I have long held the belief that we have a group of people in this country--a large group, actually--that are what I would call cellular phone bigots. These are people that have a bigoted attitude about someone simply because they use a cellular phone in a situation they think is unnecessary or unacceptable.
These are the ones that express glee at the banning of cellular phone usage in places such as doctor's offices, subways, restaurants, even grocery store lines--while expressing no such views with other noises like crying babies, people talking loudly to someone in person. They also strongly support the banning of usage of cellular phones while driving, while expressing no support for the banning of other driving distractions like eating, reading maps, etc.
I have long felt this way, however as I have just created this blog barely a week ago at this time, I had not yet added a post about this topic, though I knew I was due for one. This story inspired me to do so, it's a story about how North Carolina (where I formerly lived) has now passed a law banning texting while driving (unless you're stopped and/or pulled over). (You can click here to read my comment, #86, page 3.)
Again, my position is--laws like this are inspired by cellular phone bigotry. Simply enough, cellular phone users are the new smokers, as they are increasingly ostracized and made to feel like dirty maggots anytime they dare use a phone in a situation people think to be inappropriate. It's a type of hatred that is becoming--or has been, really--downright bigoted in its nature.
So, laws like this are written, and they come from a double standard type of attitude that picks on cellular phone users as if they're the AntiChrist--again, much as smokers are often-times picked-on.
Think I'm joking?
Then how come doctor's offices ban the usage of cellular phones commonly, but they NEVER address other irritants such as noisy children, people talking loudly to their friends who are present with them, or listening to an MP3 player so loudly neighbors can tell which song is playing (despite the earphones)? Many restaurants do the same thing. Subways exist that have "no cellular phone" cabins, but they don't have "baby-free" cabins or "no talking to your neighbor" cabins--those are sources of noise, too. How come many jobs will fire employees for using a cellular phone at work, but often-times won't fire these employees for using the company phone for making personal calls?
I think it's striking, too, how the haters can be so against cellular phones not just supposedly due to safety, but in fact merely where it regards social acceptance. I wonder how such types would respond to this story--the story of a woman who was kidnapped but rescued due to the presence of a Blackberry cellular phone in the trunk of the car? They'd probably oppose the woman being rescued since a cellular phone was involved in it.
A lady friend of mine recently told me of a situation where her child got in trouble at school for using his cellular phone to call her to pick him up from school as he was sick. He was in trouble for using his cellular phone even though he wasn't in class at the time. As the story was relayed to me, he would've been in no trouble at all had he used the phone in the principal's office to call her--something which would've required him to walk all the way to the other side of the building. The mother stated that she told the principal that she gave the phone to her son for such specific reasons and that they were wrong to punish him for it, and that her son had her permission to use it under such circumstances and, basically, to heck with their rule.
Way to go, I say.
But such is the case in today's cellular phone bigoted society. You see this in particular with the big mama of excuses for anti-cellular phone bigotry and legislation--highway safety. Granted, there are people swerving around almost hitting others due to usage of cellular phones while driving, but you also have the same thing happening due to other distracting behaviors: people waving at their friends on the sidewalk, eating, rummaging through the glovebox looking for a pack of cigarettes or a map, refereeing noisy children in the backseat, reading a map, looking at something on the roadside (like a house or car for sale), applying makeup--you name it. All of these are distractions, too, but no one ever pushes for legislation regarding any of those things.
Heck, here is the story of someone who was killed, admitedly at his own hand, due to a distraction from dimming his lights. Are we going to outlaw dimming your lights while driving?
In 1999, in Tucson AZ (where I lived at the time), a teenage-driver hit and killed a woman on the roadside while she was jogging. They later-on determined the crash was due to his being distracted while changing a song on his car stereo. That's a distraction, and one that lead to a death. BUT, here's my point--was there the same level of outcry for that analogous to what would've occurred had the accident been due to a cellular-phone based distraction? Not at all. The uproar that occurred was downright minuscule compared to the uproar that occurs when a cellular-phone accident occurs, even if no one is killed. Here you have a lady killed due to a distraction, but since the distraction is not due to cellular phone usage, there's no uproar.
Call me crazy, but I call that bigotry.
This is a type of double-standard, and even, I'd say, a form of discrimination similar to racism, or discrimination based on religion, sex, politics--anything. I agree with none of it. I will even go so far as to state that I think anyone who is for this is as much of a bigot as someone who dislikes minority groups, Jews, women, African-Americans--any of it. Yes, I said it--you're a bigot.
Bigotry is the only word I can describe to explain why there is such a heated push for the banning of cellular phones while driving, but no such push to ban things such as the application of makeup, eating, waving at a friend on the sidewalk, reading a map--any of that. If there is going to be such a law, what they should do is lump all of it under a "driving while distracted" type of rule that covers all types of distractions and doesn't single out one particular type over all others based on sheer hatred and bigotry.
Besides that, though, there are those that can, somehow, perform such tasks and never crash. I personally feel that if someone has an excellent driving record free of accidents (or they're, say, 10 years or more apart), they should be left alone to drive as they please--eating, texting, reading, all of it. After all, it's all about safety, right--and they're proven they're safe. Let them be, leave them alone. I would say the same thing for speed limits and "rolling stops" as well--but that's for another posting.
In closing, I will say it again--if you support the banning of cellular phones in doctor's offices, restaurants and the like but don't express any such opinions regarding noisy children, noisy talking in general, and other disruptive behaviors--but simply the cellular phone usage, then yes you are a bigot. If you support the banning of cellular phone activities while driving but are fine & dandy with eating while driving, applying make-up while driving, waiving to your friend walking on the sidewalk while driving--then again, you are a bigot.
Besides all of this, though, I guarantee you that 95% of the persons that approve of this law engage in other distracting behaviors like what I listed, but would not appreciate any laws intruding on their "right" to do those things. You can't have it both ways--if you are going to stick your nose into my business inside my car regarding what I'm doing or not doing with my cellular phone on the road, I think it only fair we start sticking our nose into your business regarding whether you're eating in there, whether you're reading a map (or GPS) in there, any of it. It's only fair.
(with a description of content or where the pertinent information is located within the page)
(last 3 paragraphs)
("Opponents of the legislation, "I think some people")
(California bans carrying pet in laps while driving, a distraction) (alternative link)
RushOnLine, an apparent "non-official" Rush Limbaugh site with article, including various letters (written to Rush, or whom?) with opposition to cellular laws expressed.
#25 is the Best, But All Of It's Good
Movie Theatres Considering Devices to Jam Cellular Phones, Includes a Comment by Me Link #2