Where Were You 20 Years Ago?



The Orange County Register’s June 17 edition declares that on June 17, 1994, “the entire country followed a white Bronco” with a celebrity passenger, a former resident now known as inmate 1027820 residing at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada.

For nostalgia’s sake, I was compelled to write. Are we better off 20 years later after the “chase that changed the world?” It depends on your perspective.

A cell phone played a role in OJ Simpson’s slow-speed chase. The alleged perpetrator of a double-murder talked to a trained hostage negotiator via cell-phone while driving the local freeways.

Cell phones also figure in the current Obama Administration’s proposed transportation bill, which would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration authority to set restrictions on smart phone navigation apps.

Hurray for smart-phone technology. They know no boundaries, work internationally, and don’t cost a phenomenal fee like car navigation systems. We are better off today when it comes to voice and written communications due to cell phones and smart phones.

As for their use when we drive, or run from the law, maybe we should increase the fines for distracted driving to the equivalent of one month’s wages or take away the offender’s phone for a month.

But by another measure, I think we are not better off. Deterring violent crimes has not achieved its objective. Maybe, just maybe, we need to enlist our young adults, those mentally and physically fit, to serve our country for a minimum of four years in the military, community based service or in support of arts, sciences and education. I truly believe this will give us all an appreciation for the freedoms we hold so precious.

So, “Where were you 20 years ago?” I was one of the 95 million Americans watching the “chase,” while enjoying a potluck dinner with parents of members of a Girl Scout troop. Our girls had no idea why their parents were so engaged in watching a white Bronco driving down a freeway.

Today, I pondered the same questions walking along our coastline. I enjoyed my personal liberties as do most of you. It is just a shame that others forget about what freedoms and liberties we have before they commit a bad act.

Let’s not wait for another 20 years to examine the real question: “Are we better off 20 years later?”

W.D. Lowerison,

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