Earlier this year, a 9-year-old boy named Cooper Stock was struck and killed by a New York City taxi cab while crossing the street with his father. They were in the crosswalk and had the walk signal at the time; Cooper was holding his father's hand. It was a tragedy of the worst proportions—and became one degree still worse when it emerged that the driver wouldn't face any severe charges such as manslaughter or criminal negligence, but would receive only a traffic violation and a small fine.
Local officials have tried to turn the terrible incident into social progress by enacting Cooper's Law, which allows the city to revoke the license of a cab driver who hits pedestrians who have the right of way. (Unfathomable as it seems, such a law did not already exist.) But Cooper's mother, Dana Lerner, isn't sure much good will come of her family's misfortune. Writing in the New York Times this week, Lerner brought attention to the outrageous, unjust legal precedent that makes it hard to prosecute drivers like the one who hit her son: