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.

Stupid Person of the Week

This week’s award for stupid people goes to Lance Cpl. David Motari and Sgt. Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion of the Marine Corps. You may remember these two from their infamous YouTube video where they threw a puppy off a cliff. (The video was immediately removed from YouTube’s website) It’s unfortunate that such cruelty is considered humorous by many folks.

I had never really witnessed animal cruelty personally until I came to Texas. I was shocked the first time I drove I-35 through Austin and saw a billboard warning motorists about frat boys throwing kittens at cars on the highway. Criminally insane, just maddening I tell you. In 2003, I was in San Antonio and saw some teenagers torturing kittens.

There are few things that really upset me, but the behavior displayed by Lance Cpl. David Motari and Sgt. Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion is completely unacceptable. I don’t know if there’s a punishment fitting enough.

Moron of the week

Here’s a late night post because Lord only knows how busy I’ll be tomorrow. Before I recant today’s events a small round of applause as I managed to get all the old entries reloaded. There’s still a bit of reformatting & relinking that needs to be done (a new MT database means all the individual entries have new names), but I’m crossing my fingers in hopes that this is THE LAST TIME I’ll have to reload the database. I’m thinkin’ of adding a new category or at least trying to better arrange existing categories. I’ll leave it to you to decide who was the bigger moron today:

Moron #1 – If there’s one thing Azarok fans know it’s that yours truly ABSOLUTELY cannot tolerate animal abuse. Rest assured if I ever visit the Nashville and stumble upon Chad Crawford I’ll be sure to drop kick his ass. Apparently Chad and his friends thought it would be entertaining to punt somebody’s pet terrier. Way to go Chad, killin’ small animals is the true test of manhood. Schmuck.

Moron #2 – OK, maybe this is my pet peeve, but what is up with people in Dallas talkin’ on their cell phones while they take a crap? This morning I walked into the restroom to wash my hands after scarfing a breakfast croissant and some yummy cini-minis and there’s a guy in full conversation while squeezin’ out some raisinets. Every few seconds he would pause and make a muffled grunt. Not one to pass up an opportunity I stepped into the next stall and flushed the toilet. The guy then tried to cover up for the noise and muttered something about being in a public place. That’s when I banged on his door and said “Hey buddy, you finished yet? The other toilet is backed up.” Heh heh, I’m such a stinker.

UPDATE 11:47PM – After months trying to make it as a dancer in LA you get a call to sub for a friend on the Tonight Show. William Hung needs someone to shake a little tail feather with him. What do you do? What. Do. You. Do? That guy either exudes an extreme amount of confidence or is the textbook example of “Ignorance is Bliss”.

Continuing Cell Phone Saga…

Continuing my rant from yesterday I had a student in class this morning answer their cell phone during my lecture. Normally they take the call outside or quickly turn off their ringer, but this lady chose to keep talking.

For those stubborn few I can generally stop the class (a tip I picked up from Ben) and they get the point and quickly end their conversation. This morning I was not so lucky and I had to take a slightly more aggressive approach.

“Excuse me, but if that call is important you’re welcome to take it outside.”

“Well this IS an important call – THANK YOU.” (the lady goes back into her phone conversation)

“Hey, don’t thank me. Thank everyone else who’s sitting here politely while you interrupt the class.”

I don’t think I’ll be making it on her favorite instructor list, but she did get off the phone.

Ooh, I’m feelin’ feisty today…

I tend to think I’m an easy-going type of guy. Generally polite, I’m not one to make waves unless I feel particularly affected by something. Then there are the days where certain types of folks flip the little switch inside and BAM here comes the mischief.

If you are the type of person who would cross over two lanes of traffic to cut me off only to stop to throw out change in a TOLLTAG LANE then don’t be surprised if I run into you. Whoops! Did you just throw your change out onto the highway? Hey lady, I’m not the one stopping traffic in the middle of a TOLLTAG LANE and look there are ten cars behind me all honking at YOU. Might be a good idea to get off that cell phone and drive.

Amazing how some people are compelled to answer their cell phone when it rings. Doesn’t matter where they’re at, what’s going on, if it’s even appropriate, just “RING! Hey, Bob here. Wassup?” And why is it people will wear those earbuds while they walk around in public, but the same people don’t use the damn things while they drive? I walked into the restroom this morning and heard a guy in conversation. He’s in the first stall so I’m thinkin’ the second stall is being used.

<off topic>I hate public restrooms. I was once mugged at a urinal so I prefer a stall whenever possible.</off topic>

Before I can check the second stall the guy steps out and he’s wearing an earbud talking on his cellphone. Dude walks right passed me and out of the restroom. Any other day I probably would have let it go, but I quickly followed him out and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Look, not flushing the toilet after you took a dump I get that. That phone call is probably important and pinchin’ out a loaf without making so much as a grunt is quite an accomplishment. But seriously, not washing your hands afterwards? Dude, that’s gross.”

Now if I can just get in the habit of taking a cell phone pic when these things happen.

Link of the Moment: Neo Stream