Monday, November 2, 2015

Cell Phones, Pedestrians And Big Brother

                “Don’t drink and drive!” We all know that. “Don’t text and drive!” Most of us are coming around to that command, as well. Now a new demand is being shouted at us: “Don’t walk and text!”
                “It’s just really dangerous,” said the head of the National Safety Council and former chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “Everybody walking down the sidewalk either has their headphones on or is looking down at their phone.” (Everybody?).
                A recent Washington Post article flatly stated of those who walk and text, “Americans overwhelmingly think this is OK. It’s not.” Well, there you have it. The science is settled on this crisis, too, apparently. As is the morality. I, however, feel the need to insert a Churchill quote here: “There, but by the grace of God, goes God!”
                The article was rife with statistics and factoids, though virtually none of them were supported by explanations of methodology, sample sizes, etc. It was also pregnant with opinions masquerading as facts. An example: “At any given moment on the streets of America, 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted while walking, meaning either on the phone or doing something on their phone,” claimed Dr. Alan Hilibrand of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Really? Are 6 of every 10 people you see on the streets and sidewalks around you on their phone at any given time? And, if they aren’t, are we sure they won’t be distracted by something/anything else? Cute dog, beautiful girl, nice car, global warming, Islamic terrorist?
                The poorly written article soldiered on: “In 2005, 256 pedestrians who were injured while using phones received hospital treatment nationwide, a number that grew sixfold by 2010. One surprise was that more than half of injuries happened while people were fixated on their cellphones while walking in their homes.” So, apparently, we need laws to prevent people from walking while using their cell phones in their own homes? I thought this was about pedestrians on the streets? Eminent Domain is bad enough, but do many folks have streets running through their homes?

                It used to be a put down to say of someone, ”You can’t walk and chew gum at the same time!”

                You can bet next year it will be an order.

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