I wasn’t aware of who Laura Loomer was until we were emailed links to this Twitter-based tire-related mess by a number of readers, but it appears she considers herself an alt-right ‘guerrilla journalist’ and believes she had a tire slashed by some ne’er-do-wells who don’t like her. The problem is that her tire appears to be a poor, dry-rotted beast that died of neglect. Hence the shitstorm.
Now, without getting too far into the political minefield that surrounds all this, let’s just try and take an objective look at this tire to try and determine if it was, in fact, slashed. Here’s the tweets:
And, here’s just the pictures of the real victim here, this innocent tire:
Before we get into whether or not this tire was stabbed with malice, let’s just be clear about the condition of this tire: it’s terrible. This tire is an old, dry-rotted mess. Even if we were to assume that this tire had, in fact, been slashed with a blade, that would be closer to an act of euthanasia than vandalism.
Look at the sidewall of that poor tire; it’s textured like gila monster skin, dry, brittle, and coming off in chunks. What this damage looks most like is a blowout related to the severely rotted and abraded sidewalls. A tire with a dry-rot-related blowout looks like this, and you can see a very similar pattern of damage as on the tire currently enjoying its time in the twitter spotlight.
We should look at what tire-slash damage actually looks like, too. See how you get a clear and isolated cut?
Now let’s look at the damage to Loomer’s tire:
I’ve put some callouts in there to address some questions specifically. First, callout A, those are very strange and improbable locations for a person to slash a tire. I mean, even doing multiple slashes like that is unusual for tire slashing, since one does the job, why waste time adding so many? If I allow myself to enter the depraved mind of a brutal tire-slasher, I think my slashing time is better served by giving one slash to all four tires.
Also, the location is problematic; most slashed tires find the damage in places where a hand wielding a sharp whatever could actually hit, usually on the upper sidewall of the tire. The damage to the tire at the bottom would require the slasher to be laying on the ground, digging their tire-ruining implement even under the tire at some points. That doesn’t seem likely. Also, the cuts seem to point radially from the tire’s center, like what happens in a blowout as opposed to someone hacking away at the tire.
Okay, on to B; notice that big chunk of missing sidewall? Perhaps a dedicated tire-slasher dug out a chunk, but if bits of sidewall are coming off like that, the tire is pretty compromised. Which leads us to callout C, which shows the shitty condition of the tire, and a number of other cracks already forming.
Loomer and her defenders have provided tweets with images of her tire repair shop receipts as ‘evidence’:
While I sure like the illustration of what appears to be a Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance on that yellow receipt, these are just handwritten (with a strikingly similar hand) work orders. Still, here they are, for what they’re worth.
It should also be mentioned that Loomer has no patience for those of you who will not defend her tire.
Now, I wasn’t there, standing by her Jeep, watching whatever nightmare ended the long, difficult life of her loyal tire. I reached out to a major tire manufacturer about this, and, while they in no way wanted to be associated with any of this mess, agreed to give me an assessment on the condition of anonymity. So, okay.
They said the tire appears to have been exposed to extreme weathering, or possibly exposure to an electrical motor that produced a lot of ozone. The cause of failure they said seems to be a “rim pinch” and then stated that “the cause of disablement does not indicate a cut in any way.”
I’m not surprised they had no wish to wade into this contentious mess, and it’s probable I’ll be accused myself of pushing some agenda here, and I may very well be painted as a monster who’s views are just to the left of an anthropomorphised hammer and sickle that wants nothing more than to watch your mother die from exhaustion on a collective farm.
The amount of attention this is getting is pretty surprising, and a lot of that attention has been mixed with a lot of unpleasant shit, from sites that revel in anti-semitism and similar garbage. All of this makes me feel a little conflicted about writing about this at all—it’s just a tire—but, that’s also sort of why we’re covering it, too.
Even so, there’s a real lesson about tire maintenance here that we just can’t ignore; letting your tires get as bad as these is an actual safety issue, and bad tires absolutely cause accidents. Getting rid of that tire (and hopefully, the other three) is probably the best thing she can do for her car right now.
I’m sure Loomer genuinely believes her tires were slashed. From what I can see here, though, the only way some vandal could have caused her tire damage is if the tire was stolen, taken into a time machine, gone back a few years to age the tire severely, then a cheese grater was taken to the sidewalls as the tire was frozen and baked, over and over, before returning to 2017, re-mounting the tires on the wheel, and allowing them to fail.
That I’d believe.