American Elephants


There is a High Cost to Distracted Walking! by The Elephant's Child

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We have all heard the messages about the dangers of texting while driving, but our cell phones have led to dangers to walkers as well.

They walk in front of cars, and into tree limbs and street signs. They fall off curbs and bridges into wet cement and creek beds. They are distracted walkers who, while calling or texting on mobile phones, have suffered cuts and bruises, sustained serious head injuries or even been killed.

As many cities and states promote walkable neighborhoods, in part to attract more young people, some also are levying fines on distracted walkers and lowering speed limits to make streets gentler for the inattentive.

Pedestrian injuries caused by cell-phone use are up 35 percent since 2010. probably right in line with the numbers of Americans who have cell-phones, but there is a big difference between a simple phone and one with a screen and a connection to the internet. We are so fascinated that we haven’t learned to disconnect. Those science fiction stories about technology implants no longer seem so far-fetched.

Pedestrian injuries reached 78,000 in 2012, the highest number since 2001, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.  The number of pedestrian deaths, about 4,700 in 2012, has been increasing since 2009, after falling for several years before that.

States are taking the problem seriously, experimenting with fines for texting in dangerous walking situations. New York State has lowered  speed limits in New York City, partly to make traffic less dangerous for distracted walkers. The city has also blocked off more streets to make safer pedestrian places.

Noah Budnick, chief policy officer for Transportation Alternatives, a New York City advocacy group said:

The policy issue is that we have to design streets for the way people actually behave, and behavior is changing. I you are looking at a phone when you’re walking around, that shouldn’t mean death. So we have to design forgiving streets.

The reported numbers don’t seem very reliable. Numbers from NHTA don’t bear much relation to numbers from emergency rooms. Texting obviously is far more distracting than simply talking on the phone, which leaves you able to see, if not pay attention. It is a real problem, but simply trying to persuade people of the dangers is not working for pedestrians or drivers.



Another Day in the Life of a Border Patrol Agent, Not Quite a Day Like All Days. by The Elephant's Child

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Jose Manuel Marino-Najera is suing the Border Patrol. It seems he sustained dog bites after entering America illegally with a supply of drugs. He apparently became an illegal immigrant after he chose to have coyotes (human smugglers) help him get across the U.S. border with Mexico. To get their help, he allegedly had to agree to carry a large bag full of marijuana for the drug cartel.

The coyotes band of illegals made it into Arizona and reportedly decided to get some rest under a tree while recovering from alleged dehydration. Marino-Najera and his fellow illegals fell asleep and were awakened only when a Border Patrol dog arrived on the scene and began the job he was trained for—sniffing for drugs.

Marino-Najera claimed a Border Patrol dog was “mauling” his hand when he woke and saw the agents. He alleges that the U. S . Border Patrol agents ignored his cries and shouts for help —allowing the dog to” tear apart” his hands for “several minutes.” His lawsuit claims the Border Patrol agents did not call off the dog until they walked over to arrest him. Because the dog was aiding the Border  Patrol in their law enforcement duties, Marino-Najera claims that he deserves compensation from the federal government (us) for his injuries.

Bill Riser, the attorney assigned as public defender, maintains that Marino-Najera is entitled to sue because the injuries occurred on American soil. He claimed the illegal act of border crossing, coupled with being a mule for drugs had no bearing on his client’s standing to file a lawsuit against the Border Patrol.  Another in a long list of interesting claims by public defenders. You can’t make this stuff up.
(h/t: Weasel Zippers)




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