We are indeed a bizarre species, a theme I’ve addressed herein countless times.
For instance, researchers at the University of Nevada have found that drivers of expensive cars are less likely to stop to allow pedestrians to cross in front of them than the rest of us. Lead researcher, Courtney Coughenor, ass’t prof. of Community Health Sciences at the UN Las Vegas campus, set up the study. She and her assistants recruited four pedestrians, dressed similarly to insure equal visibility, to traverse a busy crosswalk in the city, one that is also used by students at a nearby elementary school. The test subjects took a step onto the street and made eye contact with oncoming drivers. Posted signs require drivers to stop for pedestrians there. Better than two-thirds of the drivers did not stop to allow the pedestrians to cross, which is bad enough.
Coughenor’s study, published in the Journal of Transport and Health, also found that drivers as a whole stopped less frequently for crossers of color and/or males than they did for whites and/or females. But the surprising (or not) finding was that for every $1000 increase in their cars’ sticker price, drivers were three percent less likely to stop for any pedestrians.
Coughenor et al concluded, “One potential explanation may be that drivers of higher value cars… felt a sense of superiority over other road users. Similarly, individuals of lower socioeconomic status (SES) may empathize more with the pedestrians.”
Using Coughenor’s car-value formula, I wonder if drivers of the Rolls Royce Sweptail — at $13 million, the most expensive car in the world — simply mow down pedestrians willy-nilly. And knowing how this holy land’s justice system works, they’d probably get away with it.
I’ve always said I’d hate like hell to be a member of either a school district board or a municipal planning board. They’re thankless jobs guaranteed to get you into hot water with just about everybody in town.
Add one more position to that list right now: serving on the Bloomington Board of Parks Commissioners. Their raucous meeting last night, acc’d’g to the Herald Times, resulted in the board’s decision to forbid at this year’s Farmers Market, “picketing, demonstrating, yelling, excessive or unreasonable noise-making, obstructing or hindering the flow of pedestrians or access to a vendor, and other conduct disrupting market activities.”
Those enraged by the presence of white supremacist Sarah Dye of the Schooner Creek Farm the last few years became even more hot under the collar during and after the meeting. Local social media heated up last night in the wake of the decision, with protesters and allies calling foul. Their argument: Dye and her Euro-caucasian supporters have been protected under the US Constitution’s 1st Amendment since the contretemps started a couple of years ago but no such protection applies to the protesters.
Frankly, I don’t know what the hell I’d do were I entrusted with the impossible task of clearing this mess up. Anti-racist protesters say all the city had to do was throw Dye and her farm out of the Farmers Market the moment it became obvious she belonged to the American Identity Movement (nee, Identity Evropa). Mayor John Hamilton — whose wife Dawn Johnsen is a constitutional scholar and, I’d have to imagine, shared some thoughts with him over the dinner table — refused to do that and now he’s being buffeted from all sides by protests, rancor, and lawsuits.
The most radical of the city’s anti-racism voices are now portraying the city as a cesspool of white racists. Dye et al are suing Hamilton et al for wronging her by allowing protesters to raise cain this past summer. Now it’s the parks board’s turn to feel the heat.
Sometimes I wonder why anybody would want to get into government at all.