Talking on Cell Phones in Public at the Heart of Civil and Societal Meltdown

I’ve seen this so many times lately that it is really starting to bother me.

The first version is when I walked past a parked pickup truck. The driver’s side door was open and a man in his mid-30s was talking heatedly into a cell phone. He ended up shouting to the person on the other end.

From what snippets could easily be overheard, this husband had just left a shouting match with his wife, drove off and then started the feud off again on his Cingular cell. Whatever happened to a cooling-off period? Not with cell phones.

The second stanza occurred in the mall, where ever second person had an AT&T cell phone glued to his or her ear. Since people tend to talk loudly into the wireless phones, it’s easy to overhear sensitive information. It is uncomfortable knowing some of the problems of other people in this manner, especially, say, if you are standing in a checkout line.

Third, the classroom. Kids as young as third grade now use cell phones, likely goaded by the parents to do so because they make dandy electronic tethers so parents can “keep track of where their children are.”

But these kids tend to use a cell phone in inappropriate ways and in situations where they should be doing something else – like studying. Teens can actually punch up MySpace.com on their cells and start communicating with their many “friends.”

Teachers will tell you that the cell phone is the invention from hell. Kids will use them continually during class and it is hard to detect because, one, so many are doing it and, two, they text each other instead of speak.

It all amounts to no work getting done and plenty of taxpayers’ school time wasted. Down the drain.

How does this translate to the workplace? Employers have had to institute harsh penalties, even dismissal, for cell phone use at work. Still, people can’t stay off the devices. It is an intense and unwelcome addiction, and a prime waste of worktime.

How about the cheerleader in Washington state who performed her contest routine while talking on a cell phone? Or the female bank robber who robbed a teller while talking on her cell phone?

Speaking of crime, cells are a bonanza. They make planning and executing major crimes and home invasions a breeze. That’s the reason behind the massive spike in home invasion robberies – where perps are known to stay as long as three days and eat, steal and plunder everything in the house, all the while using cell phones to alert themselves to the approach of anyone who will spoil the party.

And drug sales. Get a Verizon family plan, establish a meth network. Better yet, get some Virgin Mobil prepaids and plan and execute your robberies at will, then toss the phones which can’t be traced to any buyer.

Terrorism? It’s a snap! Cell phones not only enable terrorists to communicate, they are used as timers to blow up the bombs! How convenient. Maybe they use Sprint for a clearer signal, perhaps throw in a few Nextel wireless walkie-talkies for good measure.

And this is not to even bring up the issue of common courtesy in churches, movie theaters and other venues. Theater owners have had to resort to Gestapo-like tactics to get rude people to stop yakking long enough to allow other to enjoy the show.

Now air travelers? Imagine a planeload of feverish people babbling on about trivia and minutia on a three-hour flight.

What fun.

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