So apparently the current occupant of the White House has discovered this “new problem” in our country.
He wants parents to be aware because there have been some “very bad deaths” and he’s decided we need to look at the issue of vaping “very closely” and do something “very, very strong about it.”
Well, thank you, Mr. Trump. That is so thoughtful and forward-thinking of you. It is obvious that you care deeply about the health of our great nation, particularly its children. Like that young man your wife gave birth to awhile back.
But also, Dear Leader, will you try not to be offended if there are a few of us parents out here who aren’t really that moved by your sudden public announcement of concern for our kids’ health?
Because first of all, vaping, and the ill health effects associated with it, is actually NOT a new problem. Millions of our kids and young adults are already addicted. You and your administration haven’t cared about that for the past several years while billions of dollars have poured into the e-cigarette business, with its intense social-media marketing and offerings of fun and fruity flavors.
You obviously haven’t walked around any public high schools in our country lately and been witness to the lengths that schools now go to to keep kids from vaping in classrooms and bathrooms. And you certainly haven’t talked to many parents who are worried sick about their kids who are now addicted to nicotine.
And secondly, I’m pretty sure you have also been alerted a couple times to the fact that there is a different, not-so-new problem in our country that has resulted in some “very bad deaths.” And actually, sir, quite a few of these deaths have happened to children as well. As a matter of fact, there have been a few more kids killed due to this, than there have been from vaping.
It’s called gun violence. More specifically, mass shootings.
Because while acute lung injuries are terrible, and I wouldn’t wish fevers, chest pain and the frightening side effects of oily lungs – particularly death – upon anyone, what about the carnage of a few rounds of AR-15 bullets hitting the flesh and bones of our kids?
Mr. Trump, have you ever asked a first responder to show you some pictures or video of bones that have turned to dust or major organs that have splattered out like Jell-O that’s been dropped on the floor? How about jagged exit wounds the size of an orange?
Isn’t a death like that also “very bad”?
And those parents worried about kids getting sick and maybe even dying from vaping? I’m going out on a limb here but I’m guessing that there are just as many, if not more, worried about their kid not coming home from school this afternoon.
And we don’t just worry about our teenagers. We worry about our first graders. Do you remember that more than a few of them died by gunfire in their classroom awhile back? Can you put down your Sharpie and look away from your Twitter-feed for a few minutes to hear us out?
We worry about the kids in daycare. We worry about the kids in college. We worry about the kids working their afternoon shift at the fast-food restaurants. We worry about the kids in the movie theaters. And the ones shopping at the mall. Or at a meeting in their synagogue or church.
WE WORRY ABOUT ALL THE KIDS.
We’ve sadly come to acknowledge that nowhere in our country is safe anymore. And we have to live with that sickening uncertainty every day we allow a child to leave our home. Oh, wait! Perhaps you’re unaware that a lot of kids die from gun violence at home, too. Unlocked guns inside of our homes do quite a bit of damage as well. Many more of those “very bad” deaths happen right inside our living rooms and bedrooms.
So, Mr. President, while removing flavored vaping products from the market in the next 30 days is a wonderful call to action, and may help fewer kids become addicted to nicotine, how about also calling loudly for some common-sense gun laws (that the majority of us want) in the next month?
Yes, mysterious lung diseases linked to cigarette alternatives are scary and we need to know more and do better. We all feel terrible for the loved ones of those who have died.
But what of the loved ones of those lost to gun violence? The parents who have had to identify the bloody and broken body of a child who’s been gunned down while running terrified down a school hallway? Or crouching under a table at a dance club? Or sitting in a stroller at a Walmart?
And what of the countless thousands of your citizens who were lucky enough to survive the mass shooting, but will now live with PTSD for the rest of their lives?
Do you want to let parents know that you’ll be studying this public health threat carefully as well?
Donald and Melania, how about some “very strong action” on this problem too? We’re tired AF of waiting.