If we only had some brains

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A New York senator wants to make texting and walking illegal. The proposed law would make using electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods and the like illegal while crossing a crosswalk in a city with a population of one million or more.

This proposed law comes after several recent incidents: three texting-related deaths in New York’s Brooklyn district, a Manhattan man backed over by a semi he didn’t hear because of his iPod, a woman in Pennsylvania falling into a mall fountain, and a Staten Island teen falling down a manhole while text-walking. Two individuals are even threatening legal action.

While this law has yet to be proposed in Canada, it likely won’t be too long before someone’s MP drafts some variation of it. But even if we remain able to legally text and walk, this law will affect Canadian tourists in New York.

The recent deaths are senseless and sad, absolutely. The possible lawsuits must be frightening for the states and cities they are being threatened in.

But when did society start needing laws to follow common sense practices?

Not so long ago, walking into a manhole while texting would have been the stuff of blonde jokes and stand-up comedy. We were all taught to look both ways before we cross the street, because our parents and grandparents knew that getting run over was a very real danger.

Look where you’re walking. It’s that simple. If you have to answer that urgent text message immediately, do so before walking across the street.

Drivers are required by law to stop for pedestrians using crosswalks. Crosswalks were created to keep people on foot safe, similar to red lights and stop and yield signs to protect other motorists. When did we get in such a hurry that we feel we don’t have time to follow the laws put in place for our own good?

We complain about not having any rights, yet we consistently prove we require more laws to prevent the same dangers that have always been present in some form or another.

Cell phones and other electronics may be new, but distractions are not. Common sense and law-abiding shouldn’t be phased out with the invention of new and better technology. Many comments on the news stories discussing this proposed law are angry. People are upset about losing more freedom. But apparently society has been given too much rope and is just hanging itself with the excess.

Is this proposed law ridiculous? No. What’s ridiculous is that we need a law to know we should walk around potentially moving vehicles with our heads up, eyes ahead, and ears open.

Cheyenne Geysen
Op-Ed Editor

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