Monday, February 9, 2009

Pedestrians are moving targets

Disgusting. A Jersey City cop was driving drunk and hit two pedestrians in the crosswalk last week. Marilyn Feng, a recent graduate from NYU was killed, and her boyfriend was seriously injured. Yesterday's Gothamist reported that the mother of the driver is a complete asshole (emphasis and links from Gothamist, entry starts with "After" and ends with "pay"):

After Jersey City cop Martin Abreu was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, after allegedly striking two pedestrians—killing one and injuring the other—his mother defended him. The Daily News reports that a woman who identified herself as Abreu's mother said, "It was her fault," referring to 26-year-old Marilyn Feng, who died while crossing West Street at Albany in Battery Park City. The woman added, "So my son went out and had a couple of drinks. He deserves to have a good time now and then."

Feng and boyfriend Dennis Loffredo (both pictured at left) were walking to Feng's apartment at 3:40 a.m., after a night of tango dancing. The News reports, "Cops pointedly refused to say whether the couple had the light or not." Feng, who had recently graduated NYU Law school, was about to start a job at the Chinatown Manhpower Project helping immigrants find jobs, according to the Post. Feng once interned in Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office; Stringer said she "had a great future."

Jersey City chief of police Tom Comey said, "The charges surrounding this incident are most serious and this type of activity will not be tolerated by the JCPD, which led to Mr. Abreu's immediate suspension. While Mr. Abreu was in no way representing our department when this incident occurred, our primary thoughts are with the injured and the woman who perished. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families." Abreu has been suspended without pay.

Yeah. Classy. If your son wants to pay a bar to get smashed, that's great. How about he walks there? And he goes with sober people willing to put up with him and make sure he gets home okay? What if your son were drunk, and he walked out into traffic? I bet that wouldn't be his fault. Or if he was drunk and smashed some windows? The businesses should clean it up, right? We all deserved a good time but no one deserves to die because of it. Your son is not owed a sacrificial lamb because he works hard. This woman had her life ahead of her and now she doesn't anymore. The community and family have lost her, because, you say, she dared to cross the street while your son was intoxicated.

Yes, if the light is green, a car gets to go. But a car does not get to hit pedestrians.

For me, the problem with my accident—getting his by a car in a crosswalk—is not that I spent almost two weeks in the hospital, missed work and pay, have had my life and health derailed, am looking at my plans to travel disappear, have lost most of my friends because they're lazy incompetent twits, and am now viewed as a child after years of convincing those around me that I'm a mature adult capable of making my own decisions, but that people I don't know--doctors with nice big cars, medical professionals, strangers, think that I willingly flung my body into traffic. That because I dared cross a street that I am incompetent and unable to cross a street, despite years of navigating the notoriously difficult MTA system unharmed. Traffic in Rockville

is terrible but the drivers in Baltimore County are generally dangerous and I wasn't a danger to a speeding car. I was in an accident, in which both parties failed to see each other. I'm still not pointing fingers at the car, but I'm pointing my finger at assholes who think a four-wheeled vehicle rules the road and areas it covers. Drivers as a whole tend to believe that their swiftly traveling vehicle takes precedent over smaller objects: compact cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles are not targets on the road, and we need to change these principles or our society can never move forward.

It's ignorant thinking that's polluting air, tangling our roads, destroying the stimulus, and killing people. Lady, I hope your cable goes out during the next airing of your favorite show. And I hope it happens the week after. And I hope you never have to go through the turmoil these families, and mine, had to go through when their children were hit by vehicles. I hope this post hasn't upset my family. Discussing the accident in general makes people uncomfortable, but I really can't swallow this attitude quietly, and I would probably rail like this if I had driven to work that day instead of taking the bus. I do want to applaud the JCPD, for trying to convince me that Jersey City is not where dreams go to die, by making a statement about this behavior. When I drove to New York in October I revealed to my sister that Jersey City scares me, mostly because of the lore (and the song), and she told me, shape up kiddo, that's embarrassing.

Update: Gothamist has an unrelated pedestrian accident (the victim is "okay"), plus an older unrelated story where a van was left idling/on and reversed through traffic and hit a group of children in the crosswalk, two of which died. (This has been talked about on this blog before.) The police have charmingly called it an "accident," in a way that implies it's no big deal.
Finally, there's a white bike for sale at Macy's, which is absolutely inappropriate. Someone had to have seen this before it went on the floor and spoken up, right?

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