Why I Hate 9-1-1, Cell Phones, and Good Witnesses (Long)

This is a discussion on Why I Hate 9-1-1, Cell Phones, and Good Witnesses (Long) within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Back in the '90's, when I first started over-the-road trucking, cell phones had yet to achieve universal popularity. We carried pagers or had cabs equipped ...

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Thread: Why I Hate 9-1-1, Cell Phones, and Good Witnesses (Long)

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    Why I Hate 9-1-1, Cell Phones, and Good Witnesses (Long)

    Back in the '90's, when I first started over-the-road trucking, cell phones had yet to achieve universal popularity. We carried pagers or had cabs equipped with Qualcomm to allow dispatch to contact us. Channel 19 on the CB radio was usually ablaze with drivers giving road info, checking on each other, or just shooting the bull. Whenever one of us found ourselves on the side of the road with the four-ways on, the radio quickly lit up with the then-standard "Driver, you OK over there?". If one needed a tool, some help or a ride to the next phone or truck stop, it was there. If anything occurred anywhere on the route, it was quickly relayed up and down the road miles each way. Bear reports were regarded as not only courteous, but mandatory. If a mishap happened, guys were pulling over to render aid until official responders arrived. We talked to each other, we checked on each other, and we enjoyed each other's on-mic and truckstop company.

    Somewhere around 2001, big changes became noticeable. The pagers had been replaced by mandatory cell phones. Laptops and other forms of in-cab entertainment became the vogue. We no longer called home from the truck stop at the end of the drive, but rather from the comfort of our cab, whenever. The counter at the truck stop got more and more quiet as the guys found their entertainment on-line in-cab. The CB radio became more quiet, and eventually, virtually silent as we isolated ourselves further. Even bear reports vanished from the airwaves. People quit pulling over to assist at break-down and accident scenes. Instead, they lit up the 9-1-1 boards and stayed in their vehicles whenever bad things happened.

    That shift didn't just happen in the trucking industry. It happened everywhere. My contempt and destestation for the substitution of 9-1-1 and good witnessing for helping one another out and doing the right thing was finalized on March 10, 2010, when Marion County 9-1-1 received a call from a passing motorist about a bicyclist lying in a ditch about two miles from my home. Instead of stopping on that rural, isolated road, and rendering help, they followed the advice often insisted upon on this forum. I'm sure the thought of bad guys, law suits affected their decision to do nothing. The firefighters who arrived on the scene were the ones who pulled my drowned friend's face out of the water-filled ditch. The good witness might very well have been able to save him, if only they had stopped.

    I had my own first-hand experience with the general reluctance to stop and help last September. On a stormy day near Findlay, Ohio, one of my trailer brakes locked up on a slick exit ramp and I jack-knifed my tractor-trailer. It partially blocked the ramp, but traffic could still get around me to the gravel on the right. My left steer was ripped off, causing my driver's side fuel tank to be damaged. Fortunately, the roadway itself sealed the damage and very little fuel was leaked, although I could not tell that at the time. As far as I knew, I was leaking fuel and at risk of fire. My cab frame was sprung, which wedged both my doors shut. As I frantically struggled to get my door open so I could get out, cars continued to go around me on the right. No one stopped, but each one of them I saw had their cell phone stuck up to their ear as they drove by, rubbernecking. I was finally able to kick the door open and exit the vehicle, at which point a couple windows came down to ask "Are you all right" as they continued on. The police later told me that the volume of calls to report my wreck locked up the entire system for a short time. Again, not one non-emergency responder so much as stopped, even momentarily during the minutes before the paid help arrived.

    These experiences have imprinted a few concepts with me: when it happens, you are on your own; those who don't have to help you almost always won't help you; police and rescue are a lifetime away; all you have is your training, your wits, and what you bought with you.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Very poignant observations.

    I enjoy 'the gift of discernment', and will occasionally take greater risk in exchange for opportunity to do good in a timely manner. But not everybody does, and the general message of 'safety first' has to get dumbed-down in order for the largely-clueless masses to absorb it.

    This reminds me of an old friend who is Jewish. We did a lot of consulting gigs, and spent a lot of time on the road together. Since I'm a Christian, we had to differ on aspects of our faith, but in spite of those core differences, he was a cherished friend. One of the things he taught me was that every day was an opportunity to move the world just a little bit. Meaning that every day, he searched to do something good that would make the world a little better that day. He was not afraid to get involved.

    My point is that there are still good and competent people who will help. I'd say this is the profile of the majority of the members here.
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    Good post and very valid points. Thanks.
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    Does anyone still monitor CB and can you even find them. I've been on long stretches of interstate where
    there were no cell towers and would have been up the creek without something like CB had something gone wrong.

