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Friday, August 10, 2012

Cars don't kill people, road rage kills people...

There has been an alarming trend of killing in the US, with gunmen armed with powerful automatic weapons opening fire on innocent, unsuspecting citizenry. I don't like it one bit and for one am all for placing restrictions on firearms. I keep reading that the pro-NRA folks are up in arms (so to speak) about this, considering it a direct affront to their right to bear arms. Guns don't kill people, people kill people, they say. I heartily disagree, proposing that we put some sort of limit on the caliber of firearms that are available to the non-military public. Arm the police to the teeth and restrict the NRA folks to non-assault weapon firepower, I say. Let's give the law-enforcement folks a leg up for a change - it might calm everyone down a bit. Let the deer hunter have his rifle and the bird-guy his shotgun, but for Chrissakes, let's keep the assault weapons out of the hands of the common folk - it can never end well if we allow access to such artillery to the Average Joe. You cannot possibly convince me that Andy Jones needs an automatic weapon firing special armor-piercing ammo to hunt down Bambi and shoot her dead. He should be able to do that with a regular, Nick Barkley-style 30.30, or a bow and arrow, or he should turn in his orange vest, hand-warmers and deer-piss spritz. To say that we common citizenry need to be armed with assault rifles is like saying we need to use snow shovels to eat our ice cream. Enough already...

That's just my opinion, but not why I'm writing today.

The car is a deadly weapon. We have managed to transform the automobile from a simple mode of transportation into a mobile ecosystem. It is a climate-controlled, leather-upholstered, window-tinted wonderland with stereo systems and satellite radio and movie players and cup holders and phone chargers. It's like taking a living room on the road. And I believe that this just might become a problem.

It begins with the cell-phone. I am coming around to a line of thinking that all things evil now begin with the cell-phone. And it starts with texting while driving. I have personally witnessed - in one week - two drivers drive into the back of other cars because they were texting and not watching what was going on around them, which is apparently a necessity if you don't want to drive into the back of other cars. I see motorists veering from their lanes, drive slow in the fast lane of the freeway and sit through a green-light right in front of my horn-honking, expletive-spewing ass.

This luxurious driving dome that we have created has also taken away our decorum. When I was young, if someone was gracious enough to let me pull out in front of them or gave me room to merge (neither of which happens much anymore, it seems), it was common courtesy to throw up a hearty "thank you" wave. If the weather was suitable and the window was down, it was done with arm out the window for even a heartier effect.

All that seems to be gone now, and if you take the time to let another vehicle pull out of a parking lot, these entitled pricks are invariably too busy talking on their phone to acknowledge your polite action and just as inevitably proceed to slow down your own progress by swerving, braking and driving slow while talking or texting. Bastards.

Enter, road rage.

I think that most road rage incidents can probably be traced back to the cell-phone. Someone using their phone while driving has usually either been oblivious to the world around them or inadvertently set off another motorist by doing something stupid and road rage ensues. It begins with honking and cursing and then escalates to beating another motorist's car with a three iron, a la Jack Nicholson, or simply running the offender off the road into a ditch, where he belongs. At least one can drive away after running a cell-phoner off the road safe in knowledge that they have a way to call Triple-A.

This is just another reason that we need to install cell-phone jammers in all vehicles. It may not take us back to Mayberry - where there is comfort, there will always be rage (this is my new motto - I don't even know what it means...), but it might go a long way in easing our anxiety and our rage when behind the wheel and when I am King, this will be the way of the land.

Remember to vote Jerry Ford for King in the upcoming election. If you don't see my name on the ballot, write it in and use a Sharpie.

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