Do Stupid People Require Big Government?

This morning’s post was inspired by a tweet thread between @kirkyuhnke and @Jesse about texting while driving.

I saw it coming, but thought I would be different… being a parent changes everything.

Recently, my inbox was hit with one of those mass forwards, you know, the kind that one person ALWAYS sends you even though you tell them repeatedly, “STOP! For the love of all that’s decent–STOP!” This particular message relayed a story from last October 2008 regarding a little boy who was injured in the car accident. The point of the email was banning text messaging while driving.

Long time readers know I have posted against cell phone bans since 2001. I revisited cell phone usage in 2003 and in 2004 I ranted many a time about cell phone etiquette and bathroom phone calls.

My opinion about stupid people hasn’t changed, but I’m starting to rethink my position about what we do about it. As a younger man, the idea that the government would regulate my ability to drive just went against my core because frankly I hate being told what to do. I am Joe Opposite when it comes to listening to authority. Loyal readers know I have a track record of dissenting opinion with “the Man.” In terms of cell phones, I used a headset while driving long before bluetooth was an option just because it was common sense. I’ve even been known to–God forbid–let my phone go to voicemail when I’m driving or at least pull over somewhere to take that important call. I believe I’m fully capable of driving while using my cell phone, but I firmly believe that YOU CAN’T.

Texting while driving is not the same thing as talking.

But then… it is. Talking, texting, eating, doing your makeup, changing CDs, these are just a few of the things that modern day drivers do during the course of their daily commute. Bottom line, when you’re doing something else in your car YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ROAD.

I used to think that stupid people were the exception, but now I’m wondering if they’re the norm. A moment ago I made a statement about my capabilities versus yours, and truly I didn’t mean that. However, I think that’s the problem, I believe everyone tells themselves that same thing, “I’m capable, go harass the idiots.”

I still don’t agree that a ban on cell phones is good legislation, however, I believe stiffer penalties for those individuals that cause accidents would make people reconsider the need to do such things.

Last week I was drivin’ to dinner when I received a call from an important client. I could have picked it up, but then my daughter was in the back seat so I let the call go to voicemail.

Cell Phones Don’t Kill People

Cell phones don’t kill people, IRRESPONSIBLE, IGNORANT, LOUSY DRIVERS kill people. Enacting bans on cell phones isn’t going to prevent the same class of idiot from hitting someone else while they change a shirt, munch on food they just snagged from the drive-thru window, apply makeup because they’re late for work or change CDs while yapping with the passenger sitting next to them. If the cellular companies were smart they’d pay Lexus to rerun their safety commercials that were so popular two years ago. Hopefully, these new laws won’t get passed without a lot of noise from businesses & consumers alike.

Sometimes I think people just take their freedom for granted. What happened to personal responsibility? If some poor schmuck goes through the car windshield because he didn’t where his seatbelt that’s Darwinism baby. Wasting my tax dollars to arrest people because some bureaucrat wanted to save people from themselves, that’s just rude. But tragedies like the Columbine Massacre only rally the masses to point fingers at everyone else. Blame the media – movies & TV are too violent, blame the Internet – Doom, Unreal & Counterstrike are too violent, blame the NRA – they make guns accessible to children. Daycare is bad, homeschooling is good. Like a teeter-totter society goes from one extreme to the other while most of us in the middle suffer the consequences.

You want to make a difference? Start with yourself. God may save your soul, but you deal with people on a daily basis. Respect is a mutual thing. Don’t like what the government is doing? Get involved. Use technology to your advantage and find out who your state senator is. Think kids today have no values? Your neighborhood is going to pot? Get involved. Check out your local community services.

Can’t wait until a stoplight to dial that number or invest $5 in a hands-free kit for your cell phone? Then you might as well shut up & drive…