    If these are still available and monitored, I think I'll get one for my next long trip. Cell is great for what it is.
    Smartphones and GPS are wonderful, but sometimes the old ways work as well; good maps, a dashboard compass, and a
    CB (not really the old way as its modern, but you all get the idea I'm sure.

    If you are too young to remember the hay day of CB, you are too young to carry. (How's that for throwing some flame on the board? )
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    Mike, you are right about people not wanting to get involved. To me it sucks...Doing the right thing is not hard. Im with you on this one...
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    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

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    "call 911 and be a good witness" I see this advise often on this board and it drives me crazy.
    That seems to be the mindset in our culture these days.
    There are times when we need to get out and do the good we know we should.

    Good thread mike.
    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. Albert Einstein

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    Mike, All,
    I Pledge to stop whenever and wherever I can.

    Thank you for the reminder.
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(
    Where is the wisdom that we have lost in knowledge?" T.S. Elliot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Does anyone still monitor CB and can you even find them. I've been on long stretches of interstate where
    there were no cell towers and would have been up the creek without something like CB had something gone wrong.

    If these are still available and monitored, I think I'll get one for my next long trip. Cell is great for what it is.
    Smartphones and GPS are wonderful, but sometimes the old ways work as well; good maps, a dashboard compass, and a
    CB (not really the old way as its modern, but you all get the idea I'm sure.

    If you are too young to remember the hay day of CB, you are too young to carry. (How's that for throwing some flame on the board? )
    Yes, CB's are still in use, but as I mentioned in the OP, traffic on them is a mere fraction of what it once was.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Quote Originally Posted by hayzor View Post
    "call 911 and be a good witness" I see this advise often on this board and it drives me crazy.
    That seems to be the mindset in our culture these days.
    There are times when we need to get out and do the good we know we should.

    Good thread mike.
    It grates on my last nerve, and sometimes seems intended to do exactly that. Most of us are going to do what we do (or not) regardless, but it does get old quickly.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    Mike, you are right about people not wanting to get involved. To me it sucks...Doing the right thing is not hard. Im with you on this one...
    What really sucks is, in addition to the technological changes which negatively affect how we interact, the deliberate mandate and justifications used to intimidate and encourage us to remain uninvolved in the events around us.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Quote Originally Posted by dV8r View Post
    Mike, All,
    I Pledge to stop whenever and wherever I can.

    Thank you for the reminder.
    Me, too. Thanks.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Distinguished Member Array BigStick's Avatar
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    Call 911 and be a good witness has its place. WHEC is right, discenment is the key. A little human decency and compassion can go a long way. Now if everyone just felt the same way.
    darbo likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Does anyone still monitor CB and can you even find them. I've been on long stretches of interstate where
    there were no cell towers and would have been up the creek without something like CB had something gone wrong.

    If these are still available and monitored, I think I'll get one for my next long trip. Cell is great for what it is.
    Smartphones and GPS are wonderful, but sometimes the old ways work as well; good maps, a dashboard compass, and a
    CB (not really the old way as its modern, but you all get the idea I'm sure.

    If you are too young to remember the hay day of CB, you are too young to carry. (How's that for throwing some flame on the board? )
    I don't currently have a CB installed in my truck but I did as recently as 2 years ago. As far as the long lonesome stretches of highway with no cell coverage, I will admit that is where my 2M Ham radio comes in handy. Most repeaters have what is called auto-patch. It allows me to call 911 through a ham radio repeater. I have actually used this ability before to report an accident where you had to drive about 5 miles to get reception. It allowed me to stop (which I did,) make sure that no one else had already contacted 911 (which no one had being that the accident had just happened,) place the call to 911 with details of the accident and remain on scene to use my medical first responder skills to stabilize the driver of the car (went off the road into a ditch and hit a tree,) until EMS could arrive.

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    WRT the board - being a good witness is in reference to not getting involved in a confrontation that doesn't involve you b/c you don't know the events leading up to it which would determine the good guy from the bad guy. However, I think that's completely different from witnessing an accident. Seeing a person lying in a ditch and not stopping is disgusting - sorry about your friend.

    I guess it depends where you are - most times I've had issues with my bicycle, at least one person has asked if I needed help; I didn't, but the offer was appreciated. Also, most people these days wouldn't be much help in many situations; at least they called someone who could help. An aunt described a scene where a bunch of people watched a man in a wrecked car burn to death as he was trapped in his car - my immediate response was "no one thought to smash the window with a lug wrench and cut the belt off?"; she just stood there and looked at me ...

    Glad you got out of your truck ok.

    People keep hearing stories of bad guys faking injuries to lure victims, bad guys taking advantage of people in distress, good samaritans being sued b/c of actions taken while trying to assist those in true need. That combined with most people really don't know how to help in bad situations and people fall back to "call for help".

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    I used to roll with a CB all the time, but that was years ago. Smokey reports were great. I can even remember my FCC license number. I wonder whatever happened to that radio - hummmm...
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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