Many, however, claim that the killings were anything but safe. Bethany Metford lives in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She claims that employees of the city’s Department of Health and Human Services fired seven rounds of ammunition into a parked Jeep Grand Cherokee parked along Seventh Avenue. “My three kids, Calliope, Willip, and Huffington were standing about thirty feet away when it happened,” said the stay-at-home mom. “What if one of the bullets had ricocheted?” Other witnesses say that Metford’s safety concerns were “overblown.” “I witnessed the shooting too,” said Cynthia Squarro, “And at no point did I think that anyone in the neighborhood was in danger. I was, however, concerned with what the psychological effects might be on the children.” Squarro, who is a mommy blogger, wrote about how her two children cried when the Jeep Grand Cherokee was fired upon. “Topal was in hysterics, and Pegasus was inconsolable,” she wrote. Child psychologist Monique Soltani urges parents to set a good example by “not overreacting when they witness a vehicle being pumped full of lead.” “When your children ask you why the car had to die, gently explain to them that while most cars are nice, some cars tend to turn on people and try to kill them,” she said.
The two presidential candidates weighed in on the controversy. At a campaign event in Illinois, Hillary Clinton told a packed crowd of supporters, “On the one hand, we want to respect people’s civil liberties. There have been multiple reports on how public safety officials have been entering people’s driveways, and even their garages, to shoot their Jeep Grand Cherokees. On the other hand, we want to recognize these cars for what they are, which are a very real and very dangerous threat to public safety. So our challenge going forward will be to figure out how to balance these two issues.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump told reporters, “Listen. No one knows more about the automotive industry than I do. And what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna build a wall around Fiat Chrysler and make them pay for it. In fact, that’s my answer to everything. Building walls. Nobody can build walls better than I can.”
Trump also said that while he supports the killing of the Jeep Grand Cherokees, “we should also be killing some of these sniveling car rights activists while we’re at it.” He was referring to those who, like Mercy For Cars founder Alyssa Slattery, thinks that the killings are “unnecessary.” “Why couldn’t they just move the dangerous cars to an enclosed car lot or a sanctuary?” Slattery asked. “What is with the knee-jerk solution to always kill?” Anne Marie Rovere is a car advocate who fights against what is known as CSL, or Car Specific Legislation. CSL is legislation that discriminates against specific models of cars. “When a Mini Cooper runs someone over,” said Rovere, “it does so as an individual car. But when a Jeep Grand Cherokee does it, it does so as a member of it’s model. It’s not fair.” Slattery echoed Rovere’s remarks, saying, “They could have brought in a car behavior expert to find out why it ran over Yelchin. But did they even bother? No. And I’m sure that a lot of people, despite the car’s behavioral issues, wouldn’t have minded driving it.” Then, with tears in her eyes, Slattery lamented, “The car didn’t know what it was doing. It’s not as if it’s an alligator or something. Unlike gorillas, cars are sentient beings who can feel pain. They’re not like sharks or bears.”