Clemson University student Nathan Weaver had a project to develop. His project consisted of trying to devise ways so turtles can cross the road safely. I'm sure you have seen turtles going as fast as turtles can to cross the road. It seems they are migrating to a water source or in search of food. But, what Nathan did not expect was to discover a very dark side of humanity. Nathan put plastic, orange colored turtles in the road to see how drivers would avoid hitting them. What he discovered was shocking. Nathan in inadvertently discovered a very dark side of homo sapiens. Within an hour of putting the turtles on the busy road, Nathan watched as seven drivers intentionally drove over the turtles. Several other drivers appeared to try to run over them and missed. This was all within the hour. While this was surprising to Nathan Weaver, it was not surprising to researchers and why certain turtle species are in decline. "They aren't thinking, really. It is not something people think about. It just seems fun at the time. It is the dark side of human nature." said Hal Herzog, a Western Carolina University psychology professor. To prove his point even further, Professor Herzog asked a class of 110 students if they had ever intentionally run over a turtle in the road. 34 of the students raised their hands. I wish I could say I find that shocking. But, over my 61 years of living, I am no longer shocked my man's inhumanity.
It's really a sad indictment on people. Now, I realize it is almost impossible to keep from hitting turtles, squirrels or any other animal in the road sometimes. My criticism is not about those people. I do question the type of person who would intentionally run over a defenseless animal with a two-ton vehicle. I can remember, many years ago, my mother was just learning how to drive. My siblings and I were all little. I imagine I was about 7 years old at the time. But, my mother and I were coming back from the local meat market. As we got on this two-lane country road, a turtle happened to start walking from the grassy side to the road. My mother attempted to swerve away, but couldn't because of an oncoming car in the opposite direction to us. I still remember the crunch under the tires. Mom was so unnerved she could barely drive home. That was the very last time I remember my mother ever driving again. In fact, I'm positive she never drove again. But, that is totally different from the people who intentionally drive over turtles for some macabre sensation to prove how tough they are or because it is "fun" to them. Hopefully, this article (linked above) will open some eyes of drivers who might want to be kinder to the little fellows just trying to cross the road.