It seems the city of New York is at it again. They are on the precipice of loosing their status as the world’s center of finance to the growing threats of Hong Kong and Dubai, but they have more important things to worry about, banning iPods when you cross the street. That’s right, NY, who has banned smoking in public places, trans fats in restaurants, is now trying to ban the use of electronic devices while crossing the street. State Senator Carl Kruger commented,

“Government has an obligation to protect its citizenry. This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it’s becoming not only endemic but it’s creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand.”

He further said: “But what’s happening is when they’re tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they’re walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It’s becoming a nationwide problem.”

I can appreciate the scientific research on the effect electronic gadgets have on our ability to reason and make decisions. There is compelling evidence that cell phone use should be banned while driving, particularly among the teen and elderly populations. I am consistently amazed at people in the grocery store who can’t seem to push a cart and talk on their phone at the same time (not that they should). When does the hand-holding stop? If we continue to insist on public institutions based on the concept of free will, then people must be “free” to exercise it, that and a little common sense. Perhaps the No Child Left Behind Act cut out funding to look both ways before crossing the street.

In an earlier article on the smoke and fat issue, I commented that Dr. George Reisman’s assessment of the situation was a little too Orwellian, but perhaps he was right.

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NY lawmaker hopes to ban iPod use in crosswalks