We’ve traveled further west along the border to Deming, New Mexico. While we are in Deming, President Bush is in Milwaukee outlining some of his new energy proposals. One of his proposals is to expand research into smaller, longer-lasting batteries for electric-gas hybird cars, including plug-ins. We think this is a good step, but only in the interum. We believe a more “sustainable” solution is to redesign towns to make them much more walkable and cyclable. This redesign would also provide for accessibility to all the basic “stuff of life” for residents — like it was in towns before the car. Our increased mobility, whether in gas powered, or electric-gas powered, vehicles has added tremendously to the environmental cancer of urban sprawl. What’s more, this increased mobility has added considerably to the breakdown of family and community — as scores of people regularly, and quite literally, speed about the country these days chasing the “American Dream” while leaving family members, friends and neighbors… in the rear view mirror. [For a counter to this current dominant paradigm, see: the Amish.] Note: The Albuquerque Journal carried a story today that posed the question: Can speeding and rolling through a stop sign with kids in your car be considered “child abuse?” Jurors in the case of a man from Framington, New Mexico, said that this adds up to “felony child abuse” for a father who was doing 68 mph in a 35 mph zone with three children in the car. (He also rolled through a stop sign during an alleged, short “slow speed” chase, failed to use a turn signal, and resisted arrest initially.) He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Note 2: Here’s another more sweeping question: Is putting a child in a vehicle that at any moment can be turned into a “death trap” (there are 33,000 highway deaths and many more maimings every year on American highways), constitute “child abuse,” period? I mean, we know we’re putting the child in jeapordy at every turn, literally. Yet we’ve become addicted — and almost hopelessly reliant — on our current transportation modes. So at the very least, does that make it any less right? And at the very worst, are many of us, conceivably, ‘abusing’ our children every day — whether we buckle them up, or not? Note 3: After writing all this, I picked up an El Paso Times last night. A front page story reported on the death of a 23-month-old girl who was struck and killed accidentally as her mother pulled a sport utility vehicle out of their driveway. What if the mother had been pulling out in a bicycle…?