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Man Jams Cellphones - Hero or Villain?

Updated on August 6, 2012

Cell Phone Jammer

A device like this was used to jam a crowded bus full of people talking on cell phones.
A device like this was used to jam a crowded bus full of people talking on cell phones. | Source

Hero or Villain?

Earlier this month came a story in the news: Man Uses Phone Jammer to Block Chatter on a Bus. If you live somewhere that has public transportation, you may relate to this man. It is easy to imagine being stuck on a bus or train with an annoying person on a cell phone screaming about god knows what. After a long and tiring day you would want them to be silenced as well, would you not? Other than violence, this man chose a better way - a cell phone jammer. But is this a heroic act to save sanity of others, or a villainous attempt to suppress speech? To come to a conclusion we must look at both sides, of course.

Side one: Jam Away!

Imagine it. You live in Portland, Oregon and there is a wonderful train to take you down town, but it takes 40 minutes or more to do so. This would not be bad, but there is another element: people. You sit down after a long day of work and everything is well with the world. Unless it is rush hour. If you do get a seat, you are crushed against someone usually a lot larger than they should be for health reasons. If you don’t get a seat, you spend the next 40 minutes trying desperately not to touch the person next to you, and if you are lucky they are not sweating profusely or smelling horrible. You can still try to read, or have head phones on to ignore things in peace.

Bad enough though, right? Wrong. Cell phones come into play. You have a large woman next to you screaming at her kids to get off of a table or what have you. Right next to you is some questionable man yelling at his “woman” to get off her… butt and make some dinner and get him some beer. Then add in a few people chattering away in some language you can’t make out, and unless you have really expensive noise cancelling head phones you are out of luck. 40 minutes of struggling to maintain sanity are in store for you, good luck.

Side two: Please Don't!

Imagine again. You have 3 children, two are at home with a sitter and one is at the hospital. You are awaiting a phone call from the doctor and from your sitter. You decide to call your sitter to check up on your children. Hey, my phone isn’t getting signal. You begin to panic. What if the doctor tried to call? What if the sitter had an emergency? What if that employer you applied to decided to call now to offer you that once in a lifetime job? What will you do?!

Furthermore, what would happen if there were a bus accident? No one around the bus or inside it would be able to dial 911...


Both sides have clear reasoning. My personal opinion is that with the current laws against it (fining 16,000+ and jail time) and the current state of technology make this a non issue with a flat no. Perhaps if it could single target certain people - but who would, or should, have the power to decide? I think the situation itself just brings up the fact that common courtesy is not common anymore. Perhaps transit officials should enforce sets of rules about cell phone usage. People aren’t heartless, they understand emergencies happen and that you need to talk. The problem is when people exploit the fact people usually will not bother to stop them from annoying everyone - until someone snaps and they are stopped by force like this.


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    • Danieljohnston profile image

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      While I agree in essence, emergencies are emergencies. And what if there was a bus accident and people around the accident could not call because it was being jammed?

      I wish the technology were targeted rather than blanket, and wish that overall people would be more courteous.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      And what did we do 15 years ago without cell phones? We waited until we got home to talk. One does not need to be in constant contact with the world.