especially when they have a farm? By the way, part of the problem with these quad bikes is down to the solid rear axle. They have no differential gears, so they tend to skid around corners, hence they are unstable on surfaces with grip. They should be used off road.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Totally agreed. I can't believe the MSM fell for the grieving parents/drink driving angle instead of the more correct cretinous parents angle.

verity said...

Thon Brocket and [10:52], I don't understand the allusion to "evolution in action". How were these parents evolved?

Were you thinking of Darwin's law? If so, how does this apply to the dead child. It was her parents who were brain dead, not the child.

Anonymous said...

My sympathy lies with the young woman who hit the child, she now is on the police database, for ever even if she is not convicted. Nobody has said whether the parents of the child were breathalized, wonder why? There are no words to describe the stupidity shown by parents and the police.

verity said...

[1:00] Agreed. We don't know, of course, but it strikes one that a totally sober father would never consider taking a little seven-year old girl (and her brother) out on the highway, illegally, on bikes they had only just received and were not practised at riding and, indeed, were unqualified by age to be riding. In the dark. And a totally sober mother would not have countenanced such a notion.

Cygnet said...

Perhaps we could open a new category of Darwin Award, a Darwin-by-Proxy.

It could be for idiots who slipped through the net and by doing so brought about the death of another...

verity said...

Three of the Darwin Award winners last year were three men in Viet Nam who were scrap merchants. They found a 500lb unexploded bomb on top of a hill and decided,instead of carrying it, to roll it to the bottom.

billy said...

verity said...
But another individual has, despite having done nothing wrong, been dragged into this family tragedy.

Nothing wrong? Wasn't she bailed for driving under the influence of either drink or drugs?
Perhaps that is ok in itself provided you don't meet any little girls on quad bikes, or pedestrians, or equestrians, or cyclists, or motor cyclists, or other motorists, or ....?
If she is convicted of an offence she will deserve it.

cygnet said...


She passed a breathalyser test. The kid, who should never have been there in the first place, lost control of the quad bike and veered into her path on a narrow country lane. Poor cow, imagine the nightmares...

verity said...

Billy - I believe if you go back and trace the words with your forefinger, you will see that the lady was tested for alcohol and drugs and was found to be clean. Not a trace.

She won't be "convicted of an offence" because she has done nothing wrong.

Cygne said...


On form today...

Longrider said...

Billy, as a general rule of thumb, it's always a good idea to read the articles in question properly. That way, one is less inclined to jump to conclusions, leap in with both feet firmly in one's mouth and say something stupid...

verity said...

Still in a mean mode, I am guessing that this present was not begged for by the little seven-year old girl. Asking for a quad bike is a male thing. I think this was all Daddy's idea, and it was Daddy's idea to take the children out on their new bikes, which were totally unsuitable for a girl of seven on a country lane in the dark. I just don't see a little seven year old girl begging to go out on a dark road on a new quad bike.

I could be wrong. This is just supposition.

chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris said...

Tracing back to the telegraph article that the Longrider linked to it looks like this quad bike had no headlights.

The parents must have been insane. It was night, it was the first time she had been on that type of bike, it was a type of bike that as Longrider points out isn't that easy to steer anyway, and she had no headlights.

Many lives ruined simply because the idiot parents of the girl decided to wait until after it was dark before letting her have her first spin.

verity said...

Chris - plus she was way underage to be in control of such a bike. She was seven and the legal age is 13 - and to be ridden on private property. Her little arm muscles were not developed enough to be in charge of such a boss machine. And these bikes can only be taken onto the public highway by someone of 16 and older, wearing a crash helmet. She was less than half that age.

JuliaM said...

Looks like the police might be belatedly realising they have a bit of a job on, at last...

"Police said the Range Rover driver - a 28-year-old woman from Brentwood, Essex - was arrested after police learned of the accident. The woman has been released without charge on bail until December 31."

Arrested even though she passed a breath test, and still on bail. Just brcause it's convenient for the police. Nice...

the a&e charge nurse said...

Everybody keeps referring to the child's tragic death - so why does it feel like I'm drowning in crocodile tears ?

Presumably, the Darwinians amongst us will contend that Elizabeth Cooke is better off dead having been spawned by parents capable of such outrageous stupidy ?

In parenthesis, the Darwinians can anticipate a very, very long queue if their only criteria [for rubbishing people] is stupidity - think how many piss heads will get behind the wheel of a car today.... I'm sure I'm right in saying that they have caused many thousands of deaths on the roads because of their serial fuckwittery ?

Devil's Kitchen said...


You seem to have a serious problem with drinking; out of pure interest, are you a teetotaller?

Here is a really obvious fact for you to mull over: far, far more automobile accidents are caused by people who have drunk no alcohol at all than are caused by those who drink and drive.


the a&e charge nurse said...

Thanks Devil.

No, I love a drink [peroni] - my teenage daughters are up to all sorts [dilated pupils are a dead give way].

I have sampled a variety of recreational drugs [as a jobbing musician, mostly] although I have never injected heroin.
I think I have mentioned before that ALL drugs should be legalised IMHO.

I agree sober drivers can be even more "stupid" than their inebriated counter-parts, further candidates for the Darwinian list I guess - and yes, I would have to add myself to the queue based on some of the things I've done [this is why I was pissed off with the sanctimonious tone of some of the comments on this thread].

By the way all the best for the New Year - I remain a devotee of your stream of consciousness.

Cygnet said...

@A&E -

You're getting the wrong end of the stick. Again.

