A Vermont Senator does not even support his own Cell Phone Bill (S.212)
Vermont State Senator Rodgers introduced a bill in Mid-January that would ban cell phones in the state of Vermont for persons under the age of 21. The text of the bill reads as follows: “A person under 21 years of age shall not possess, own, or use a cellular telephone. A person who violates this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.”
There are 4 major findings in the bill, which would take effect on passage. The first finding states the fact that cell phones are involved in 1.6 million automobile crashes per year. It also states that “each day, 11 teenagers die in automobile crashes in this country.” This leads to the conclusion that cell phones are the cause of teen deaths, but what the bill fails to mention is that the 1.6 million crashes in which cell phones are involved include all ages, not solely teens. Also, the 11 teens that die every day in car crashes were not all using cell phones. That statistic covers all teen deaths, not cell phone deaths. Senator Rodgers has used these two (admittedly disheartening) facts to villainize cell phones without any just cause.
In the second finding, Rodgers states that “young people frequently use cell phones to bully and threaten other young people, activities that have been linked to many suicides.” I personally find it highly unlikely that young adults would stop cyberbullying for other young adults if cell phones were banned. Most families that can afford a cell phone for their children can also afford a computer in the house, on which a person could access social media networks and bully others. Additionally, many schools issue laptops of a mediocre species that nonetheless have access to social media.
In the third finding, Rodgers again scapegoats cell phones for the failings of the cell phone owners’ parents. “The Internet and social media, accessed primarily through cell phones, are used to radicalize and recruit terrorists, fascists, and other extremists.”
Here’s my favorite part. But to properly reveal how ridiculous the fourth finding is, I must digress. Senator Rodgers has no delusions that this bill is going to pass. According to Aaron Holmes at Business Insider, “Rodgers said he introduced the bill as a protest to a law the state recently passed, which banned people under 21 from buying a gun unless they had taken a safety course. He told the Times Argus that he believed the legislature was “bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights,” and that he thought cellphones were more dangerous than guns.”
Now, Vermont didn’t ban guns. Vermont didn’t even ban guns under the age of 21. Vermont required a safety course to purchase a firearm if the purchaser is under the age of 21. A safety course is in no way a violation of anyone’s Second Amendment rights. Rodgers argues that his constituents in Essex and Orleans counties need their guns in case law enforcement officers can’t reach their rural homes in time to prevent a robbery. Just to reiterate, they can still buy guns. If his constituents are over the age of 21, there is no change under this bill. The only reason an 18-year-old would need to buy a gun quickly, without taking a safety course is to, perhaps, assault someone with it. And so, this brings us to my favorite part of this farce of a bill.
Rodgers’s fourth finding reads as follows: “Cell phones have often been used by mass shooters of younger ages for research on previous shootings.”
Dear Reader, would you like to know what else young shooters typically use in conjunction with their shootings?
Guns. They use guns.
Senator Rodgers and his childish attempt to show the Vermont Senate the error of their Second-Amendment-hating ways have made a mockery of the legislative system as a whole, and are a perfect example of how not to behave as an elected official. To Senator John Rodgers, I have but one thing to say: