A letter to the editor written recently in the The Westerly Sun, “Guns are the reason people are getting killed,” made me sit down and think. Guns are the reason people are getting killed? Is this the only truth of recent murders in this country?
Then it must also be true that forks, knives, and spoons are the reason for obesity. I am not certain of the numbers, but it is safe to assume that obesity-related deaths in this nation far outweigh the number of gun-related mass murders.
Can it really be the instrument not the person behind it that is causing all the problems? It cannot be the decision to eat at fast food restaurants day in and day out that causes heart disease. It cannot be big sugar executives that tantalize people with TV ads of sweet treats causing diabetes. It also cannot be the salt industry pushing sodium in almost everything we eat causing high blood pressure. And it most certainly cannot be an individual’s own personal responsibility of what they ingest. It must be the fork, the knife, and the spoon that is making us sick. Why are there so many choices for unhealthy foods in stores and restaurants? Why is this legal? Why is there a need for so many candies, red meat, and fried cheese?
It is very easy to pick one problem and believe that the government’s ability to regulate something out of a marketplace can be the only solution. You can make all the laws in the world and ban everything under the sun, but people are still going to kill each other and also die of obesity-related illnesses.
Personal responsibility and accountability within a society are the only way we as a nation can start to fix these enormous problems. Until that day comes, I ask all our citizens to stop jumping on the bandwagons of the crisis of the day that Fox News or MSNBC spout. All we can do in this little corner of the world is to start to talk to one another, make eye contact with someone on the street, smile, try to make good decisions, and love your neighbor as yourself.
John D. Barth