Monday, September 4, 2006

Jaywalking debate a waste of space

The Daily Iowan's editorial condemning the ICPD’s enforcement of jaywalking penalties is irresponsible. The shaky logic and flawed rhetoric brought forth in bashing the ICPD is representative of the common tendency by students to blindly decry police action in stunning displays of immaturity and laziness. 

Traffic lights direct both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, turning a naturally anarchic jumble of harried students and motorized vehicles into a calm and orderly procession in which everyone takes turns. It all goes back to kindergarten, right? We line up single file and proceed until the crossing guard tells us to stop, then we take turns skipping across the intersection. Some people were apparently never taught the value of sharing, and seem to feel that their time is more valuable than that of the motorists they cut off while haphazardly darting across Iowa Avenue.

The editorial makes the claim that the ICPD was created as a way of extracting money from hapless students, or in some cases, their parents in Naperville. Unfortunately for students deluded by visions of being held down by the man, the truth is far less nefarious, and is more along the lines of the police, having noticed an area where there existed both a blatant disregard for law and order and serious safety issue, stepped in to fulfill their duty to enforced laws designed to protect the well-being of this town’s citizens. 

The author of the editorial seems to feel one’s ability to pay a fine supersedes that person’s responsibility to obey the law. Why not extend this shaky logic to speeding tickets and PAULAs? A student who is caught jaywalking or pounding tequila on his twentieth birthday has broken the law; being a student does not make him less deserving of a fine.

If students see a problem with the laws that govern their lives, the appropriate target is the lawmakers who can actually effect change, not the police officers who merely enforce those laws. And if you’re afraid you can’t afford the ticket, try waiting thirty seconds for the walk light.

Imron Bhatti
editorial writer

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