I pretty much support the death penalty but only when the crime is especially heinous and guilt of the perpetrator is certain beyond almost any kind of doubt. That's why I'm for capital punishment for those who have caused so much pain and suffering in America, who have disrupted so many innocent lives. Yes, I'm talking about the slugs responsible for robocalls.
I don't know about you but my phones — landline and cell — are ringing nonstop with warnings about my computer, with offers for me to buy medical insurance, with deals to lower the interest rate on my credit cards, with giveaways for free trips to exotic places and much, much more.
I even got a call — from a robotic voice — that said the IRS was about to file criminal charges against me and I needed to call the number they gave me — immediately. I told a few friends. Guess what? They got the same call.
Sometimes the caller is a real human being. A lot of times the caller is a guy named Kenny or Billy — from Mumbai. Other times they're recordings that sound eerily like a real person. "Hi, this is Tina, can you hear me?" When you answer it prompts the recording to continue with the pitch. Just between us, when "Tina" asks if I can hear her, I ask Tina a question that we can't repeat in this space.
According to The New York Times, as bad as the problem has been, it's getting worse. "Though automated calls have long plagued consumers, the volume has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April. ... That's an increase of almost 900 million a month compared with a year ago."
Congress has noticed the problem and has recently either passed or taken up legislation to deal with it. I'm not optimistic that a law will do much good.
Like many of you, I'm on the National Do Not Call Registry. It means absolutely nothing to the weasels who disrupt my day. They call me anyway — when I wake up, when I'm working at my desk, when I'm reading a newspaper or watching TV, when I'm on my treadmill, and mostly when I'm trying to eat dinner.
But these calls are a lot more than simply annoying. According to the Times, Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General — until he resigned amid accusations of assault against four women — warned consumers "about a scheme targeting people with Chinese last names, in which the caller purports to be from the Chinese Consulate and demands money. Since December, the New York Police Department said, 21 Chinese immigrants had lost a total of $2.5 million."
Not all calls are scams, of course. But all of them, as far as I'm concerned, are annoying, an invasion of my privacy. So there's only one solution. The one I mentioned at the top of this column? Harsh? What's your point?
Get back to me some other time. I have to run. My phone is ringing.
To find out more about Bernard Goldberg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.