But texting and walking has surely gained a unique place in culture, for its sheer absurdity. Just a couple of years ago, I found myself tempted into bumping into New York text-walkers, just to see if they had any self-consciousness at all. (They don't.)
Instead, I found if text-walkers bump into you, they actually think it's your fault. They truly believe that it is your responsibility to get out of their way, because, in texting, they are proving they have more important things to do than look out for you.
As I see it, Matyszczyk has captured a fundamental law of human nature, even if he never stated it explicitly:
Self-righteousness trumps all.
The behavior of those who text while walking is no different from that of the many bicyclists who have made city streets hazardous for pedestrians and motorists alike. (No matter how many testimonials I read claiming that these guys are a minority, the statistics of my personal observations just cannot agree.) Even when those cyclists run smack into a serious (fatal, in at least one case in San Francisco) accident, whether or not the cyclist is the injured party, (s)he will inevitably insist that, no matter how reckless (and/or oblivious) his/her behavior may have been, (s)he was in the right because the other guy was clearly opposing his/her “green” philosophy. In other words we can rephrase the law as the following corollary:
Being right means never having to check your behavior against reality.
In other words, for anyone who does believe in reality checking, it’s a dangerous world out there!