Who tries to run Montag over in Fahrenheit 451? What does this reveal about this society?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Montag is almost run over by a group of teenagers, demonstrating the disregard for human life in his society.

When Montag is running away from the Mechanical Hound after fleeing for his life following the murder of Beatty, he thinks he is being chased by the police.  When the car passes him, he realizes that it was not the police after all.

A carful of children, … out whistling, yelling, hurrahing, had seen a man, a very extraordinary sight, a man strolling, a rarity, and simply said, "Let's get him," not knowing he was the fugitive … (Part III)

The fact that they do not know who he is and do not know that he is on the run from the law demonstrates the lack of appreciation for human life in their society.  Clarisse mentions this to Montag earlier in the novel, when she describes how kids routinely kill each other because they are bored.

The police do not care how fast a person drives as long as they have “ten thousand Insurance” (Part I).  Kids joyride around town and intentionally try to hit pedestrians for the fun of it.  Montag is horrified.  Of course, it would not have been much better if they were trying to catch him because he was on the run.

The lack of books has clearly degraded society.  People no longer care for one another.  There is no emotion at all.  Most of them just stare at the television and ignore each other.  Children don’t have responsibility, and neither do adults.  Society is out of control.