As We See It

Ticketing a jaywalker in a coma just isn’t constructive

Takara Davis is 13. She goes to Lawrence Junior High School. One day, after school, she got hit by a car. She bled from her frontal lobe. She couldn’t move the left side of her body. So, she was taken to University Medical Center and put in a medically induced coma to prevent brain swelling.

Then, the Metro Police Department showed up at the hospital and ticketed her for jaywalking. She’s to appear in municipal court on March 16. Assuming she’s conscious by then.

Metro Police Department spokesman Bill Cassell pointed out that the police officer who ticketed Takara was just doing his job. And Cassell is right—nobody is arguing that. Nobody in the Takara camp has argued that she wasn’t jaywalking.

So maybe we should direct part of our anger away from Metro and toward lawmakers. Maybe we should lobby congress for an “adding insult to injury” law, which would mandate that civil infractions go unpunished when the civil infractor undergoes a tragedy so severe that any penalty is rendered ineffective as a deterrent.

The ticket won’t deter Takara from jaywalking. Not in the slightest. She’s already fully deterred from jaywalking—the accident assured that. So whether or not the officer intended it, his ticket didn’t send a constructive message, it sent a grotesque one: All this was your fault.

And what’s the point of saying that?

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