Is this really the key law enforcement innovation needed in Bloody Chicago, the murder capital?
The lethal combination of one-party domination and failed progressive ideology have turned Chicago into a killing zone in certain neighborhoods, with the chaos now spreading to the rest of the city (see here, here, and here for examples). So what law enforcement challenges are on the minds of key aldermen? Bill Ruthhart of the Chicago Tribune supplies the answer:
A pair of key Chicago aldermen want to fine pedestrians up to $500 if they're caught texting or using a cellphone while walking through an intersection[.] ...
The proposed ordinance, which would still have to pass the full City Council, calls for fines of $90 to $500 for each incident of using a mobile device while crossing a street or highway.
"The goal of the introduction of this measure is to reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries, especially at crosswalks," longtime Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, said in a news release. Burke is co-sponsoring the proposed ordinance with South Side Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, who predicted it would "increase safety by eliminating distractions for pedestrians."
The two aldermen cited statistics showing 27 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2017 – an increase of one death from the same period last year. From 2011 through 2015, the city averaged 20.8 pedestrian fatalities, according to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Burke and Beale did not present any data or information on how many of those deaths involved a pedestrian using a mobile device. Luann Hamilton, the city's deputy transportation commissioner, said Wednesday that there is no data showing a link between distracted walking and an increase in pedestrian deaths.
That's right: instead of tackling the murder rate, this law enforcement initiative would create a new offense that will bring in new revenue – and shear the sheep with a serious fine, a sum of cash that would be beyond the means of the lower third or so of the income distribution to come up with. Ahem: Social justice warriors already are targeting fines imposed on poor people that they cannot pay.
It was the United States Department of Justice's investigation into the Ferguson Police Department after an officer killed Michael Brown in 2014 that "awakened" the federal government and much of the general public to the burden of municipal fines and fees, issued for everything from traffic violations, to mismatched curtains, to court costs. When people can't afford to pay these fees, they end up with criminal warrants, drivers' license suspensions, and even end up in jail.
So this lunatic proposal, a predacious move to use the police force to shake down the populace for more money without "raising taxes," would divert police and jail resources (already stretched beyond the breaking point) from murders to harassing pedestrians, and eventually incarcerating a share of them.
It's probably too blatantly predatory, and Onion-level absurd, to be enacted. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is wary:
"Everybody does it, and then everybody's irritated when somebody else does it," the mayor said of pedestrians walking distracted by a phone. "So my total view is I want to look at it. I think it has something to do with people's own safety and their attention around their own environments and around them, and for their own safety and the safety of others."
The everybody-does-it reality probably will doom this.
Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly wasted no time dismissing the idea of fining pedestrians during an afternoon appearance on the "Roe Conn Show" on WGN-AM 720. Reilly said the city has a hard enough time enforcing other laws already on the books, such as speeding through intersections.
The progressive impulse to coerce people into behaving themselves is on display here, no matter what the future of this legislation. The proles just are not smart enough to pay attention when they cross the street. They must be disciplined.
It is beyond absurd to focus the police on the minutiae of everyday behavior when the progressives' nanny state cannot competently deliver even the most basic necessity: civil order.
Hat tip: Peter von Buol