So, this morning, I was driving my son to summer school at about 7:30 A.M.  I took my usual route, sitting at a red light waiting for the left turn arrow for about 60 – 70 seconds.  The light turned to a green left arrow, and one car in the lane beside me drove through the intersection while out of the right side of the intersection a group of young adults darted out in front of all the other cars, blocking my lane from proceeding through the green arrow when the crosswalk clearly stated STOP to pedestrians.  Does this seem like such a big deal?  Maybe not to some.  But I can honestly say that I see this kind of thing happen DAILY in my community.  A friend of mine and I were discussing this very thing the other day as we watched three groups of people dart across A1A at the beach, less than 50 feet from a crosswalk.  As it happened, after this morning’s jaywalking incident, I returned home and flipped on the Today show, to listen to a story about a mother in Cobb County, Georgia, who decided to jaywalk across a four-lane highway with her three children in the dark, and lost her four-year-old son to a drunk driver who did not stop after running him over.  This is a horrific tragedy.  If you haven’t heard this story, you may read about it here.  The mother is facing a three-year-jail sentence if convicted of jaywalking and/or child endangerment.  The driver has a prior hit-and-run/DUI record from 1997  and faces a  MUCH shorter jail time for this hit-and-run.  (According to the article, he had been drinking earlier in the day, but it’s unclear from this link whether he was actually drunk at the time of this accident.) Is this fair?  Hasn’t this mother suffered enough losing her son?   I can’t even begin to imagine (and I don’t want to) what it must be like to lose a child.  I sympathize with this woman and I pray for her to find peace.  The man who killed her child deserves to be punished; with a record for drunk driving, he had no business on the road.  But what about the jaywalking?  Is it right to turn a blind eye?  I know it seems so trivial to the other things that are going on this country.  But after what I’ve been witnessing lately in my own community, shouldn’t SOMETHING be done?  A fine?  Maybe some parenting classes?  Something?  I don’t agree that three years in jail away from her other two children is necessarily the right thing, but she did put her children in harm’s way.  This mother was 3/10 of a mile away from a crosswalk, carrying groceries and crossed the highway with three kids dodging traffic.  Seems to me, if you are unable to hold your four-year-old child’s hand in that situation, maybe walking to the crosswalk might be a good idea.

This casual attitude about rule following is so frustrating.  Yesterday, my son wanted to sign up to play an online game.  He visited the website, filled in the information, and when it got to the “birthday” section, was advised that he must be 13 years old in order to sign up.  He protested that he could play it anyway, nothing on there was *bad*.  But I explained to him that in order for him to play, we would have to lie about his age.  I was pleased to see that that simple word “lie” was all that he needed to hear.  He simply said “OK” and that was the end of the issue.  I wonder, though, how many people would have done what I did?  How many would think “No big deal – it’s only a game”?  How many parents have permitted a 10-year-old child a Facebook page when the privacy policy states that they MUST be 13 years old?  How many think “No big deal if I cross the street here – I don’t feel like walking an extra 30 feet”? What is it going to take to get people to begin to respect the rules and regulations that were created for safety?  It’s horrible that it takes a tragedy to bring these types of issues to light…………….at least for some.

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