Saving Parkland—26 times over

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By John Riddell

The hypocrisy can sometimes feel overwhelming. The recent anti-gun march in Washington masquerading as an anti-gun violence demonstration focused on protecting our children.
It was, in fact, a cleverly organized, coordinated demonstration by the anti-gun, anti-NRA, anti-Trump political left. Coordinated by Democrat Party alliances involving George Soros, the Women’s March and others, these folks certainly have the legal right to exercise their First Amendment rights.
But these Progressives are the same folks who think they know better than you how you should live your life, and they think they have the right to make it happen, the Constitution be damned. But to hide their direct organizing involvement and documented voter registration drives behind the auspices of protection of school children from gun violence is disingenuous at best.  
These children, victimized by a failed system emanating from inept police work and a misguided Obama-era public policy allowed, indeed encouraged (The PROMISE Program), a mentally deranged youthful perpetrator to remain a threat to society. These same emotionally impacted children have been encouraged, coached and advised to champion platitudes that can accomplish nothing.
In addition, no one is allowed to challenge these platitudes. While the victim groups have claimed not to be anti-gun, their interviews, chants, speeches, T-shirts, self-promotion, etc., clearly do not support this position.  
One interviewee even went so far to say, “We are not for taking away everyone’s guns. But if we were, what is wrong with this if it saves a few lives?” As these folks supposedly represent our future, those of us who believe in the Constitution have serious cause to be deeply concerned.
So, if the true premise of this “movement” is founded on saving lives, specifically the lives of our young students, I respectfully submit the following facts for your consideration.
In 2016, a total of 2,820 teenagers under the age of 20 years old died in traffic fatalities (DMV.org). Of these, 16 percent of the fatalities involved distracted driving. Consequently, 451 deaths of high school students could’ve been avoided if they simply didn’t have access to their cell phones while driving. This makes distracted driving the leading cause of death among teenagers (Newsday). Not gun violence!  
In one year alone, the equivalent of 26 Parkland High School massacres would’ve never taken place if the conscious decision to refrain from texting and driving had been employed by this age group. No dependency on background checks, no dependency on inept investigations, no dependency on administrative perfection.
So where are the national demonstrations to enforce the laws already on the books outlawing texting and driving? Where are the demands on the cell phone and auto industries to eliminate the possibility of texting while driving?
I read recently a column by a professed Progressive who claimed, in no uncertain terms, that the culprit behind gun violence is not the mentally deranged, terroristic, mindset of an individual committed to violence. No, he contended, it is the fault of the gun.
Using this false logic, the cell phone combined with the automobile are responsible for the above-mentioned auto deaths. How can this make sense? You and I both know it doesn’t and neither does the “gun is the culprit” claptrap.
If children’s safety and well-being are truly the topics to be focused upon, then simply enforce the existing texting-and-driving laws. As society has already determined the unacceptability of driving under the influence and studies indicate an equal danger with texting while driving, why are we slow to proactively deal with this known cause of death?
Perhaps putting names and photos of offenders on the front page of local newspapers might bring embarrassing attention to a very fixable problem. Some states allow convicted drunken-driving offenders to perform public service in lieu of jail time.
It is not uncommon in these states to see offenders picking up litter along the highway while wearing a highly visible safety vest with the wording “I am a DUI offender” on the back. Perhaps an “I texted while driving — luckily no one died!” vest could be utilized. I know of no one for whom this would not provide some measure of deterrence.
Now we all know that the quantity and quality of DUI laws have not eliminated DUI-related deaths. But since 1982, they have decreased 51 percent. I suggest that the same might hold true for distracted driving laws and their enforcement. How could this be a bad thing? It certainly has to be better than the useless ideological, anti-2nd Amendment diatribes uttered by manipulated juveniles.

Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small-business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turnarounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring noted business and sports columns, and serving as vice president for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth. E-mail him at jfriddell@msn.com. The former Georgetown resident now splits his time between Tennessee and Colorado.