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LETTER: Langley man questions why police stop jaywalker but not panhandlers on medians

A North Langley incident points out the inconsistent application of laws.

Dear Editor,

Recently I heard tell a story from one of the fellows I work with.

He was crossing the street in Surrey between our main building and one of the outbuildings when he was stopped by a police officer.

It is often that we cross the street there, not always using the crosswalk which is halfway down this long street or going to the corner, which is even further. In our organization we often walk many many miles in a day.

Anyways, we’ll call him Bob, and Bob is being stopped by the police officer as he is crossing in the middle of the road. Bob is paying strict attention to any traffic, fully focused on safe crossing, on this, a secondary street, single lane in two directions. He is not on a cellphone and he is not dilly-dallying.

The officer tells Bob that he is jaywalking and that it is an offense, and that Bob can be fined. Bob having noticed a panhandler down on the main, multi laned street running in and out of traffic looking for donations, has the quick aptitude and questions the police officer, saying, “Did you see that?”

The officer now has noticed the panhandler and realizes that this is a no-win situation, as he’s clearly wrong, oh, but he doesn’t want to let Bob forget about it. So he reminds them that he’s going to let him off this time, as Bob says, “do what you have to do.”.

I have to shake my head as I can’t understand why this officer is bothering with this.

Yes, jaywalking is dangerous, but safer than crossing at a corner, where four directions, and those turning, must be watched. Our crosswalk is often ignored with yellow lights flashing, once this week already, with the driver seen head lowered, in their lap, just missing another colleague.

Bust Bob as he has a fixed address, work, and has money that maybe the other hasn’t. He is a responsible person who you can dictate to with fear.

I often see panhandlers at intersections in Langley, and they leave there garbage there for someone else to clean up. It is illegal, unsafe, but they care not.

I ask, don’t you think there are more pressing incidents to look into than Bob?

Glenn Atchison, Walnut Grove

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