|A controlled pedestrian crosswalk in Los Angeles|
A 7-foot-tall Gingerbread Man who crossed back and forth was the star of this sting. According to the Press Enterprise and the reader comments that followed, there has been much debate of this operation. Several argued the police resources should be spent on combating crimes and homicides. They have valid points and we'll get to that in just a moment.
Pedestrian Crossing Sting Operation in Moreno Valley
Here are some of the facts of the pedestrian crossing sting. This is the location of where the crosswalk sting took place. It is a designated school crossing, clearly marked. The police operation was held for just under an hour during the morning student drop-off hour right in front of Rainbow Springs Elementary School and less than 200 yards west of Sunnymead Middle School. With the presence of children and middle school youth in the area, the speed limit on Eucalyptus Avenue was 25 MPH. The reasons for these laws is safety for our children and youth. Therefore, it was perfectly justified for the police to strictly enforce the state's pedestrian crossing and speeding laws.
VC Section 21950, the state law regarding the obligation to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, was clearly written in the name of safety. Section C reads, "The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian."
The PE reported that numerous concerned parents and citizens called the police several times complaining that drivers are disregarding the crosswalk and speeding laws in this area. That's why Mr. Gingerbread Man and the cops showed up. It's quite evident that many pedestrian crossing laws throughout the state are often ignored, both by drivers and pedestrians. Many drivers fail to yield, some pedestrians continue to jaywalk. This exposes a safety hazard and that's why such stings are necessary to combat such disregard to the law.
Point Made by PE Readers: Police need to combat crime in Moreno Valley
Lastly, several PE readers posted comments that the police needs to better combat crime. We're not giving Moreno Valley officials a pass because crime and homicides are indeed a serious problem in the place "where dreams soar." On September 23 just after 1:30 AM, the PE reported that a man was shot dead in the area of Perris Boulevard and Alessandro. On September 7, the murder of 6-year-old Tiana Ricks took place; that story has surfaced all over the media. The accused murderer, Keandre Narkie Johnson, a documented member of the Edgemont Criminals, a Moreno Valley-based street gang, was charged with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang. These acts are a complete disgrace to the dignity of life. We don't want Moreno Valley becoming Chicago of today or South Los Angeles of the 1990's.
Solving violent criminal problems, combating gang activity, and stopping the sale of illegal drugs is a complex issue. Some of the violence could be controlled by increasing law enforcement presence in the dangerous neighborhoods and known places of gang activity with regular marked and undercover patrols. We understand that with more police comes the perception of government intrusion. If an innocent high school youth walking along Sunnymead Boulevard was stopped by the police on the way to the Moreno Valley Mall to get Grandma a gift, there will be a degree of insult. Perhaps the fair way to handle this is to require law enforcement to document under oath the reason why an officer stops an individual on the streets. However, that's no excuse not to increase police presence.
Lastly, officials need to put out public messages to discourage parents, especially fathers, from abandoning their children so our future leaders will not enter into the gang or drug cultures when they grow up. Keandre Narkie Johnson was likely not raised properly in a traditional family setting which led him into the violent street gang. Faced with a long prison term or even the death penalty and probably raised without proper discipline, Johnson will not be able to constructively contribute his skills nor compete in the marketplace of the Inland Empire here in this life if convicted. Good parenting cannot be legislated, but the government on every level can put up a powerful peaceful fight by encouraging parents to do their part in properly raising their children, engaging in constructive activities through their childhood, so they can grow up and become productive and selfless leaders of America.