Letter to the Editor

Cell phone or a six-shooter?

Thursday, June 9, 2005

To the editor:

According to a recent Associated Press article and another article on cell phones on the front page of the Southeast Missourian, the FBI and other official keepers of violent crime statistics report that murders and other violent crimes have decreased significantly since 1999, while car wrecks among teens using cell phones have increased.

As a former professional consulting statistician, it is apparent to me that this decrease in crime is primarily due to the extraordinary proliferation in cellular telephone usage since 1999. Having a mobile wireless phone in one's car, on one's hip or in one's purse is quite similar to carrying a loaded six-shooter in the Wild West in the 1880s. However, if state and federal governments start regulating cell-phone usage among teens and others, expect violent crime to again increase.

Even though several studies suggest that excess or long-term cell-phone usage increases morbidity and mortality from car wrecks and the likelihood of developing brain cancer from electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones, there is an immediate trade-off benefit of a significantly lower incidence of violent crime. The right to carry concealed weapons will result in an even lower incidence of violent crime for precisely the same reasons.

For those of us who don't bother calling 911, the six-shooter is still an option.

ROBERT T. KRONE JR., Cape Girardeau