This country is facing an epidemic.
Across the United States, kids in parks, shopping malls and high schools don’t — can’t — feel safe anymore.
Almost every day they watch their peers fall victim to one of the most dangerous and prolific problems that has ever faced American society.
Every month, dozens of American teenagers are being hospitalized by this problem — some are even dying. For too long our elected leaders have refused to take any meaningful action to prevent it.
Finally, that has all started to change.
President Donald Trump, bearing the colossal mantle of ensuring the protection of American children, has finally announced that he will begin working on the nation-wide problem of vaping.
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Historians will look back at this moment, at this president’s action, and point to it as a defining example of leadership.
It’s an example of a man being moved by tragedy and using the entirety of his political capital to ensure that nothing like it will ever happen again.
It may not seem like a lot, but more than five people have died from vaping related illnesses.
That’s like a whole basketball team. Actually, I guess you’re not going to do very well if your basketball team only has five players.
What happens if someone gets hurt and you need a sub?
What were we talking about?
Oh, right, the vaping epidemic.
Last week, the president stepped up and announced that he would be looking into solutions for this growing epidemic.
Of course, as a red-blooded American, I have some cautions for the President.
Republicans have been pointing out for decades that any kind of all-out ban on something will never get rid of it.
If the government enacts a nation-wide ban on flavored e-cigarettes, somebody who really wanted a dragon-fruit Juul pod would find a way to get one on the black market.
An all-out ban on flavored e-cigarettes like the President is considering would ensure that only criminals can get ahold of them.
What if I’m alone with my hypothetical family, and a man with a vape breaks into my house?
How can I defend myself and my not-real family if I don’t have my own vape?
I can’t just let someone come into my house, challenge me to a vaping contest and not rip a fat cloud at him.
The usual response might be to call the police, but we all know they won’t be able to respond in time.
By the time a squad car shows up, my house will smell like blueberry cotton candy, and the vaper will have disappeared into the night.
As we all know, the only way to stop a bad guy with a vape is a good guy with a vape.
Some people have suggested implementing universal background checks or mandatory waiting periods before someone can purchase a vape.
The obvious problem is that while both of these are good options, they require a lot of government oversight which is, at its core, evil.
Plus, there aren’t even any similar regulations for Americans’ other rights.
Being an American means using your freedom of speech to march in the street and protest for what you think is right ... after you get a permit from the city.
Being an American means having an unbiased justice system ... unless you’re black.
Being an American means getting to vote for your own leaders ... until they gerrymander you out of the process.
Being an American means being able to buy a gun that was designed to kill people ... despite the fact that hundreds of children are killed every year in mass shootings.
Have we put any serious restrictions on those American rights?
Why is the President so intent on banning vapes when he knows that it will only hurt real Americans?
Also, since when is the death of five people enough of a tragedy to raise Republicans to legislative action?
They’ve brushed off school rooms of dead children without even holding a debate on the Senate floor.
Republicans have a pretty good playbook for dealing with dead children, but they haven’t used any of their trademark excuses this time.
Why don’t we just send our thoughts and prayers?
Why haven’t we talked about giving teachers vapes?
How do we know that the people vaping aren’t just mentally unstable?
Why has no one suggested closing the southern border to stop the flow of vaping immigrants into the country?
Why are Republicans actually trying to find ways to stop children from vaping?
Oh, right, because the vape lobby isn’t big enough yet.
The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors.
These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees.
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