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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 09/10/2009

Jaywalkers for a Good Cause?

By editors

By Martha Powers

Every year, I think this can’t really be happening. Volunteers at major intersections, strolling between cars at red lights, asking for donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “Fill the Boot” campaign.

Are we really allowing this?

I watched today as a firefighter held up traffic, dodged a car and ran to safety after the light turned green. I can’t help but wonder when someone will be seriously injured because of this absurd practice.

While I don’t want to kill a popular (albeit guilt-driven) fundraising campaign, I also don’t want to kill a firefighter or anyone else.

And I’m also wondering why these volunteers — who clearly mean well — aren’t guilty of “jaywalking,” which in Virginia is defined basically as “a pedestrian in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

If “the goose man” got a jaywalking ticket this summer for helping Canada geese cross the Fairfax County Parkway, why do we condone dozens of volunteer firefighters doing the same?

By editors  | September 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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I have noticed firefighters on street corners and medians over the past week or so, and am glad you raised this point because the same thing occurred to me. Not only are they putting themselves in danger, but they are putting drivers at risk as well. There has to be a better way to raise money.

Posted by: Amy11 | September 10, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey if they stayed in the firehouse waitng for you to come and give,Jerry's Kids wouldnt get anything,dont feel guilty,cheap people like you dont have to give,they wont say anything if you drive by and dont put anything in the boot,but dont write about safety issues if all you are is CHEAP!

Posted by: gdguy | September 10, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

After reading the letter I was taken aback by the comments of the poster gdguy. Did you even read the thing? Ms. Powers, to my reading, was expressing her concern for the fire fighters and the disruption of traffic. No where did she state that she didn't give to charity or that she didn't think the cause was a good one. The constant effort to insult or to sound righteous often leads to uninformed responses to relatively benign articles or letters. I would suggest folks actually respond to the issues raised by articles, op-eds, letters, etc rather than take every opportunity to demean each other. gdguy, your moniker doesn't fit.

Posted by: youngj1 | September 11, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh, you poor Fairfax County drivers and your God-given MISSION to plow down pedestrians like grass in the path of a lawn tractor...

At issue is the complete LACK of any protection by Virginia law for pedestrians. In Maryland and DC, I can step into any roadway and trust in the implicit respect between driver and pedestrian that the larger and faster will yield reasonably (as compelled by law) to smaller and slower (Metrobuses excepted). In Virginia, I can expect rude honks, aggressive behavior, brushbacks and maybe even a knock down or two.

Never mind pedestrians; most every other state in the union has a law that compels vehicles to slow down OR move over for emergency vehicles. Every time in the commonwealth that I have done so when there is an accident or a traffic stop situation (hitting a police officer or stranded motorist at 35 an hour looks better than hitting them at 45), I get treated like Benedict Arnold. I feel like Santa Claus at a Philadelphia sports event.

The tone of this post would have been completely different if the subject were Hispanics selling flower bouquets or bottles of water, at the very same intersections.

Posted by: mabkhar | September 11, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

What can I say? That is just Virginia for you.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 11, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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