Making Tobacco Industry Scapegoat
'Big' Mistake

This letter may be a little ambitious in the amount of ground I would like to cover, but I would like to talk about the media, tobacco, guns and sex.

I just finished reading syndicated columnist Morton Kondracke's writing on the Times editorial page (April 15) about "BIG" tobacco. It seems that anything Morton thinks is getting as big as big media, he precedes with the word "Big".

I shook hands with Morton a few years ago in Florida when he spoke at a convention that I attended as a representative of the company I work for. He appears to be a real gentleman and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Kondracke's opinions. I know that he ranges anywhere from moderate to liberal with most of his views, but he is usually a reasonable moderate left winger (a possible oxymoron). I usually enjoy hearing his views, but...

I find that big media--syndicated columnists, National magazine journalists and television media elitists--are having a difficult time in America leaving the liberties of tobacco users and gun owners alone because of their "concern for the children."

Seldom do I see this same "concern for the children" in the area of the open and often explicit display of adults' interest in sex. Everywhere I turn, I hear them saying "tobacco and guns are bad for adults and children, but sex is something none of us (adults or children) can get enough of, or see enough of, or read enough of!" It seems I'm about 180 degrees out of sync with this new age of enlightenment.

I grew up and went to school in the 60's and early 70's. Teachers smoked cigarettes, cigars, and consumed whatever form of legal tobacco products they enjoyed in special rooms in the school buildings. I did not once think of this as hypocrisy because children were told not to use tobacco. I just assumed that adults were allowed to enjoy things that children were too young to make a decision to enjoy.

Today, children are shown adult "R" rated videos in the school classrooms, but adult teachers are not allowed to use tobacco in their own private rooms in the school building. Some herald this as a 180 degree turn for the better.

As a child, I knew some adults had guns, but I assumed adults had privileges and liberties that I as a child did not yet have, nor should I have. Was I wrong to think this way? Now, on school property, children are shooting children and adults. However, no adults, teachers or visitors, are allowed to defend lives, their own or someone else's, on school grounds with a gun unless they are wearing a badge. How bizarre our logic here!

We live in an age where the social engineers are saying that children should have access to and enjoy the same things that adults enjoy. If it is something we think a child should not be able to do or have, then by gosh, we have to ban adults from doing it or having it,...except for sex. "No one can get enough of sex!" say these enlightened ones.

I can't have a TV situation comedy on in my home without having to hear the characters talk about, or demonstrate, sex every two or three minutes (I'm not exaggerating here). If I want to see references to sex, I'll rent an "R" rated video and watch it, and sometimes I do because I'm an adult!

What we have abandoned in our culture is accountability, responsibility and consideration for our neighbors. If I'm around someone with an allergy to tobacco, I wouldn't dream of smoking a cigar in their presence. That's how I was raised. I would not put a video in my recorder containing sexual content if I had company I thought it would offend. Neither would I hang a gun on my living room wall because some would be offended by this open display of an American adult right.

If adults or children cause harm to some innocent people with their use of guns, we should simply hold the adults or children fully responsible for their actions. We should not try to blame society, our American liberties or any other fictitious scapegoat for such criminal actions. Evil actions must be matched with righteous justice or evil actions will increase in a society. That maxim seems to make so much common sense to someone like me, but it seems to be totally illogical to some people.

Children are at a period in their lives where they are developing ideas of how they want to live their adult lives. They should leave tobacco, guns and sex alone until they can make an adult decision about all three. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea if they left the BIG MEDIA alone as well. As an adult, the big media has caused more discomfort in my life than any of the other three.

As a married adult, I should not have to be ashamed of saying I can't get enough of tobacco, guns or sex,...if I wanted to say that.

How would the enlightened ones in the big media like hearing that statement? I'm sure they would have mixed feelings.

--Kenneth J. Wolf #62 (05/02/98)

Other letters discussing the issue of tobacco
Time to Speak Out

Smoking ban draws comparison to 'little Hitlers'

Another letter discussing the issue of guns:
Writer Has Plan for Gun Control

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