Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Who Watches the Watchers?

Today, I was walking to work and I passed the downtown police station as I do every day. And as I approached, I saw an officer leave the station and cross right in the middle of the street. For those who don't know the area I'm talking about, basically the station is one of only two buildings on the block on that side. There's a curb with a crosswalk maybe ten feet from the door of the station, really not far at all. And there is another crosswalk maybe twice the distance on the other side. We aren't talking huge stretches of street here; it would take maybe 30 seconds to a minute to walk to a crosswalk before crossing the street.

But this officer felt the need to just walk into the road, as so many moronic pedestrians do. I'm a pedestrian and it offends me ANY time a moron walks in the middle of the road, ignoring a perfectly good crosswalk. I think people like that deserve to be hit by cars and the driver not be faulted for it. But it's far worse when police officers are jaywalking like this. Again, I'm not talking about some stretch of road where there's no nearby crosswalk for half a mile. There's literally a crossing on either side of the station. This was not the first officer I've seen do the same thing. What gives them the right to flagrantly ignore jaywalking laws for their own convenience when it would take all of thirty seconds to safely cross in a crosswalk?

So as soon as the officer stepped off the curb, I said, "You've got to be kidding me." He turned at me sort of taken aback, but then kept going. And as he did, I sort of shouted, "You think just because you're a cop you don't have to use a crossing like normal people and flout the law with impunity?" Now by this point he had gotten to the other side of the road to his car or whatever he was approaching and gets all indignant and says something back at me. But I had earphones in, and couldn't hear him properly. Besides, I wasn't going to have it out with a police officer while he's standing in the middle of the road. Also, let's be clear, this was not some emergency "police business" issue. He was just crossing the street.

But what gives him the right to be all indignant at me for being offended that he ignored basic traffic law? It reminds me of a time maybe a month or two ago when a female police officer who was in the road directing traffic yelled at me for crossing the street in a crosswalk while I had a walk signal! Some car took a right turn ahead and could have hit me because of course drivers don't pay attention here. He turned even though there was a walk signal on and he's supposed to yield to pedestrians. Yes, the sign had JUST started blinking "don't walk", but I would have made it across in no time if Lady Interference hadn't felt the need to tell ME off for crossing a street I cross all the time in a crosswalk while a pedestrian signal was on. As if it were MY fault that a car wasn't paying attention to me. I just wanted to say to her, "I would have crossed safely if you hadn't stopped me here in the middle of the street!" I truly have no idea what prompted her to say anything apart from the fact she had a badge and probably felt like exercising a little power that day just because she could.

I'm a law-abiding citizen. I always cross on a signal or when it is safe for me to do so based on the traffic signal pattern. I know when I can cross and when I can't. I make a point of using crosswalks when I'm supposed to, and I do not appreciate cops thinking they are better than everyone else and just strolling wherever they feel like because moving 20 feet to a crosswalk is inconvenient. Police officers are not above the law, and they should abide by the same rules they expect the public to follow. That officer today should lead by example. But instead, I'm the crazy one for expecting law enforcement to abide by their own rules. We the public cannot stand idly by when things like this happen. I'm not expecting a lot, am I? The day we allow the enforcers to do as they please is the day we begin the treacherous slope to strip of the rights of the citizenry, and establish an oppressive oligarchy.

I say to those in power the same I say to the rest of us: don't step out of line, particularly of that line denotes a crosswalk.

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