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Don’t always blame the pedestrian

To the editor:

I have lived and practiced law in Las Vegas since 1981. I commend the Review-Journal for its Aug. 19 article and early stories on pedestrian safety.

I think Metro, however, is often too quick to assign all fault to pedestrians. There are two disincentives for pedestrians to use crosswalks.

The first disincentive is that in most intersections in Vegas – as well as elsewhere – a car and pedestrian can both have the green signal. For example, a car is driving on the street and a pedestrian is on the sidewalk and both are going in the same direction as they approach an intersection. The pedestrian wants to go straight and the car wants to turn right. Both can have a green signal.

Ditto for a car going in the opposite direction of the pedestrian approaching the intersection and wanting to turn left.

So, the pedestrian has to watch for cars coming at him from two different directions. Whereas, if the pedestrian were crossing mid-block he would worry only about cars coming from one direction at any given time.

The second disincentive is that drivers often give no thought or consideration to pedestrians using the crosswalks. Metro is well aware of this, having conducted sting operations in which an officer dressed as a chicken or in some other very noticeable costume tries to use a crosswalk as cars speed around the officer or force the officer to dodge the car.

So if a pedestrian feels that he has to dodge cars no matter where he crosses, it is understandable that some pedestrians in some circumstances may feel that jaywalking is the least bad option. I understand Metro’s desire to enforce all traffic laws. However, in cases in which a sober driver hits a pedestrian outside a crosswalk, I think Metro is often too quick to place all blame on the pedestrian.



Natural selection

To the editor:

I have to respond to Jenel Stines’ Wednesday letter arguing an anti-jaywalking campaign should be started to help save pedestrian lives. If people don’t have the common sense to look before they cross a street, or to attempt to cross a six-lane highway, why should "we" pay to enlighten them?

Just what we need, another waste of government money – "our money" – to educate people on something they should already know. How about we let natural selection run its course?



Not serious

To the editor:

President Obama’s recent statement that he doesn’t take "too seriously" a group of Navy SEALs who oppose his re-election is appalling at best, particularly in view of the fact that he also serves as their commander in chief. Indeed, the SEALs have proved themselves to be among the most courageous and skillful warriors that the world has ever known.

Just as the SEALs are obligated to be respectful of him as their president and commander in chief, Mr. Obama shares an equal responsibility to them.

Therefore, and taking his recent comments into account, it is my opinion that no one should take Mr. Obama "too seriously" with regard to his candidacy for a second term as president.



New park

To the editor:

It’s so nice that Rep. Paul Ryan enjoys camping and hiking in our nation’s beautiful natural environs. My family and I also enjoy this experience. Of course, after we camp we don’t have the urge to open up our last public lands to drilling, fracking, overgrazing and coal-fired power plants.

Maybe Mr. Ryan could advocate for a new national park. The Ayn Rand-BP Floating Dolphin National Oceanic Preserve?



What goes up …

To the editor:

In response to stories about County Commissioner Tom Collins and illegal weapons discharges:

Shoot an arrow into the air. We don’t know where it’s going to land. Same with a bullet.

Kids having fun, cowboys, doctors, peons, politicians – all the same.

I belong to the Legion’s Color Guard. We do the 21-gun salute. We point to the air, but we shoot blanks.

A bullet coming down will do serious damage to a human or animal head.



Setting a trap

To the editor:

The Nevada Wildlife Commission has an absolute legal duty to "protect, manage and restore wildlife and its habitat."

Amazingly, the commission consists almost exclusively of self-described "sportsmen" who have no concern for promoting the co-existence of humans and wildlife under the extreme conditions in which they must survive. Maximum wildlife kill is reflected in their rules and policies.

Here in Southern Nevada, even public safety is not a prime consideration as the commission and a handful of trappers pursue unreasonable trap placement throughout the Spring Mountain/Mount Charleston and Red Rock recreation areas used by many humans and their companion animals. These traps are not registered nor inspected any more than every 96 hours, leaving injured wildlife to suffer without water or food and unable to defend themselves against predators. Trappers pay minimal licensing fees, unlike hunters and fishermen. Trappers have no liability for collateral damage caused by an unattended and poorly placed trap.

Trappers and their Wildlife Commission allies want to place traps only 200 feet away from Spring Mountain roads, placing wandering children, companion animals and adults who inadvertently stray at serious risk of injury. The commission and trappers choose to ignore the many documented cases of people and companion animals caught in traps.

Let members of the commission know that you want trappers tightly constrained in their ability to injury humans, companion animals and inflict unnecessary cruelty onto wildlife trapped for up to 96 hours before death. Traps must be a minimum of one-half mile from any man-made improvements.



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