I learned a new bit of information the other day: There's a thriving black market for catalytic converters from Prius. I also just learned that Prius is like Lego: It's its own plural.
So... We had a Prius. We just had a Prius. An older one. Actually, the oldest. It was a 2005. As of today (today being the day I'm writing this, which is a day last week, at least, from when you're reading this), we no longer have a Prius. Because of the catalytic converter.
Let's start over...
One morning, recently, my wife and I went to go somewhere in her car, the Prius being her car. I started it up, and the car roared to life! Oh, but, see, Prius aren't supposed to roar. Ever. We were, of course, alarmed. The roar, of course, was the muffler... the muffler missing its catalytic converter.
Which is how I found out that catalytic converter theft is a thing. There's a one word answer as to why: platinum.
I had no idea.
Before this, that is.
Fortunately, this kind of this is covered under our insurance, so we had it towed to a body shop to see about repairs. But here's the thing about thieves, they don't have any consideration about the people they're thieving from. I mean, if they did, they wouldn't be stealing from people to begin with, right? But it's not just the theft that's the issue; it's all the things that go along with the theft to enable it. Like broken windows or doors, threat of violence, or, as in this case, collateral destruction to get to the desired item.
There were pieces of my wife's car lying in the driveway after the towtruck took the car away. The thieves did so much damage to the car cutting the catalytic converter out that the entire exhaust system was going to have to be replaced. Remember that I said that it's an old car? Because 15 years is quite old for a car, especially these days. Effectively, the thieves totalled the car, because the new exhaust system was going to cost more than the value of the car.
Which brings us to the real problem, my wife had a lot of sentimental attachment to that car and, though she had been considering replacing it, the choice was taken away from her. As she said, "They murdered my car." Then there's the added problem of having someone else decide for you that this thing that you love isn't worth fixing and should just be scrapped.
The whole event was traumatic.
I was reminded strongly of the Republican response to the pandemic, because they have the same kind of view toward human lives as the insurance company does towards cars. Their evaluation said, "These lives aren't worth saving. It's cheaper to replace them than it is to save them."
And here's the problem with that way of thinking: It's really not. Not cheaper to replace them, that is, just like it's not cheaper for us to replace the car than it is to get it fixed. It's only cheaper for the insurance company. Their evaluation is one thing: Is it going to cost us more to fix the car than it is to pay them the value of the car? When they choose to not fix the car, the rest of those costs are passed onto us. Those costs can be many and varied, for us it's the cost of getting a new car, but for some people it can mean the loss of a job because they can't afford the cost of a new car and can no longer get to work reliably. Or the inabilty to get groceries. Costs.
Republicans have no problem with passing on the costs of people they don't value to other people they don't value, and the death toll means nothing to them. If it did, they would have forced McConnel to do something about it. But Mitch and gang have been happy as clams with how things have been working out, which tells me they're all lining their pockets in some way due to the pandemic.
And, sure, I know we have a new administration in there, now, and they are already taking steps to alleviate some the pandemic-related issues, but it's not soon enough to prevent the loss of half a million lives.
All of which takes us to universal health care and why we don't have it: Republicans. Because the money white men make off the insurance industry is of greater interest to them than the lives lost each year due to inadequate or non-existant health coverage.
Yep, you get all of this from someone cutting the catalytic converter out of my wife's car, because it's not too far off from Republicans cutting the soul out of America.