Wrong Way to Do It

All right: it’s time for me to weigh in on a growing social media trend here in Edmonton. You may have heard of it – public shaming of bad parking in local places, particularly of the “he’s clearly over the line! *finger point*” variety. I don’t care one way or the other about the agenda – my husband has submitted photos, and there are some really bad parking jobs out there – but last night one of the founders used his new fame to rant about a parking situation he feels is continuously appalling. Namely, the set curfew for parking along Whyte Ave, one of the busiest pub and nightclub streets in town.

Don’t get me wrong. All this is still fine, if a small abuse of social justice warrior power. My beef is how he chose to go about posting it, and his comparisons and wording choices involved. (Read the tweets in each image bottom first, then top.)20140802-082653-30413927

He starts off with a little public shaming of the police force. Sure, that’s tasteless, and he doesn’t use the actual police force twitter account to tag them, but so far we are just venting about a frustrating situation. And I’d like to point out something about the “jaywalkers hit” comment – the reason parking on Whyte Ave is restricted and not allowed after midnight is precisely for this reason: drunken jaywalkers deciding to cross the street erratically from between parked cars, making it extremely difficult to see them. The reason for the curfew is to make the sight lines of drivers using the avenue less cluttered when the likelihood of said drunken jaywalking will occur.

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Now he makes a bit of an intuitive leap. Apparently emergency vehicles parked in the street on a busy Friday night of a long weekend immediately means someone died. Oh, and there’s the police twitter account popping up now. Better late than never. He does also mention in another post his it’s a really busy night for the police as there is a riot at some concert in town. Truly, this is then the night to go all righteous anger social media warrior on their asses.

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I’d like to point out here that NO ONE EVER DIED FROM AN IMPROPERLY PARKED CAR. Sure, lots of people have died as a result of being idiots around parked cars, but never has the parked car itself caused the event. Having been the victim of a near death experience thanks to careless drivers while I was properly using a lighted intersection to cross a street, I can tell you that all it takes is one inattentive person behind the wheel of a moving vehicle to take a life. An inattentive person with a parked vehicle usually just results in getting tickets for or, at worst, towing of said vehicle.

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And here’s the Mayor’s take on all this. I’m sorry, but I’m with him. This is not the way to gain sympathy for your cause. If you want to make a difference in the parking situation around your place of business, particularly where the situation may adversely affect you and your customers, the proper course of action is to for a group of like-minded concerned business owners in the area, create a petition for your customers all to sign, and head directly to City Hall with petition in hand to personally address the council and plead your case. Even better if it’s a petition to create more parking in the Whyte Ave area rather than redefining the parking situation of the avenue itself. This? This is not the way.

As I also follow the Mayor’s twitter account I can assure you that he gets more than enough tweets regarding parking, potholes, snow clearance and neighbourhood nuisances to make any sane person cringe. A situation like this where civic duty could be actioned with the proper steps taken probably gets his goat. It would certainly get mine. A student frustrated at the amount of homework he’s been given wouldn’t tweet to the teacher and call them out in front of all their other students about how unfair it was, and just expect the teacher to tell him it’s suddenly not due. That’s not how social justice works.

Do your due diligence. If you want change, be the change. Make the time to make it important to you. Do not whine about it on a social media site and expect dramatic results. And don’t ever, EVER diminish the pain and suffering of others to elevate your cause. That’s not doing it right at all. That’s just making yourself look like a complete jerk.

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