May 13, 2002

The Brady Bunch

Sarah Brady - Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Gun Control Advocate extraordinaire!

She single handedly forced gun control into our lives. No matter which side of the fence you prefer, you have to give her credit for her single-minded perseverance in getting the Brady Bill passed as law. She has proven herself as a role model for this generation when it comes to commitment and sacrifice.

Or has she?

Recently diagnosed with lung cancer, she freely describes herself as a nicotine addict who has tried unsuccessfully to quit smoking on several occasions. When asked if she intends to quit now that the situation is admittedly grim, she lists to the press reporters items on her agenda that are currently more important to her. Apparently, arranging celebrations for the eighth anniversary (what's that Paper? , Lint?) of the gun law's passage. I find it hard to be sympathetic after hearing her remarks.

During the debates that raged over the issue of gun control after her husband was shot and paralyzed, Sarah Brady steadfastly put forth the premise that we are all responsible to society for our actions. The old cop out "Guns don't kill people" didn't wash with her. She wasn't about to accept that people were capable of policing themselves to a degree, and that further infringements on our personal freedoms were not warranted.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

"The decline in gun deaths is proof that gun control laws work. Look where we are today: crime is down to record levels and gun crimes have fallen even faster than crime overall."

"If President Bush is serious about denying weapons to terrorists, and I believe that he is, then he should support our efforts to take this simple step that will solve this problem - by requiring a criminal background check every time a firearm is sold."

"But there is one critical need that Congress has failed to address - weak federal firearm laws that terrorists exploit to stockpile deadly weapons."
THE POINT?

- There were 28,874 gun deaths in the United States in 1999, down from 39,595 in 1993, a 27% drop.

- For the same period, deaths related to smoking went from 401,109 to 396,741, a decline of only 1%.

So where are our priorities? Obviously in the wrong place, from the statistics listed above. Progress in the fight against crime is commendable, but where is the same dedication when it comes to attacking the criminal actions of

- The tobacco companies for producing and distributing a product that kills 14 times more people annually.
- Our elected officials for not only allowing this to happen, but obviously supporting the manufacturers in these criminal acts with price supports and vague legislation that allows the continuance of past policy.
- The medical profession and health insurance industry for meekly accepting the status quo.
- The users, addicts, whatever you wish to call them, who seem to be of the opinion that society in general is at fault and responsible for supporting them when they inevitably become a burden.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Tobacco use costs more than $50 billion in direct U.S. medical costs annually. Each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides and fires combined.

Health insurance premiums are out of control, and one of the primary drivers is the increased cost to insurers due to cancer treatments for smokers. It's time we applied the same standards to smoking cessation that the Brady bunch insists be applied to gun advocates, and incidentally, criminals. Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers started smoking before age 18 - let's institute a waiting period in which those of tender age who are considering taking up the habit can see the error of their ways. Let current addicts apply for medical assistance to kick nicotine. We've got special federal funds to save the spotted owl - I'm sure we can all kick in to finance a one-shot smokeout. Upon the expiration of the time limit, rewrite the insurance policies to list smoking in the same category as suicide and other such self-inflicted injuries, with the stipulation that any future medical procedures that are smoking related be denied.

More important issues to address? I think not, once all smokers are made to realize that they, and only they, are accountable for their actions and will in fact be required to pay the price.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at May 13, 2002 06:08 PM