It is doubtful that anyone here actually believes that some kid deserved to die because she had the misfortune to be landed with idiot parents.

In Darwinian terms, if someone is stupid enough to get behind the wheel of a car and drive themselves over a cliff, that's their problem.

However, if the same halfwit ploughs into a group of kiddies or OAPS (or me) crossing the road their stupidity becomes other peoples' problems. Try, if you can, to extrapolate this to the matter at hand.

May I also suggest that you have a drink? It may aid future clarity of thought.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Cygnet - may I respectfully point out that Darwinism has got nothing to do with "other peoples problems".

No, his central tenet is that ALL organisms are hardwired to secure optimum conditions [in so far as they are able to manipulate their environment] for propagation, and survival of their own genes - if this means taking out a few innocents at either extreme of the age spectrum [rather than injuring themselves] then so be it.

Cygnet said...

@A&E Charge Nurse

‘course you can point that out! However, do bear in mind that I was responding within the context of the original post and within that of the other comments, some of which mention the Darwin Awards. In no way was I (or anyone else I suspect) indulging in a discursive debate about the merits of Classical Darwinism.

With regards to the comments about the central tenet of Darwin’s theories. I feel that to reduce all of them to one central tenet would be to oversimplify things to the extent that they become a meaningless caricature. Following a browse on the web, I came up with the following:

1. Species have great fertility. They have more offspring than can grow to adulthood.
2. Populations remain roughly the same size, with small changes.
3. Food resources are limited, but are relatively stable over time.
4. An implicit struggle for survival ensues.
5. In sexually reproducing species, generally no two individuals are identical.
6. Some of these variations directly impact the ability of an individual to survive in a given environment.
7. Much of this variation is inheritable.
8. Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce, while individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce.
9. The individuals that survive are most likely to leave their inheritable traits to future generations (ed – this is why there are no mini cygnets running around).

verity said...

How did I fail to guess that A&E nurse was also a "jobbing musician"? Shame on me! The arrogance, the air of assumed superiority including a right to be listened to with great respect ... of course! A jobbing musician. And a self-righteous druggie.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Fair enough cygnet - thanks for the link, fascinating stuff.
Selfish Gene is also well worth a look, by the way.

Ahh, Verity, perhaps a certain boorishness has crept in lately, but I don't remember ever asking anyone to "respect" anything I have said.

Incidentally, do you know what projection is ?
Anyway, what have you got against muso's.......or, druggies for that matter, I thought most people had an addiction of one sort or another ?

Cyget said...

I am a great fan of musicians, drugs (the good reasons for the lack of mini cygnets keep piling up)and Richard Dawkins.

verity said...

A&E - Why do you ask if I know what 'projection' is? Are you also a long-distance psychoanalyst? My, my what a busy little boots you are.

I presume by musos you mean musicians. It depends. I have enormous respect for classical musicians - and the years of discipline it took them to get where they are. And I like piano players in cocktail bars.

Musicians in clubs - I can't take that altitude of self-regard and self-involvement. Nor rock musicians. It is similar to the elevated level of self-involvement of druggies, the other great bores of our times.

verity said...

Has anyone else seen the lachrymose meanderings of the puir wee girl's mother in The Telegraph. It is memorial teddy bears made verbal.

How did the British become so diminished that they long to welcome millions into their family grief?

In The Telegraph, the father, her "partner" has "said they will have to "suffer the consequences" if the police decide to charge them." Well, yes. That would be the case.

Previous to this relationship, the father had "several" other children with a previous "partner".

Doesn't anyone live in a world of responsibility and consequences any more?

verity said...

If anyone is still reading this thread, the little girl's father has now announced to the press that "there's no point in regretting what happened".

So there you have it. Something "happened". Passive tense. No one's to blame. He and his "partner",who have three other children, didn't cause it to happen. It was a natural event. Like a hurrican or volcano, really. One of those things.

Anonymous said...

I think your all forgetting the pure tradegy that has happenened, i know this family and i know what good and protective parents they are who only loved their children. The children know how to drive these bikes as they have lots of land and have done so for a while. They were innocently going to collect their friends whom lived down the road, someone was watching them out of the back and i think you'll find these bikes do have bright lights that light the road well. The woman who hit the girl also knows the family and true she will have to live with it for the rest of her live as will the parents, but how can you all judge them on here, parents sometimes do stupid things to keep their kids happy as does everyone are you trying to tell me none of you have ever done something stupid. These children know these roads it was their own road you never expect this to happen but how is judging these poor people helping, this poor man and woman have lost their little girl and no punishment in the world can ever compare to that. Her Dad will have the guilt for the rest of his life, all of you judging and making their life worst will not help. i suggest you all seriously think about if you were in there situation and had a load of people interfeering in a case you have no clue about, it was a tradegy where a innocent poor little girl died and her family have to live with that now, no one can judge this family as there only guilty of loving and wanting the best for their children so i highly suggest you all leave this poor family alone to grieve and come to terms with the fact she has gone rather than judge. There is no one to blame here, it was an accident a tradegy. No father or mother ever expect to bury their child so i think that is a higher punishment then anything so please just leave this family alone, i only hope nothing ever happens to yourselves and you get judge by a group of stranger who dont have a clue!

billy said...

Billy, as a general rule of thumb, it's always a good idea to read the articles in question properly. That way, one is less inclined to jump to conclusions, leap in with both feet firmly in one's mouth and say something stupid...

true, true, but the articles are so boring and the comments much less so.
I hang my head in shame.