I’m sick of alerts. How many do we have now? Amber, Silver, Wireless Emergency Alerts, Presidential Alerts. There are probably more depending where you live.
The problem is dead children or dead senior citizens lead to bad laws. Nobody is against wanting to help find abducted kids before any more harm than the abduction itself is done. Likewise, nobody wants to lose their senile grandparent.
Bad things happen all the time. But do we, as a society, have to bother everyone about it?
The answer, apparently, is yes.
Amber Alerts were really the first wave. The modern-day version of milk carton kids, but in real time. Then came Silver Alerts. And then, participating cell phone carriers, the CTIA, and the FCC got together to set up the Wireless Alert System. This one is by far the most annoying and intrusive. Thankfully, it’s optional.
A few years back I bought a new phone, and it was pre-set to get such messages. I live near a tributary of the Potomac that floods when it rains. It’s 2 a.m. I’m sleeping. A shrill banshee wakes me up. It’s my phone. Just wanted to let you know it’s raining pretty heavy outside.
No more alerts for me.
In Washington, there’s a big local story about how a female Episcopal Bishop killed a cyclist — a protected class in the D.C. area — while drunk and left the scene, only to come back and admit guilt. It’s a sad story, and hopefully justice will be served, even if it can’t bring back the life of the prominent cyclist she killed.
In Maryland, where it happened, there have been a spate of hit and runs that have gone unsolved. Some argue that the state’s large illegal immigrant population is to blame, fearing deportation if they stop. (Frankly, nobody can drive around here, so while the immigration:hit and run correlation makes sense, I’m not sure I buy that it’s the only reason it happens around here. We have lots of major league assholes.)
In response, a Maryland State Senator has proposed… wait for it… another alert system!
Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, is proposing Yellow alerts to disseminate information on hit-and-run drivers, including vehicle and suspect descriptions. Like Amber and Silver alerts for children and seniors, Yellow alerts would pop up on residents’ cellphones, highway billboards and online.
But what about distracted driving, Bryan! How am I supposed to follow those laws and help solve every crime?
I kid, but this is over the top. That’s the problem with trying to do nice things. It starts with an Amber Alert, and then, every time something bad happens, the aggrieved want their own alert.
Here are a list of other proposed alerts, along with other ones I’ve completely made up. See if you can pick which are real and which are fake:
- Rep. John Paul Jordan has proposed an “Inmate Alert” early warning system that would alert the public when an inmate escapes.
- Rep. Tony Cornish has proposed a “Blue Alert” to help catch anyone suspect of wounding or killing a police officer.
- Rep. Matt Santos has proposed a “Green Alert” to alert the public of environmental disasters like oil spills or poison entering public waters.
- Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has proposed a “Dangerous Dog Alert” to protect people and pets from irresponsible dog owners.
- Rep. Jim Dudley has proposed a “Red, White, and Blue Alert” to help catch those accused of killing or harming an endangered species.
- Senator Jackson Richman has proposed a “Camouflage Alert” to alert the public to illegal off-season hunting or poaching on public lands.
- President Obama proposes “Earthquake Early Warning System.”
The ones by Santos, Dudley, and Richman are fake. The rest are real. And might be coming to a cell phone or alert billboard near you.
As for me, if I really wanted to be up on all of these things, I’d watch the local news.