Readers React

Jaywalking down a road to anarchy?

To the editor: I wonder if author Stephen Baker drives; I would guess not. I drive in Santa Monica seven days a week, and each time I do, a pedestrian crosses the street, seemingly without ever considering the traffic situation, causing me to instantly brake. Or people enter the crosswalk on the “don't walk,” in some instances preventing right-hand turns and impeding the flow of traffic, which has become a nightmare. ( “Why pedestrians will always go rogue,” Opinion, July 13)

This increasing lack of courtesy toward others is not a cry for freedom. It is a self-indulgent act of disregard for the meaning of community and shows a lack of respect for civility.

Diane Stanfield, Santa Monica


To the editor: I presume Baker is attempting satire. Jaywalking as a cry for “freedom?” Pedestrians observing a basic law as “behaving like machines?” “Rules, by their very nature, are dumb?” Jonathan Swift would be proud.

Baker clearly has issues both with the computer industry — he notes “packs of knowledge workers huddled on street corners,” oblivious to their societal chains — and with authority in general, describing laws against jaywalking as “crackdowns” that “treat them like herd animals.”

Get real. Most jaywalkers I've observed aren't protesting an increasingly oppressive government. They're merely impatient and selfish, sharing Baker's disdain for rules they don't like. They risk injury or death rather than a minute's inconvenience.

Living in a society

requires a certain amount of common sense, courtesy and compassion for others, concepts to which Baker appears either ignorant or apathetic. He should save his jeremiads for a more noble cause than crossing against the light.

David Daniel, Woodland Hills


To the editor: I would guess that among those “machine” people Baker sees at traffic lights, patiently waiting for the light to go green, will be not only tech nerds but probably several older people such as I, who were taught from earliest childhood that “red” means “stop” and “green” means “go,” whether you are a driver or a pedestrian.

For whatever reason, the love for order and decorum I was raised with has survived the social tumult of the last 60-odd years. I don't care who marries whom, nor even how many of them, and if you want to smoke some dope in the process, be my guest.

But crossing Lake Avenue or Wilshire Boulevard in mid-block, against the light or between them, is a terrible idea and calls for official discouragement.

Will Owen, Pasadena


To the editor: Great idea: jaywalking as self-expression. But let's get rid of all those freedom-inhibiting rules. Let's free the car drivers from those laws that forbid running down a jaywalker. Messy at first, perhaps, but pretty soon there wouldn't be any jaywalkers.

Arthur Armstrong, Manhattan Beach

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