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November 4, 2015

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PAGE 4 THE FLORALA NEWS- WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2015 I I I I I " The Florala News' editorial section is intended to provide our readers and citizens as com- plete an opportunity to express themselves with as few restrictions as possible. Profanity, direct or implied, and attacks on one's person rather than on actions or deeds are not ac- ceptable. Publication on this page in NO WAY REFLECTS AGREEMENT OR ENDORSE- MENT BY THIS NEWSPAPER. m n by Dr. Gary Welton Of course, it's not a new verb; it's in older dic- tionaries. I have been hearing it much more fre- quently, however, and I am becoming alarmed. We as a society are much more aware of the risks of being concussed, and we have developed strict and cautious protocols, whereby individuals having been concussed are told to avoid physical exertion and to limit activities that require think- ing and mental concentration, such as schoolwork. Some have been told to stay home from school for weeks in order to facilitate their recovery. It is not surprising that a major risk factor of be- ing concussed is participating in a high-risk sport, such as football. Another major risk factor is hav- ing been previously concussed. I am a small man, and my boys were small boys. Participating in football was never an interest for any of us. Nevertheless, I readily admit that I love to watch the game. I have never participated in the new betting arena of fantasy football, which has only increased the popularity of the sport. I follow college football somewhat, but only after the World Series is in the history book. I do, however, watch a fair amount of the National Football League. I live in Western Pennsylvania, the home territory of the Steeler Nation. Yet, I often feel guilty for watching and enjoying the abusive action on the gridiron. To what extent are we killing brain cells when these men are concussed? As recently as 2009, the NFL was still arguing, through the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Commit- tee, that no NFL player had experienced chronic brain damage from repeat concussions, This spring, however, they negotiated a billion dollar settlement with former players who had sued over past head injuries. Many former NFL players chose to donate (at death) their brains for scientific research. The re- by Scott McPherson Rallying her base -- and putting her enemies on notice -- Democratic presidential candidate Hil- lary Rodham Clinton told a debate audience in Las Vegas that the country must "stand up against the NRA" and push for more gun-control laws. It may have worked. Polls show that with Democrats, Clinton is up. But Clinton and the Democrats do not have the support of the American people on this is- sue, according to a new Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll. Fifty-two percent of respondents view the Democratic Party as being "outside the mainstream" when it comes to guns, while only 38 percent think the Democrats represent "the mainstream." A CNN/ORC poll just released has 52 percent of Americans also saying they "oppose stricter gun laws," including 56 percent of inde- pendents. Clinton, not the NRA, is out of touch. Clinton, like President Obama, has hinted at the idea of gun confiscation, but tl/at doesn't sit well with most Americans either: Gallup reported in 2012 that 74 percent oppose a handgun ban, a record high, and 51 percent oppose a ban on so- called "assault weapons." In 2014 Pew Research reported that for the first time in two decades of polling, most Americans -- 52 percent -- are more concerned with protecting the right to keep and bear arms than passing more gun laws. An overwhelming majority of Americans -- 68 percent! -- told Rasmussen pollsters just this year that they prefer to live where gun rights are re- spected. What is perhaps most revealing here is that only about 32 percent of Americans live in households where someone owns a gun -- so around one hundred million non-owners are quite comfortable with the fact that their neighbors are armed. We might surmise that even ostensibly an- ti-gun Americans understand the benefit they de- rive from their gun-owning neighbors. When was the last time you saw a "gun-free home" sign on anyone's lawn? A Chapman University poll last April found that 58 percent of Americans fear corrupt government more than anything else -- which might explain why so many people support private gun owner- ship. Gun sales spike every time a Democrat starts talking about guns, and Democratic pollsters ad- mit that it's typically a losing issue for the party. Other indicators shed light on Americans' views on guns and their importance in a free society. For example, Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican presiden- tial candidate, rendered Hollywood celebrities and leftist commentators apoplectic when he recently The Florala News (USPS 200-560) PERIODICAL POSTAGE PAID Florala, AL 36442 Telephone: (334) 858-3342/Fax (334) 858-3786 e-mail: floralanews @ ESTABLISHED IN 1900 PUBLISHED WEEKLY ON WEDNESDAYS cent report is that 87 of 91 brains showed signs ing at age 5. Is the 5-year-old brain sufficiently de- of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This veloped such that the risks of being concussed are does not imply that 96 percent of football players manageable? Is the 5-year-old brain sufficiently have CTE, as the sample was not randomly se- educated such that the risks of long interruptions lected. It is likely that former players without no- in schooling are justified? ticeable brain fog would not choose to donate their According to the Brain Injury