Question: Do Colorado Carjackers Know How To Drive Stick Shift?
Standby - or scroll down - for video of two kids trying to carjack a man in Maryland, only to realize that the car had a manual transmission and they had no clue how to drive it. So they aborted their mission, but were later arrested anyway. Not a great day for them.
It got me thinking, though. Do kids in Colorado know how to drive a stick shift these days?
My own first car was an automatic, but my dad's truck was a manual, and that's what I learned to drive. One day, we were having some appliances delivered after I had gotten home from school, before I went to work. The truck was blocking my car in the driveway as they were unloading stuff and carrying it into the house.
My dad was home and tossed me the keys to his truck so I wouldn't be late for work (again). I thanked him and headed out the door, got in the truck and realized - oh, right. This thing's got a stick shift, which I'd only driven a handful of times and not for a while at that point. But all of 16-years and a few months old and full of young "know-it-all" bravery, I said "let's ride" and off I went.
Clearly I knew enough to get to work. My next several cars were manual transmissions. They were always fun to drive. Good drivers know how to make them go. Now I drive my wife's mini-van most of the time. It's not as cool.
Point is: learning to drive a manual transmission vehicle was a rite of passage growing up in Colorado - assuming you grew up in a certain era of cars, I guess. But not anymore?
These days, cars basically drive themselves. Some obviously actually do. You rarely find new vehicles in the U.S. with manual transmissions, and they're almost always sports cars. In fact, according to CarMax, 96 percent of Americans drive automatics today.
But back in the day - that's right, kids - you used to have to shift the car's gears yourself.
In fact, in most of Europe, you still do. It's the preferred car model for them. My wife is from England and had never really driven an automatic before moving to the U.S. But here, kids learning to drive rarely get the chance to even try a good old fashioned stick shift.
So firmly from the "kids these days" file comes this video from Germantown, Maryland, where two teens were caught on video attempting to carjack a man at a gas station.
As a man was getting in his car, the pair of would-be-carjackers ran up to him, and forced the door open. The man gave up his keys and surrendered the vehicle pretty quick. The teens jumped in to make a getaway, when they discovered - uh-oh - they didn't know how to drive the car.
There's no audio with the surveillance video, but I imagine the conversation inside the car went like this.
"The car won't start," says the driver to the passenger, obviously most likely not pushing in the clutch.
"What do you mean?" the passenger likely retorted.
"It won't start! Wait... what's that? Why's there another pedal? Where's 'drive' at?"
"Ah man, I've only seen these in movies! Abort, abort!" shouts the passenger, as he bails out of the car and runs for the woods.
"Hey, wait for me!" says the driver as he then jumps out and starts to run in a different direction, clearly shaken up by not knowing how to drive the car he was trying to steal.
The two teens were later found, arrested and charged with one count of carjacking and one count of conspiracy carjacking each. They are currently behind bars, without bond and awaiting trial.