Matt Ramsey and I have something in common.
About two years ago, my daughter and I were driving down Furys Ferry Road on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
The driver ahead of us, a young college student who had just missed her turn, changed her mind about pulling off in the parking lot ahead. Instead, from the right lane, she whipped a sudden U-turn in front of us.
The last thing I saw before plowing broadside into her door was an eyes-wide look of surprise on her face, partially obscured by the cell phone held to her left ear.
I'm still amazed that when the crashed vehicles finally came to a stop, she still was talking on that cell phone.
Ramsey, a Georgia state representative from Peachtree City, wants to ban teens from using cell phones while driving. He came up with the idea after a crash involving a cell-yakking teen.
Now, I must admit: The thing I don't like about Ramsey's bill, which bans motorists under age 18 from using a cell phone while driving except for emergencies, is that it is inherently unfair.
Think about it: The prohibition is lifted once the driver turns 18 - which coincides with their ability to vote. I'm generally not crazy about laws that pick on those who are voiceless to oppose them.
And the proposed fines are a little stiff, too - $175 for a first offense, $500 for the second - though I agree 100 percent with the idea of suspending the license of a teen driver found at fault in an accident while talking or texting.
Then again, I wouldn't mind seeing that part of the law apply to everyone - not just teens. At the very least, it might make a few more people - me included - put down their phones and drive.
Yep, that's right - I'm guilty. Just like you are. And you, and you.
Hypocritical? Not really. We don't let teens drink or enter contracts or drive after midnight, either, and adults can do all those things.
Most importantly, we don't let them vote. So lawmakers can feel free to pass all the do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do legislation that they want.
The kids might not like it, but they'll forget all about it once they turn 18 and the laws don't apply to them any more. Then, like us, they'll be adults and can shake their heads and complain about those darn kids.
There's a theory that says deaths sometimes cluster around holidays. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that this past Thanksgiving week seemed to be a rough one.
For example, I saw that Nadine Moore, 78, passed away Nov. 24. She's the mother of Ann Cushman, the very sweet proprietor with her husband, Jimmy, of Cushman Paint and Body in Evans. Mrs. Moore was the mother of three daughters, so that makes her pretty special all by itself.
One day earlier, Jennette "Bob" Smith, 94, passed away. I knew Mrs. Smith by name from her days long ago as a community correspondent for The News-Times, one of the ladies who wrote about church suppers and family visits back when the county was a lot smaller.
But she was also one of the first female school bus drivers in the county, assisted in opening the Evans High lunchroom and helped run her husband's country store.
Our county seems to have gotten too big and grown too fast to get to know all the amazing people like Mrs. Smith. Please: If there's someone we need to tell the community about, let us know about them before they're gone.
The next holiday will be here soon.
On the mend
Finally, while much of the journalism community was mourning the sudden death of our former colleague Michael Frank in a single-vehicle crash last Saturday, there's better news regarding a couple of other local newsmen.
Scott Hudson, the reporter from WGAC, has been out of the hospital for a few weeks now. And Joe Hotchkiss, an editorial writer for The Chronicle, is mending at Walton Rehab.
Please continue to keep them and their families in your prayers.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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