Association of brains. Nevertheless, these numbers are stagger- America, brain injuries have a more devastating ing and concerning, impact on a child (and the developing brain) than The good news is that the NFL is no longer spin- a similar injury has on a mature adult. The cog- ning about the risk of being concussed, and is in- nitive challenges include deficits in memory, con- stead encouraging open discussions. NFL rules are centration and attention span, planning, writing, continually evolving, seeking to add new protec- reading, and judgment. These cognitive effects can tions. These new rules seem to help, to some ex- create lifelong challenges in their abilities to think, tent, as the number of concussions in the NFL in learn, develop, and mature. the past two seasons has fallen about 30 percent. Is there a good reason for 5-year-olds to risk Even though the NFL has shown some financial their future development? Are there not safer, concern, and has adjusted some rules, the fact is more reasonable ways to encourage athleticism that football is a dangerous game and will continue and to develop talent? I encourage our trainers and to cause some serious injury, injury among adults researchers to gather data to study the questionl who are paid millions of dollars because of their "At what age can kids begin to play tackle football unique skills, their short playing career, and their without exaggerated physical risks?" physical risks. These men now know the nature of , I suggest that age 5 is too young, but we need these risks, and some are opting to retire after very data to make an informed decision. short careers rather than exposing themselves to severe physical damages. - Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for institu- That still leaves me concerned about these men, tional assessment, professor of psychology at Grove but I am more concerned about our developing City College, and acontributor to The Center for Vi- children. At what age should children start to play sion & Values. He is a recipient of a major research tackle football? grant from the Templeton Foundation to investi- Given that concussions are so serious that doc- gate positive youth development. tors prescribe that we cease mental effort and in- terrupt our schooling after being concussed, there must besomeageatwhichitistooyoungtoexpose [i ....................... ......................................... ] I :: :: :: :. ::: :: i: :: i i ~i~!~i~!~ ~.. kids to this risk. Given that our brains continue to develop during the childhood years, there must be ....................................... ...... some age at which it is too young to expose kids to tackle football. Y'- when I started searching the web for children's -- tackle football, I was shocked to see leagues start- __ suggested that Jews in Nazi Germany may have better resisted had they not first been disarmed. Yet that is exactly what happened in Belarus, where the fierce Bielski partisans saved over 1,200 of their people from the National Socialist ma- chine. In the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps, and the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews used stolen and il- licit guns to fight back. In the latter case, German infantry, armor, and air power was tied up for a month clearing out urban guerrillas. During the fighting Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary, "This just shows what you can expect from Jews ff they lay hands on weapons." Indeed it is. And history shows time and again that people can resist when they have access to weapons for self-defense. In Ireland in the 1920s, and again in the late 1960s, armed resistance kept repressive forces at bay and significantly altered the status quo. During our civil rights era, armed groups like the Deacons for Defense protected marches and shot it out with the KKK in the Deep South, and even threatened government officials who participated in the harassment and victimiza- tion of protesters. Despite the controversy surrounding Carson's comments, they haven't hurt him with the voters. He has even doubled-down on the matter, calling for an end to the moronically named and monu- mentally ineffectual "gun-free zones" in a subse- quent talk-radio interview. Polls have him pulling second among likely Republican voters (behind Donald Trump, who has staked his own claim to the pro-gun position by calling concealed carry "a right, not a privilege"), and well ahead of Clinton in national head-to-head matchups. Hillary Clinton can make all the rousing speech- es she likes about the allegedly disproportionate power of the "gun lobby," but she will only appeal to those within her party who hate guns and gun owners. Lobbyists for the NRA (and other such groups, like Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership) are influ- ential in the halls of power precisely because they represent the pro-gun sentiments of the American people and effectively focus voter attention on waf- fling members of Congress, especially in election years. - Scott McPherson is a policy adviser at The Future of Freedom Foundation and the author of the new ebook Freedom and Security: The Sec- ond Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. 27 59 Want The i =,--.= 7 10 24 32 50 52 62 66 Best ................... HIGH-S i: Deal On TV :DISH!:: & Internet? Call Now and Ask Howl where available 1-800-318-5121 ........ StatcPoint Media THEME: VETERANS DAY 6. What one does at the altar 7. Court or solicit ACROSS 8. Bring upon oneself 1. Laugh at with contempt 9. "Where the Red 6. *Veterans Day stems from Grows" this war 10. *Vietnam, on the chi- 9. *Hand-to-hand combat na Peninsula weapon 11. 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