The Ipod laws

My friend Tom and I chat about the impending ipod laws:

Q: Why did the iPod-wearing chicken cross the road?

A: To test Senator Kruger’s proposed bill.

John,

God, sometimes I think Dems are just plain stupid. It’s paternalistic morons like Kruger that are causing me to be increasingly seduced by the Republican party’s platform.

-Tom.

From Tom Zeller of the NYTimes LAST week, Carl Kruger, a Democratic state senator representing New York’s 27th District in South Brooklyn, introduced a bill into the Legislature that would, he said, tackle the pressing problem of ” iPod oblivion.”

This, the senator suggested, is a sort of walking catatonia suffered by the thousands of owners of not just the popular music device from Apple, but any number of electronic gadgets — from Palm Pilots to cellphones.

The bill, which was referred to the transportation committee on Thursday, seeks to amend New York’s traffic and vehicle statutes by making it a crime to “enter and cross a crosswalk while engaging in the use of an electronic device in a city with a population of one million or more.”

Punishment for violators would include a court summons and a $100 fine.

Mr. Kruger’s justification for the bill, as submitted to the Legislature, was this:

“Since September, three pedestrians have been killed and one critically injured while crossing the street listening to electronic music devices. The use of electronic devices while crossing the street poses a threat to the public safety of pedestrians and motorists. It is impossible to be fully aware of one’s own surroundings when occupied in using an electronic device. This legislation would eliminate this threat to public safety. This legislation is seeking that people take a few seconds of their time to stop using their electronic devices while crossing the street. A few seconds that can save a person’s life.”

Mr. Kruger pointed in particular to a 23-year-old man from the Bergen Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn who was killed last month while crossing the street at Avenue T and East 71st Street — while jamming to his iPod.

….

And more specifically to the issue at hand, why wouldn’t New York’s State Assembly assume that people would, without any legislative prompting, gravitate naturally toward a judicious mix of iPod get-down and personal safety on city streets? It actually happens pretty much every day, all day.

Sure, people will get hit by buses while listening to iPods. But then, they’ve been getting hit by buses for decades anyway — while reading a newspaper, talking to companions or simply daydreaming about a better day.

Perhaps Mr. Kruger would like to outlaw daydreaming in crosswalks, too.

Me:

Tom,

When I railed against no smoking laws, everyone laughed and thought I was cute. Smokers were the hand in the dyke holding back the nanny state. Now that the dyke has burst we will soon be mandated to wear floaties on a rainy day and four layers of clothing when it gets below 40 degrees. Too much Trans-fat is bad for you? Banned. Fois Gras? Those poor birds; banned. We are the state and you need to be taken care of, pursuit of happiness be damned.

The SUVs are next.

Tom:
John,

Wow, sounds like I’ve hit a nerve.

You had better watch it, young man, or you might find your sympathies aligning with the ACLU on certain issues.

-Tom.

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