"I agree, having a manual break should be required as a bare minimum."
A manual brake would be even more useful, along with a kill switch for the engine.
No, a manual break, such as sledgehammer to the wheel or knife to the tire, will work just fine.
A clearer statement than "we took our plaques off our wall" is needed, but assuming there is a clear statement from Tesla that they will only use these patents defensively, anyone who takes them at their word should be safe.
Telsa should have the CEO publicly post such a statement where Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology. This will be quickly picked up by tech blogs and linked to the statement.
Look what happened to polio culture. Not cool, man. Not cool.
I would not worry about it. With the right environment, you can always grow polio culture.