Penalty For Jaywalking: Cops Make You Bleed

It may shock you to know that in New York City, amongst the millions of teeming people—some of whom drive and some of whom walk—there are fatal vehicle accidents. In most cases, just to shock you again, the person walking is the one who dies. So, according to the New York ruling class, as represented by their current puppet, Bill de Blasio (whoever proves he can scam the most people is obviously qualified to be a PR front for the ruling class), these deaths aren’t accidents of city life: they are the results of people not following the rules. According to the New York Post:

Mayor de Blasio’s spokesman, Phil Walzak, said Sunday, “We won’t sit by while lives are lost and families are torn apart. These latest crashes underscore the urgent need to make our streets safer, which is why we are moving decisively to enact ‘Vision Zero’.”

This was reported under the headline, “Cops Bloody Old Man—For Jaywalking.”

Cops bloodied an 84-year-old man and put him in the hospital Sunday when he jaywalked at an Upper West Side intersection and didn’t appear to understand their orders to stop, witnesses said.

Admittedly, the octogenarian did push against a policeman’s pull before being swarmed by cops. You will have to read about the “incident” for yourself and decide what you think.

His 41-year-old son, a lawyer who would not give his name, first said at the station house Sunday night that did not wish to discuss his feelings about the incident.

“I don’t want to talk about anything like that in front of all these cops,’’ he told the Post

But walking farther down the street, he said, “The cops are playing games. They won’t tell me what he’s being charged with.”

He first heard his dad had been busted in a 6 p.m. phone call from cops, who asked if the elderly man needed medication but would not say which hospital he’d been taken to. So the son went to the station house, where he said he got a similar run-around.

Finally, he found out on his own that his dad was at St. Luke’s and had been arrested for jaywalking.

“Oh, great! Beating up on an 84-year-old man for jaywalking,’’ he said.

Neither the hospital nor the cops would allow him to see his dad until after 10 p.m., explaining that since he’d not been admitted, he was not a patient, but a “prisoner.’’

Early Monday, cops fingerprinted Wong and charged him with jaywalking, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. He went home, accompanied by several family members, with a desk-appearance ticket.

Another of Wong’s sons, who also would not give his name, said the family “will probably press charges’’ against the cops, adding:

“He was just walking across the street with other people, and they picked him out. How could they do that to an 84-year-old man.’’

The conservative Presbyterian pastor and seminary professor J. Gresham Machen wrote about anti-jaywalking laws when they were first being considered for Philadelpia where he lived. I think his insight is proving prophetic:

These anti-pedestrian laws are intended either for the protection of the pedestrian, or for the convenience of the motorist. In either case . . . they are wrong.

If they are intended to protect the pedestrian from himself, they are paternalistic. I am opposed to paternalism. Among other far more serious objections to it is the objection that it defeats its own purpose. The children of some over-cautious parents never learn to take care of themselves, and so are far more apt to get hurt than children who lead a normal life. So I do not believe that in the long run it will be in the interests of safety if people get used to doing nothing except what a policeman or a traffic light tells them to do, and thus never learn to exercise reasonable care.

I am sorry when I see people taking foolish chances on the street. I believe in urging them not to do it. If they do it in outrageous and unreasonable fashion I should not be particularly averse to fining them for obstructing traffic. I rather think that might even be done under existing laws.

But I am dead opposed to subjecting a whole city because of the comparatively few incautious people to a treadmill regime like that which prevails in Western cities. I resent such a regime for myself. I have tried it, and I know that it prevent me from the best, and simplest pleasure that a man can have, which is walking. But I resent it particularly because it is a discrimination against the poor and in favor of the rich.

That brings us to the real purpose of these laws, which is not that pedestrians should be spared injury but that motorists should be spared a little inconvenience. I drive a car from the driver’s point of view. I know how trifling is the inconvenience which is saved thus at the expense of the liberty of the poorer people in the community. Indeed, I do not believe that in the long run it is for the benefit even of the motorist. I think it is a dreadful thing to encourage in the motorist’s mind, as these laws unquestionably do, the notion that he is running on something like a railroad track cleared for his special benefit.
After all, the most serious objection to these doctrinaire, paternalistic laws is the bad effect which they have upon the mentality of people. I do think we ought to call a halt to the excessive mechanization of human life. When I am in one of those over-regulated Western cities, I always feel as though I were in some kind of penal institution. I should certainly hate to see Philadelphia make like those places.

So, what do you think? Is New York City not more like “some kind of penal institution” thanks to over-regulation? I doubt Machen had brutal guards in mind as part of the comparison. Do the poor end up being treated worse than the rich?

By the way, the city gets $250 a pop when they ticket someone for jaywalking. But I’m sure de Blasio is too saintly to be after more city revenue.