A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, September 08, 2007

More on Cellular Dependence

From my comments on this article:
triticale said...
Every one of you are blaming objects instead of people, much like the way the victim disarmament movement blames guns instead of criminals.

Blackwing1 said...

Our concealed-carry instructor made if very, very clear that if we were going to carry a firearm, carrying a cell phone was an absolute necessity, for legal purposes if nothing else.

I now carry the world's perfect cell phone: No one but my wife has the number. I leave it on at all times that I'm carrying, and it's clipped to my belt (along with my multi-tool and spare magazine carrier). What's really funny is how my wife and I use it.

The last time we were at a big gun show (at the state fairgrounds), we split up to cover the stuff better. When she wanted me to look at something, she'd give me a call from across the coliseum. I'd ask her where she was, she'd tell me, and when she saw me look in the right area, she'd give me a wave. Much more like a walkie-talkie than a pair of phones, sometimes. We'd comment about how funny it was that we'd be within 100 yards of each other, and bounce a cell-phone signal up to a tower, over to a switcher, back to a tower, down to the other cell...all to just find each other at a crowded show.

But you've left out the worst offenders...the cell-phonies who insist on talking on their phones while driving a car. We used to assume that somebody speeding-up/slowing-down, veering in and out of their lanes and generally acting like a complete idiot was drunk. Now we just assume they're on the phone.

James R. Rummel said...
Bear with me for a few lines, please.

Movie film used to be nitro based. Heat it up too much and it would burn like Christmas tree in August that had been soaked in a gallon of gasoline. The places where they stored these movies were called "film vaults" because they were built like those armored rooms where the banks store money, so dangerous was the chance of a blaze.
People were well aware of the danger, and there would be a mad scramble for the exits if the cry of "fire" was raised in a theater. Teen aged kids would wait until the movie was about half way through and then yell out the word. They'd sit back and laugh themselves sick as the patrons trampled each other as the fled for their very lives.

The point is that there have always been people who were inconsiderate, even casually cruel, and that Triticale is right. You are blaming the instrument, and not basic human nature. Cell phones haven't eroded our good manners or sense of consideration for others because those things never existed in the first place. There were rude jerks before cell phones existed, and there would still be rude jerks if all cell phones suddenly stopped working.

I don't make it a secret that I run a charity self defense course, nor that I specialize in training the elderly and disabled. Even though I certainly understand your frustration with their misuse, I must say that they also provide an indispensable link to the police and emergency services when there is trouble. My students, many of whom are the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society, are much safer due to that link to the outside world.

blackwing1 was also correct in saying that everyone who carries concealed should also have their phone with them. It is an important weapon in our self defense arsenal.

Like I said, I understand the frustration with their misuse. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives.


I do no argue any of this. There have always been rude people, yes. There has not always been a marginally socially acceptable means of blinding people in a theater. Many cellphones have backlight adjustments, and volume adjustments. A user can activate those controls and discretely use the cellphone without anyone being disturbed or even knowing.

Yet they do not. These people know how to text message and check voice mail, but they do not know how to adjust backlighting and volume? I find that hard to believe. What part of "Turn off your phone" do they not understand? I believe rather, that they are so taken with their little digital world that displaying their over inflated sense of self worth in a darkened theater is more important to them than being respectful of others. This is the very definition of assholery.

At one time we were much more self sufficient than we are now. 911 is a panacea, yet people seem to believe they will be magically transported to a safe place when they dial it. They are not. A cellphone can summon help, but it cannot remove a threat.

Criminals are not deterred by 911 calls. They are deterred by force. At one time, it was not unusual for a person to carry a gun, the means of deadly force was there if needed, on their belt when they ventured forth. Now many carry a cellphone on their belts as though it were the magic talisman against all evil. The cellphone is not an instant policeman on your belt. It is a device to let a dispatcher know you are about to be killed, or that you have killed. A gun and the ability to use it is the means of protection that a cellphone is not.

I agree that a person should carry a cellphone if they carry a gun. However, they should not drive an automobile while using a cellphone. They should not use a cellphone in theaters. They should not use a cellphone around telemetry. They should not use cellphones in libraries, at funerals or during church. Yet they do. Hell, in surgery, a circulating nurse frequently just manages the surgical team's telephones rather than doing her job. Is nothing sacred? People should not use their cellphones in the many areas that request people to not use them. Cellphone users should know and use volume controls, and backlighting controls, and be respectful of others. That is all anyone is asking.

