My wife and I were out for a ride on New Year's Day, just to get out of the house for a while. We were cruising west on Broadway, and as we entered the intersection at Fort St, two men sauntered out into traffic against the lights. Jaywalking.
The car in front of us slammed on its brakes, narrowly missing the first guy, while his companion jumped back just enough to avoid getting hit. The driver of the car in front of us leaned on his horn, and the first jaywalker turned around, gave the guy the finger, yelled "Fuck You!", and laughed. Spurred on by his compatriot, the second guy decided to continue on his merry way in front of the first car to catch up to his buddy.
As for us, we barely managed to avoid hitting the first car. I managed to swerve into the parking lane while braking, ending up not ten feet from the first guy. My first thought was, "I could kill you right now, you arrogant, entitled fuck!", but cooler heads prevailed. I shook my head and let the idiots pass. The first guy flashed me a smug, toothy grin, and all the while I thought how I held this man's life in the palm of my hand... one touch of the gas pedal could ruin all our lives forever...
Ordinarily, I'd have just muttered "What an asshole!" to myself without the thought of vehicular homicide entering my head. Ordinarily. That afternoon, however, was different. These two sons-of-bitches weren't the only jaywalkers we'd encountered on that drive.
No, in the space of the twenty minutes it took for us to drive south down Main St from West Kildonan to that point on Broadway, we'd encountered several people sauntering into moving traffic like lemmings. Just walking in front of cars, sometimes with only a couple of car lengths between them and certain death, laughing while the drivers are forced to maneuver to keep from killing them.
I'm not exaggerating. These people made a conscious decision to step out into oncoming traffic, in the middle of the block, putting themselves and all the drivers in traffic at considerable risk, and laughing about it as though it were a huge joke.
And if they were hit by one of the cars in oncoming traffic, they (or their next of kin) would whine and cry to the media about the evil, careless automobile drivers.
Suffice it to say, by the time the incident on Broadway took place, I was ready to kill.
But, as I said, cooler heads prevail, and I let it slide. Some people are assholes, and jaywalking has existed forever. I wish the cops would start cracking down on these people as they did recently in Halifax, but I have a feeling it'll take a few deaths and a number of broken lives before anything happens.
**EDIT 01/05/13: I have since been informed, by several of you, that Jaywalking is not illegal in Winnipeg (I never bother with research), which is why the cops don't seem to bother with these people. Perhaps I should lobby for change..?