Walking in forbidden ways

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Pedestrians cross nineth east. (photo by Sarah Strobel Hill)
Pedestrians cross Ninth East. (Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill)

BYU’s campus culture is a microcosm of larger society. I admit that many of our “issues” are rather trivial, but there is one societal problem that has indeed seeped into our campus life. In other parts of the country, people are becoming decreasingly interested in being polite or showing manners. This behavior manifests itself in rude conversations, profanities aimed at others, etc. At BYU our wickedness consists of distracted walking.

There are different degrees of distractions while walking. The least severe category includes people doing things like listening to music or checking the time on your phone. The middle category of distraction is a moderate level of engagement. This encapsulates the first category activities lengthened a little bit (reading a text message versus a quick glance at the time, searching a song on your music device versus skipping to the next one, and so on) along with a little bit more. The most severe category of distracted walkers are drunk-drivers, or at least their walking equivalent. I speak of those who are so captivated by whatever they’re doing that they crash ahead, almost completely oblivious to their surroundings. As compared to the first category of petty offenders who occasionally look down, these felons only occasionally look up.

All these distractions can pose some real problems. People who are too distracted to check roads before they cross them are putting themselves in harm’s way. Automobile drivers around campus are pretty observant of pedestrians, but they can’t help it if someone walks into the side of their car. Yes, sadly, it does actually happen. Not only can distracted walking pose a danger to the involved person and those who have to deal with them, but it really is very inconsiderate.

When we’re too distracted to look up and socially engage people, but at the same time put our well-being in their hands by expecting them to clear the path for us, we are sending some very mixed messages! It really comes down to common sense and courtesy. If the walkway is busy, or it’s fairly obvious you’re holding up traffic, pull yourself and your distractions over to take a pit stop. It won’t take that long, and the people behind you will appreciate it.

So at the end of the day we have two clear routes to choose from: We can repent of our wicked walking and get back on the strait and narrow path of consideration, or walk broad paths that lead to collisions and mayhem along campus walkways. The choice is yours.

Sam Vassar
Aberdeen, S.D.

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