One look at videotapes of an accident that killed eight people at an off-road racing event in California made clear the answer to the question usually asked in the wake of tragedies: What went wrong?
What went wrong was that hundreds of spectators were much, much too close to the dirt racetrack where off-road vehicles were hurtling through the air at high speed. Spectators were not thinking. Race organizers were not thinking. Race drivers were not thinking. It was a disaster waiting to happen - and it did.
The accident occurred on federal land, and now some members of Congress want to know what the Bureau of Land Management will do to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Obviously, that question needs to be answered - but the accident has far wider implications than those involving the BLM.
Events involving motor vehicles often involve danger to racers or other participants. But spectators too often place themselves at risk - sometimes with the tacit encouragement of event organizers. For example, we worry that some day, a "monster truck" will careen out of control in a crowded stadium, injuring or killing spectators.
We urge those involved in any way in such events to use simple common sense to avoid tragedies such as that in California.