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View Diary: Cops arrest, rough up, hold for 12hrs and charge woman with obstruction/resisting for jaywalking(!) (90 comments)

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  •  I guess I object to a series of assumptions (1+ / 0-)
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    "What if everybody just ran out into the street in front of traffic?" Well, note that everybody doesn't run wildly into traffic; nor does the fact that everybody doesn't run out into traffic rely upon financial sanctions, a pervasive police presence, or deep respect for the sacred rule of law.

    On the other hand, twist your "what if" scenario slightly: what if cities were designed for the comfort and convenience of people rather than for the (seemingly) inefficient comfort of the private automobile? Now, I understand that most American cities are not designed this way (they used to be more so, but that's another story). But the first step to dislodging habitual thinking is to entertain the seemingly unrealistic in its pragmatic implications; my argument is that we're so accustomed to being herded, thwarted, sanctioned, intimidated, and ruled that we've lost sight of some things that used to be pretty common sense.

    Incidentally, I don't really believe in national characteristics, but I do believe in observing norms. If you want a glimpse into how little Americans actually value individual conscience, freedom of decision, etc., remain seated during the national anthem at a ball game sometime and listen to what people say. If you want a glimpse into what many people would view as a long-standing quality of Germans, cross a totally empty street against the "Don't Walk" signal.

    So yeah, I kind of went Godwin with the last line, but it's also true.  

    •  I tend to agree with you, on the other hand, (2+ / 0-)
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      Swill to Power, Cvstos

      I guess I just don't feel oppressed by common-sense rules for navigating congested streets down which potential death-machines in the form of cars, busses and streetcars travel. Or maybe I lived in Austria for too long. ;)

      As far as the National Anthem is concerned, I used to be a shcoolteacher in public school and I neither recited nor compelled my students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on the grounds that I find loyalty oaths to be abhorrent AND many in the class were not citizens. This was in Texas. I am very well aware of the herd mentality. It's just that I think when it comes to city streets, if there were ever a place for herding (or at least obeying walk/don't walk lights), city streets is it.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:27:21 PM PDT

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