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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

In the spirit of my former co-worker Joe Biddle, random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to spring…

Boy, I have encountered what I would consider some really dumb things over the past week. Here goes.

I’ll start with the new “hands-free” phone law in Tennessee. I just can’t support this concept, even though it’s designed (supposedly) to make our roads safer.

I talk on the phone when driving a lot. Sometimes it’s work related, and sometimes it’s personal. But I believe most people are perfectly capable of paying attention to the road while holding a phone to their ear. I know I am! I don’t need to look at my phone to carry on a conversation. If you do, then perhaps you don’t need to be driving in the first place.

Chris Gregory

Why do the actions of an irresponsible few have to make things worse for the rest of us? Under this law, if I am merely holding my phone in my lap I’m committing a violation even when I’m not using it.

Now I’m all for having it illegal to be texting, emailing or such while driving. If it takes your eyes off the road, it’s a problem, and those types of actions are the true distractions. I don’t text and I don’t send emails while driving, unless I’m stopped at a traffic light and not moving. I don’t consider myself to be driving in such circumstances.

Have I broken this law since it took effect July 1? I’ll plead the Fifth on that one.

· Speaking of stupidity, I think there’s plenty to go around with this whole mess over Nike, Colin Kaepernick and the Betsy Ross shoe.

It’s stupid for Nike to pull a product because one high-profile guy has a problem with it. Or perhaps it’s genius on Nike’s part. I won’t be surprised if Nike “caves” to pressure from Joe Public and releases the shoe and makes a killing off sales from people who want to show their patriotism, I guess. Nothing says America like a red, white and blue shoe?

Kaepernick’s an idiot for having a problem with the Betsy Ross flag. He says it’s a reminder of slavery. Whatever.

Do we need to cut down every tree in America planted before 1865? Do we need to burn down a bunch of old homes dating to the slavery era? I guess we should rename Washington, D.C. and the state of Washington just to be sure we get every reminder of slavery. After all, George owned slaves.

Yes, slavery sucked. However I don’t know anyone who ever owned a slave and I doubt I have ever known anyone who knew anyone who owned a slave, so it’s hard to feel much sympathy with Kaepernick on this. Of course, if he wants to protest it’s his God-given right as an American. I can support his right to protest (and I’ve done so before in the Vidette) without supporting what he’s protesting.

And I think it’s a bit stupid for people to get all bent out of shape over Nike’s decision. Aren’t there more important considerations in life than a shoe?

· Stupidity helped lead to the tragic death of a Nashville police officer last week too.·

A 17-year-old girl fleeing a traffic stop caused a crash that took the life of Officer John Anderson. Running away when you see the blue lights behind you is plenty stupid. She should have stopped – no question about that in my mind.

But according to news reports, the initial traffic stop was over driving with high beams on. Yes, that’s inconsiderate to other drivers; but if I’m that officer today I’m feeling pretty stupid in that my trying to make a traffic stop over a minor violation led to the death of a colleague. Granted, he did cut the pursuit short and was not chasing her after she took off. But was the initial attempt at a traffic stop worth a man’s life?

I’ve said to my son probably a thousand times, “Think before you act.” It’d be nice if everyone took that advice. It would make life a lot simpler.

· Before I forget, kudos to Team USA for winning the Women’s World Cup on Sunday. Soccer bores me (except every four years during the Cup) but I can still be proud of my country’s team being the best in the world. Right?

Chris Gregory is managing editor of The Hartsville Vidette. Reach him at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]