We’re All Being Watched

It’s tough to get away with anything these days. It seems we’re all being watched by big brother, or in my case, big father.

You see, there’s a place in the back yard where I like to dig. It’s along the fence-line and provides a perfect escape hole, once complete. The area is mostly hidden from view from my parents’ favorite ‘lookout’ window, which is why I chose it.

What I like to do is look around, make sure no one is watching, and then start my digging. The inevitable conclusion to my efforts is an afternoon roaming free in the neighborhood.

This has all changed as my father has now begun to watch me more closely. I suspect there may be a camera involved because as soon as I start to dig, he comes yelling and screaming out of the back door like a man forced to adopt a cat. Surely it has nothing to do with the large chipmunk that’s recently appeared in the back yard.

This story from Glendale NewsPress has me re-thinking my position.

CENTRAL GLENDALE — The large furry rabbit walking between Central and Garfield avenues Wednesday was no hallucination, especially for drivers who failed to yield.

For an hour and a half, Glendale Police Officer Tom Broadway donned the eye-catching costume during an enforcement sting aimed at educating motorists to yield for pedestrians walking along unmarked crosswalks.

Police cited 24 motorists on suspicion of failing to yield to Broadway as he walked across Central.

“One of the violators said he was confused by it,” Sgt. Dennis Smith said. “He said he hopped in front of him.”

“We are not here to create violations,” Lt. Gary Montecuollo said. “Quite frankly, we would be happy if everybody stopped. The idea is to generate a knowledge of safety for the pedestrian.”

But the operation infuriated Councilman John Drayman, who said he learned of the sting only after it had taken place.Calling the enforcement sting a “stupid traffic stunt” that was “breathtakingly dangerous,” Drayman said city resources would have been more appropriately used to clamp down on speeding motorists — an issue that prompts daily complaints from the public.

Drayman added that he planned to raise the issue at the next City Council meeting.

Political fallout notwithstanding, police officials said they decided to seize the holiday moment and use a rabbit costume. The bunny suit also cuts down on the ability of drivers to claim they didn’t see the decoy, they said.

“The reason that we set it in a bunny suit is that’s clearly an obvious, different and unique pedestrian that would be walking across the street,” Montecuollo said.

Police conducted a similar sting with a rabbit suit about five years ago, he said. Los Angeles police have used Santa Claus costumes.

They chose Central for the sting because there were seven pedestrian-involved collisions last year on the same stretch of road, police said. So far this year, there have been five, police said.

During the sting, orange cones were set out on the roadway 164 feet from the unmarked crosswalk to given motorists ample time to stop for Broadway, Smith said.

“The bunny will not start crossing unless the car is beyond those cones, and that gives them enough time to see the pedestrian and gives them enough stopping distance,” he said.

Most motorists during the sting stopped when they saw Broadway crossing the street, Smith said. But a few drove by the officer, some almost hitting him.

This story helps to explain the big bunny suit my father just received in the mail.


Got something to say?