Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Public Behavior: Stupidity Roams the World

[This is from a regular poster on this blog, Fletcher. Note the justification for this addled women's reckless behavior: she was imidating a video game. Crossing traffic with one's offspring now becomes a game, and a game that the drivers are supposed to understand as well. Pray this women finds some sanity before it's too late for her or her children.]

My wife and I were driving down Belleview near our house to go to the grocery store, when this pregnant lady pushing a stroller with a two year old girl comes blazing across the street into four lanes of busy traffic. She was literally bobbing and weaving in and out of cars traveling about 40 mph to get to the middle stripe… where I thought she would stop. Then, she began darting out into our two lanes and ran full speed right in front of us.. Or so I thought that's where she was headed. So I slammed on my breaks as to not kill her family, and she YELLED (loud) at me "Keep driving!! You are going to get me run over!!!" I think because I slowed down abruptly I foiled her plans somehow because she had it all timed out (there was another car barreling down on her in the lane to our left, so the ideas to narrowly dart in between both cars).

So I went and parked right there, got out, and I said "I am sorry about that, but I thought you were going in front of me". She said "NO! I wasn't going to run out in front of you, I was doing a 'Frogger sort of thing'" (Yes, she actually said that!). Frogger is an 80's video game where you control a video frog that jumps from floating log to floating log trying to avoid falling in the river, and also the occasional snapping crocodile jaws. Of course, if you miss a log - you die in the game. Which was also a part of her little traffic game.

So I said "I would suggest that you wait until no cars or coming before you cross the street with your children", to which she replied angrily "OH YEAH RIGHT YOU SMARTASS!"

Unbelievable. It would have been even more unbelievable had you seen it in person. Several near misses… and for what?


Ed Darrell said...

You did the correct thing. Do you think you should perhaps pass the story along to your local child protective services unit?

Is there a need for pedestrian crossing there? Perhaps this is a sign that you need to get involved lobbying local government to act to protect these poor kids . . .

Fletcher said...

The need to cross right there was the ability to avoid walking down about one full block to use the crosswalk at Bellewview and Federal. Of course that would require a full 2 more minutes of exertion, no wonder she chose to play "Family Frogger".

The root of many (or most) of the issues in our society starts in the home, with families. PARENTS are responsible for raising reasonable, hard working, discerning, sober children.... and yet anyone can have children. Dr. Groothuis brought up a good point: maybe parenting should require training, certification, or a license of some sort? Why not? Many things require licensing. Driving, using firearms, building, dentistry, realtors, environmental scientists, teachers, on and on it goes. But when it comes to the mother of all responsibilities - shaping human beings, it's a free for all!?

Susan said...

Someone was killed right out in front of the building where I work a couple of years ago, because of something like this. The pedestrian walked out into the middle of the 4-lane road and was waiting to cross the whole way over. (4-lane road, two lanes in each direction) and an approaching truck saw the pedestrian, slowed down, and stopped, thinking to be kind in doing so, and waved the pedestrian accross. However, the truck blocked the pedestrian's view of another approaching car, in the second lane, and as soon as the pedestrian crossed into that was too late---they were struck head-on and died from the blow. This is a lesson to all who think it's a good idea to stop and allow that person waiting in the median to cross the line of traffic where there is no traffic light! Froggers beware!

Jonathan_Samuelson said...

It's telling that a conspicuous facet of our Darwin-saturated, survival-oriented, sacrifice-eschewing Western culture is not rising levels of personal responsibility toward the aim of survival but rather a general slouch toward recklessness and carelessness, both personal and interpersonal, of which this woman's human Froggery is just one example. If morality is not rooted in the triune God but in the tetherless self, and if reality itself is just a cage of matter, life is ultimately devoid of value and there is no reason to survive. Perhaps the strangest fruit of Darwinian survivalism is how it

Having said that, I also notice that we often turn good and evil into mere intelligence and stupidity.
For instance, stories of stupid criminals are very popular fodder for news--the implied belief behind them is that criminality is not a moral matter but a function of a defective intellect, not sinfulness but stupidity. And in movies criminals are often extremely stupid or extremely intelligent--in other words, they are unlike most of us. But sin is not just a defect, and it
runs through us all. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago (1973):
"[T]he line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhlemed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil."

