Can we learn from our mistakes?

Dennis Warden

In Stephen King’s book 11/23/63, the main character discovers a portal that takes him back in time to the early 60s. He makes this trip several times. Each time he returns home, no matter if he was gone a day or several years, it’s the same moment he left. 

So the hero decides that there must be a reason for this portal in time — it’s for him to change a mistake in history that needs to be corrected. That mistake is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 23, 1963.

My favorite books are history. Next in line is historical fiction. This book, from 2012, is a wonderful page turner, difficult to put down. I learned a lot about the 60s, and specifically the assassination of Kennedy and ‎Lee Harvey Oswald, his killer, from this book.

If I had the opportunity to travel back in time to make a change in history I think it would be to stop cigarettes and smoking in general.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Over 50 years that’s 24 million lives.

Talk with most smokers and they will tell you that they wish they had never started smoking and they wish they could quit. Many have tried, but find out that the habit is too hard to break.

On Nov. 6 Missourians will go to the polls and find three “medical” marijuana measures, two amendments and one proposition, on the ballot.

Make no mistake-this is just the first inroad to making Missouri the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use in the United States. 

It may not be cool to oppose this but I am and I’m not the only one.

Last month the Missouri State Medical Association released their opposition to this issue acknowledging numerous studies that have identified negative health effects for a large number of diagnoses.

More than half of 10th and 12th graders say they believe pot isn’t dangerous, according to a report from the Rand Corporation, a nonpartisan research organization. That is scary.

According to a recent article in the Readers Digest, there is a misconception that marijuana can’t hurt anybody. It can. Do your research.

One web site I visited listed 11 negative side effects of using cannabis . They are addiction, memory loss, social anxiety disorders (such as depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia), paranoia, heart damage, lung problems (similar to tobacco), low testosterone, appetite irregularities, risk of greater potency, decrease in motor responses and poor decisions. It won’t take long until the U.S. has “Mothers Against Driving High.”

Between 2013 and 2014, shortly after Colorado legalized recreational weed, emergency room visits doubled. Is this what we want in central Missouri?

As Missourians I hope we don’t make marijuana legal only to wish we hadn’t 10 to 20 years from now.

It’s funny but I remember not too long ago when some of the same people who are promoting this issue fought to pass laws requiring restaurants and bars and all public buildings to become smoke free. 

You don’t hear much about that anymore.

Now these same people are telling us that it is ok to smoke marijuana. It doesn’t make sense to me.

One of the reasons that weed is becoming more popular with many state governments is money. Cash strapped states want the tax money from this drug like the taxes they receive from tobacco.

Just like tobacco, I predict that the ones who will suffer the most from weed will be the poor.

To be fully honest, as a newspaper owner I should be all for the legalization of pot. In states where it is legal newspapers have had a boom in advertising for marijuana. I could easily say that like cigarettes it won’t do me any harm.

Here in Missouri we have the opportunity to save countless lives that could be ruined by marijuana by voting against these measures.

If you could go back in time what wrong or mistake would you like to correct?