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Jewish World Review / Nov. 18, 1998 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759

Don Feder

Don Feder Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime

LAST WEEK, THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION hauled Joe Camel into court. What liberals choose to fight and what they don't -- tobacco not drugs, guns instead of criminals -- is revealing.

Though R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. voluntarily put Joe out to pasture in 1997, the FTC wants to permanently enjoin his return and force his owner to pay for an anti-smoking effort aimed at kids.

The FTC claims the company knowingly used its cool cartoon character to entice teens to smoke, and so must be held accountable.

I've never smoked. I know tobacco is harmful and believe government should take reasonable steps to keep kids from smoking. Still, one needn't be an industry apologist to see something obsessive, bordering on the hysterical, in the liberal anti-nicotine crusade.

Not a week goes by without some new offensive -- a city bans smoking sections in restaurants, a state files a class-action suit on behalf of residents with lung cancer who were too stupid to stop.

Our president, a great moralist he, regularly delivers homilies about the evils of the demon weed and the need to save our children from its grasp.

When it comes to combating drugs, he goes through the motions. Here, one senses he really means it. Like their hero, liberals (when they aren't pushing medical marijuana) seem not overly concerned about the narcotics contagion.

Perhaps that's why they get so agitated about cigarettes. Along with alcohol, it's an addiction they can comfortably oppose. In their minds, drugs still have a countercultural cachet. Additionally, attacks on tobacco give the left another opportunity to bash big business.

It may have escaped their notice that we have a growing drug problem in this country, especially among the young to whose welfare they profess to be so devoted.

The last federal household survey of drug use showed the number of teens who use marijuana had increased from 7.1 percent in 1996 to 9.4 percent in 1997. In 1996, 171,000 Americans experimented with heroin, 10 times the number who tried it four years earlier. Even more senseless than anti-smoking witch hunts is the liberal war on guns.

Like Joe Camel, the NRA's Eddie Eagle is cursed for supposedly glamorizing firearms. Handgun Control Inc. has never explained exactly how a character who warns kids to stay away from guns contributes to gun violence.

Taking their cue from anti-tobacco crusaders, cities are suing gun manufacturers for "negligently" making things that someone could misuse.

On Nov. 12, Chicago filed a $433-million lawsuit against the firearms industry. Manufacturers should counter-sue for the money municipalities save every time an armed citizen thwarts a crime or dispatches a criminal.

Following the latest schoolyard slaughter, gun controllers were calling for mandatory locks. Needless to say, when a criminal invades your home, you can call time-out while you unlock your pistol and prepare for defensive actions.

As John R. Lott Jr. of the University of Chicago Law School points out, there is an inverse relationship between the number of guns in circulation and crime rates. States like Vermont and Wyoming, where heat is plentiful, are usually peaceful.

But the anti-gun mindset is impervious to logic. Liberals hate guns as passionately as they hate butts. As anti-smoking efforts give them the illusion of fighting addiction, gun control offensives let liberals look tough on crime, without being unduly harsh to socially deprived criminals.

Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, who lost a bid to become the state's governor this year, is frantic about firearms.

Earlier this year, Harshbarger tried to use his regulatory power to ban inexpensive handguns and mandate child-safety locks. "The gun lobby wants to stop us from making handguns safer for children," he fumed when the courts denied him this extra-legal authority.

How about really making kids safer by exacting the ultimate penalty from killers of children, like Salvatore Sicari, convicted last week of the murder and rape of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley of Cambridge, Mass.? Harshbarger, who opposes the death sentence, would never opt for this solution.

Triggers pull fingers, and butts pop magically into mouths. Incarcerate the handgun (with a child lock), but spare the murderer, to possibly kill again. Eviscerate Joe Camel, and forget about Lenny the pusher and Carlos from Colombia.

Learn the above, and you'll understand the essence of liberalism's voodoo crime control and faux war on drugs.


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11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
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10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
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6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
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6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
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6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
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5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
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5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
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4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
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3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
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1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.