John Stockwell said...


As a walker, I would have to point out that it often safer to cross at mid-street rather than at intersections for the simple reason that you don't have cars making turns in mid-street. Also, walklights tend to be distressingly short, timed for the Olympic sprinter rather than the normal person. Mid-street crossing (i.e. jaywalking) generally gives you the ability judge the speed of oncoming vehicles allowing you the time your crossing accordingly.

Of course, this only works if the drivers maintain a constant speed. That is why it is particularly irritating when you have some well-meaining driver stop and wait for you to cross, when it would be better if he/she would simply drive on. Such people should realize that they are disrupting the flow of traffic, and making it generally more difficult for the pedestrian.

If you think that t.v. is eroding morality in our culture, you might reconsider that it is really the automobile. The driver of a car sits in priviledged isolated from his/her fellow citizen, anonymous in his/her armor of glass and steel, and free to rage and curse his fellow anonymous driver, the bicyclist, and the pedestrian.

Fletcher said...

Jonathan -

You've got to be kidding me?
Your response here is ridiculous.

I have consistently observed that your objective is to counterargue everything you see on this blog, including common sense arguments such as "don't dash in and out of busy high speed traffic while pregnant with a three year old in a stroller".

You can do better...

John Stockwell said...

Dear Mr. Fletcher,

I hardly post anything on this blog. When I do it is because I believe that one or more of the principal players here is stating something that I believe is incorrect.

Usually the items are obvious misrepresentations of basic science, often of the theory and phenomenon of evolution, such as the wasted exercise in typing that Mr. Samuelson posted above, or some howlingly ridiculous defense of intelligent design creationism (such as links to the Discovery Institute's padded resume of irrelevent supporters or the list of self "peer-reviewed" ID publications.)

It is a hackneyed cliche that there are two sides to every story, but it is a basic fact that eyewitness accounts are the least reliable forms of evidence, and thus should always be questioned.

Such is DG's claim that a woman was "dashing out in traffic" we really only have his claim to this sequence of events.

The fact that DG stopped his car long enough to both impede the woman's passage across the street, and to scold her indicates to me he was likely stopping cross lane from the woman, and thus changing the flow of traffic, likely putting her at greater peril than she was already in.

Should the woman have crossed at the intersection? Probably, but not necessarily. If the light is too short for somebody of impeded capacity, if there is no turn lane, if there is good visibility, and if there is an obvious median (raised or not), then crossing mid-block may be safer than crossing at the intersection, because two two-lane crossings may be safer than one four-lane crossing.

The only thing we can be thankful for is that she was merely pregnant and pushing a baby carriage. If she also had been carrying a thermos full of stem-cells, we would never hear the end of it!

Fletcher said...


I responded to you directly because the originator of the account and the driver of the car was in fact myself. Had you read the original post more carefully you would have seen that.

I didn't talk to the lady until after I pulled over and parked, as she happened to be headed to the same place I was I guess. She was truly "darting"... running fast, through cars that were going fast, and lots of them. I seriously thought to myself "is this lady smoking crack?" Maybe she was.

I HAD to slow down or there was a good chance I would have run her down, seriously.

By stating that she was darting, you therefore know that this particular person was not impeded, she was in fact demonstrably capable of brisk movement.

Here's an objective truth: Pregnant women, women with children, or even worse both... should NEVER go running out through several lanes of opposing high speed busy traffic "doing a frogger" thing and risking the lives of their children. Despite being plain stupid and very dangerous, it is also illegal - and for good reason.

Would you refute that for any sound reason?

PamBG said...

I find the original post scary. I have wondered for ages whether playing video games desensitised people to the dangers of "real life" driving.