GUEST COMMENTARY: Good old days were a lot safer than today

2013-01-23T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Good old days were a lot safer than todayBob Durling nwitimes.com
January 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Viewing the movie "A Christmas Story" and seeing the display at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond brought back memories of when I was a boy. Those were the good old days.

I can now see the vast difference of our life today and our life more than 70 years ago.

During the late 1930s, parents could be certain their children were as safe in school as when they were home. Murders in the late 1930s were confined to one group of gangsters reducing the population of a rival group of gangsters. Today, several times a week, children are killed in drive-by shootings.

During the late 1930s, our transportation system was made up of several independent train companies. They operated pretty much on time regardless of the weather. Last year, I used Amtrak, and for the return trip to Chicago, it never arrived. I became a passenger on two buses. Therefore, we are now forced to use planes for our long distance travel, and we are often held hostage for several days because of weather conditions.

During the past 70-plus years, an abundance of new inventions have affected our way of life. Television, computers and cell phones have had some positive contributions, but have also created some negative results. For example, obesity has become a major problem, especially in children. Perhaps our children spend too much time watching television.

Computers have been allowed to be in control of major situations. Eventually, will a computer take away the use of our brains in making a decision? If a gigantic tornado would hit Washington, D.C., it would affect our entire country. We have already seen that a power outage can shut down the airlines. Part of our unemployment problem has been caused by computers and recording devices. How often are we listening to a recording instead of a live person?

Because I have been a U.S. citizen since dinosaurs inhabited Hessville, why do I have to press "one" for English? I thought that was only for residents of Los Angeles.

There is not enough space to print my remarks pertaining to cell phones, but I do have one comment. As you merge onto the Borman Expressway, count the number of drivers using their cell phones as they are passing you during the first two minutes.

We have heard the expression, "The American Dream." Pressing our fingers on a keyboard, squinting at a small screen and holding a small phone to an ear for several hours a day is more of a nightmare instead of a pleasant dream. I have concerns that our country might become totally dependent upon computers.

I still recall my emotions of many years ago being aboard a ship, and passing the Statue of Liberty after being in Europe for more than a year. Seven hundred young men were thrilled to return to the greatest country in the world.

Our way of life would benefit from having some good old days return so our children could be safe to enjoy their life in the greatest country in the world.

Bob Durling is a humorist author, speaker and, he says, a resident of Highland since the Stone Age. The opinion is the writer's.

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