Thursday, January 20, 2011
When pedestrians get killed by drivers, who is to blame?
Well, if you read the Washington Examiner, you might be surprised to learn that a slight nationwide increase in pedestrian fatalities could be the fault of Michelle Obama and her "Let's Move" campaign. Because, you know, isn't everything?
[W]hat might be most depressing about the whole ridiculous thing is that in this country, merely wanting to walk from one place to another can qualify you as being "into physical fitness."
They're just asking for it, walking that way. Reminded me of an old Bradbury short story called The Pedestrian:
Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles and retum only at midnight to his house. And on his way he would see the cottages and homes with their dark windows, and it was not unequal to walking through a graveyard where only the faintest glimmers of firefly light appeared in flickers behind the windows. Sudden gray phantoms seemed to manifest upon inner room walls where a curtain was still undrawn against the night, or there were whisperings and murmurs where a window in a tomb-like building was still open.
He was within a block of his destination when the lone car turned a corner quite suddenly and flashed a fierce white cone of light upon him. He stood entranced, not unlike a night moth, stunned by the illumination, and then drawn toward it.
A metallic voice called to him:"Stand still. Stay where you are! Don’tmove!"
"Put up your hands!"
"What are you doing out?"
"Walking," said Leonard Mead.
"Just walking," he said simply, but his facefelt cold.
"Walking, just walking, walking?"
"Here." There was a sigh, a pop. The back door of the police car sprangwide. "Get in."
"Wait a minute, I haven't done anything!"
"Where are you taking me?"
The car hesitated, or rather gave a faint whirring click, as if information, somewhere, was dropping card by punch-slotted card under electric eyes.
"To the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies."
The car moved down the empty river-bedstreets and off away, leaving the empty streets withthe empty side-walks, and no sound and no motion allthe rest of the chill November night.
That was more an observation about TV, but I think makes an oblique comment about modern attitudes toward walking itself which is just as germane...
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