I am trying to interpret the following sentence:
"They went from zero to 90."
Here are the lines from the article in NYTimes:
Ms. McDowell, 33, was arrested April 14 on felony charges of committing and attempting to commit first-degree larceny by using her baby sitter’s address to enroll her son in a Norwalk school in the fall. She could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, if convicted, and could be ordered to pay more than $15,000 in restitution, roughly the cost of a year’s tuition in Norwalk schools.
“They went from zero to 90,” Ms. Samuel said, “without ever thinking about what they were doing to the child.”
Does it mean the authorities are acting too harsh towards the woman or does the sentence refer to the range of measures the authorities have used to punish the woman?
Thank you for your time and help.
Last edited by vectra; 29-Apr-2011 at 08:22.
It appears to mean that the authorities, faced with what was actually not a crime (zero on the crime scale), treated it impetuously as if it were an extremely serious crime (90 on the scale).
An alternative interpretation, though with a similar idea, would be that the authorities went from no action/movement (zero miles per hour) to an extrememly high speed (90 mph)
especially the second - but as you say they're closely related. Among readers of a certain sort of magazine, '0 to 60 in N seconds' is a more-or-less standard measurement of acceleration. I guess 'zero to ninety' is a metricated version (since 60 kph isn't much to brag about ).