Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Waiting For The Punchline...

Another dispatch from the BLNN (sorry, I can't do the graphic on vacation. Well, I could, but honestly, I'm just too damn lazy. Y'all know what it looks like...)

State, local officials debate over whether government should ban distracting devices on streets
WASHINGTON –  A young man talking on a cellphone meanders along the edge of a lonely train platform at night. Suddenly he stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing head first on the tracks.

Fortunately there were no trains approaching the Philadelphia-area station at that moment, because it took the man several minutes to recover enough to climb out of danger. But the incident, captured last year by a security camera and provided to The Associated Press, underscores the risks of what government officials and safety experts say is a growing problem: distracted walking.
They're trying to use the same rationale behind the various cell phone/texting/etc. bans to apply to people walking down the street. In the case of people using these items while driving, I still don't agree with bans but I can see some reason to intervene - innocent people were getting killed. This is one of those areas where, IMHO, letting the free market make the decisions doesn't work as well as we'd like - distracted drivers that got in accidents would eventually pay higher and higher insurance premiums and be sued, etc. Hitting distracted drivers with a fine is pretty immediate - when used properly and uniformly.

But banning texting while walking? YHGTBSM. The powers-that-be are actually debating making chewing gum and walking at the same time illegal? Because once you say that texting is too distracting, what's next? The crux of the issue, though, is that we are not, should not, CANNOT be in the business of saving people from themselves. Folks, if you are so immersed in your smartphone that you fall on the damn train tracks, well, maybe it's better that you stay walking and not driving, okay? At the very least stay way the hell away from the gene pool...

This is an area where the free market does work. Let the stupid and inattentive thin their ranks a bit and watch all sorts of markets spring up. Apps to alert you to open manhole covers! Google alerts when you veer too close to asphalt! Tweets that tell you when the train is approaching! I think there's a vast untapped market of stupid here... Letting the government handle it, though, is a stupendously bad idea. You thought the heavyhandedness over lawn darts was too much? Just wait until we give them free rein to go after Apple and the iPod...

Try as we like, though, we simply cannot save people from themselves...

That is all.

8 comments:

Craig said...

Notice the push to ban cell phones in two places (car and walking down the street) where you are most likely to encounter LEO violating someone's rights thus not being able to legally record them. Any evidence obtained illegally is not admittable. Coincidence?

Bob S. said...

Last week, I was waiting outside my daughter's apartment when a 30 something lady walked up the stairs.

No cell phone, no book, no MP3 player, nothing but the thoughts in her head and eyes down.

She nearly walked into me as I stood in front of the door.

Are they going to ban people from walking around in a funk?

The crux of the issue, though, is that we are not, should not, CANNOT be in the business of saving people from themselves.

That is what we need to be saying repeatedly and loudly; might make some of the distracted walkers look up and look around, eh.

Anonymous said...

If we as a species are to evolve in the new technology age, it is important that those people who cannot multi-task be eliminated from the gene pool, preferably before breeding.

It’s for the children.

Bill Gates (not really)

Ed said...

If you are mentally handicapped or a member of Congress (they are so overworked and distracted), would you need a qualified, trained handler to hold your leash to keep you from wandering into traffic?

Bubblehead Les. said...

WHAT!? You ran one of MY Stories w/o my Graphic?

Okey Dokey by me.

But if I was some BIG Corporate Conglomerate like NBC and their Stupid Olympic "All Rights Reserved" Idiocracy who are whining every time someone shares an Olympic story, you'd be in Big Trouble!

Even though every other News Outlet is allowed to report on the Games and post it online ASAP, including the International Olympic Committee itself...

Enjoy the Ferris Wheel!

John said...

I blame 9-1-1 (the emergency services number, not the calendar date).

The general population has become so used to having help available nearly immediately that it has stopped worrying about its own best interests.

EMS - interrupting the work of Darwin since the days of Johnny and Roy!

Toejam said...

(I'm 70) How did I survive my teens & 20's with only a black, rotary-dial desk phone on a 4 party line?

greg said...

Well, as long as they don't expand it to banning girls from wearing halter tops and skirts while walking down the sidewalk(a TRUE distraction while I'm driving)...