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Jaywalking: NOT a Victimless Crime

Guest editorial by Edith Draheim,
pedestrian activist

I see you impatient people crossing the street any which-way, and I am shocked at your selfishness and bad attitude. Crossing walks and pedestrian crossing lights were invented for a reason, folks, and that reason is PUBLIC SAFETY.

Whose theory is it that jawalking is a victimless crime? I'll tell you: it’s the reckless pedestrians who race headlong across the street who spew those myths that there is no one hurt in this rampant wave of street crime.

And who are the victims, you ask? Let's start with the truly outstanding and industrious pedestrian, who follows all the rules but gets passed up by speed demons in expensive walking shoes. Sidewalks are about fundamental fairness. Not everyone walks exceptionally well, but the sidewalks were designed to level the playing field, so to speak. Jaywalkers reinforce distorted notions of superior mobility, and bring a sense of failure to those whose legs prevent them from dashing through traffic like a meth-crazed gazelle.

And what about the children, for gosh sakes? I am reminded that the average starting age for jaywalking is eight. EIGHT YEARS OLD! I think of these impressionable victims of the jaywalkers, the families involved, the prenatally damaged, the abused children of the jaywalkwers, and a society devastated by jaywalking. All of a sudden - those civil infractions seem like a joke.

And really: what's the big hurry, Mr. Fancy Pants? Whatever you are running to - or running from - will wait. If it won't it's probably something naughty you shouldn't even be doing, like my neighbor's boy Jimmy, who thinks no one's looking when he plays with his tally-whacker in his bedroom.

And you know what? Jimmy's a jaywalker, too. This is what they call one of those gateway behaviors: first jaywalking, then tally-whacking, and the next thing you know Jimmy's murdering little old ladies for their SSI checks.


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