If there had been one usher who took each and every offender to the door and asked them to leave when a cellphone lit up, or when a cellphone rang during the performance I attended, this blog article would not exist. That, however did not happen. The director saying "We ask that you turn your cellphones off" at the start of the performance should have been enough. It was not. There are too damned many people in this world who think they are special. This blog article is not about the inherent evils of cellphones. It is about the assholes who think they have more rights than their fellow citizens.

I went to another performance of the same show, on Thursday night. It was Senior Night instead of the show's Premier. Buses from assisted living facilities deposited the cane bearing white haired population at the theater entrance. Not a single cellphone rang during the performance. Not a single cellphone lit up during the performance. The show was enjoyable. Strange. Nobody died in the theater or the parking lot. I know that there were at least two guns and cellphones there. My wife and myself were there. There may have been more.

Tolerance of bad behavior will not change it. Speaking out against bad behavior, calling it what it is, and condemning it is the first step towards change. To fix a problem, the problem must first be recognized as a problem. Using a cellphone in a theater, and allowing a cellphone to become such a link to your reality that you can not bear to not use it for a couple of hours is a problem. It is an addiction. I believe rehabilitation is possible, but first, the problem must be recognized.

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Blogger Earl said...

I have been carrying a cell phone for about 10 years and I agree with you.

My cell is set to vibrate so it won't bother others. I don't use it where it would likely bother others.

If I get a call when I am where answering would likely bother others, I either let the call go to voicemail or remove myself from the area and answer it.

I see no reason to be a self-important jerk...

2:11 PM  
Blogger Cliff_1911A1 said...


Xavier, that one hits hard!!!

While using a cell phone in a theatre is an obvious display of rudeness and bad manners, driving while using a cell phone is the ultimate "rude" behavior... and downright dangerous.

I had a close friend pass by me the other day... had her cellphone glued to her ear. So involved in her conversation that she didn't see me... and I doubt she saw anyone else or anything on the road.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Blackwing1 said...


Thank you for the kindness of putting my comment on the front sheet of your blog.

I apologize if I wasn't clear that I was in COMPLETE agreement with your comments on the MIS-use of cell phones. I find myself becoming less tolerant of rude behavior. It's one of the reasons we've essentially given up on "going to the movies", in the sense of actually going to a public theater. Between cell phones, pagers, PDA's, beepers, and CrackBerries, there's inevitably someone doing something rude almost all the time.

That said, I'm pleased that you agree that anyone who carries a firearm should also be armed with a cell phone. Not to deter crime, but one with which you can, after a self-defense incident:
- Call the pollice (to either pick up the bodies, or to use to "beat the criminal to the courthouse")
- Call an ambulance
- Call your lawyer

The last is necessary, because in Minneapolis it is official police policy to "arrest the gun", no matter WHAT the circumstances. Use a firearm in public, whether it was simply drawn and pointed in deterrence, or actually fired, and you WILL go to jail. Period.

Yes, it stinks, but it's a harsh reality. And a cell phone is a good tool for that purpose.

P.S.: Can we pay some electrical engineer to develop a strongly directional "ray-gun" that would put out enough power to:
A) Cause a cell-phone to emit a (literally) ear-piercing shriek, and simultaneously
B) Cause it to overload to the point where it becomes a smoking blob of plastic?

I'd buy one, just for use on cell-phonies in cars.

And yes, I understand that some areas use cell phone "jammers" for just that purpose. I'm having fun, here.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous depicts said...

I go to the VA hospital often for appointments. I'm amazed at the number of people who ignore the no cell phone rules. I know there are many sick and elderly people there being treated, yet patients and visitors chat away like they have no cares in the world.

It scares me that people have so little consideration, even on the 3d floor, cardiac or other critical areas.

I wish sometimes I was a cell phone cop!!!! A whistle and a big hammer.... alls I need.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hester said...


A barber shop near my home. Too bad he's not near you.


6:28 PM  
Blogger Sterno said...


If you let people get away with that kind of thing, it becomes the norm and they move on to more and more assholery.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am dumbfounded and dismayed by the number of people who apparently cannot survive without constant human contact.

How did they get by before cellphones and cheap airtime?

6:51 AM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

brilliant post. I do agree society has always been rife with rude assholes, but I think things like cell phones enable a newer, more acute (exhibitionistic) solipsism than ever has been possible before.

Maybe attending the seniors-oriented events is the only way to go, these days?

3:41 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

The next some some weenie is speaking terribly loud on their cell phone, ask them to put it on speaker because you are catching only one side of the conversation.

1:26 PM  

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