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Smith: Debate should focus on life control

December 20, 2012|By Steve Smith

The notion that cancer is a good way to die provoked only one e-mail that disagreed. All of the others I received privately had no problem with the concept.

In case you missed it, I declared last week that if it is age appropriate, cancer is a good way to die. Properly managed, as was my late wife's brain cancer, the loved one is out of pain and is able to ease out of life instead of departing suddenly as one would via a car crash, a fatal heart attack or being shot by a gunman at an elementary school.

Unfortunately, the most important lesson we should all be learning from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is being lost on our so-called leaders. From President Obama on down, elected representatives all over the country and the narrow-minded media pundits are debating the wrong issue. They want or do not want gun control, but that's not the challenge.

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The challenge we have as Americans is that we are forgetting the fragility of the lives we live. We work too much and don't spend enough time enjoying our time on Earth. That's not just me talking, that is supported by statistics from several reputable studies, including a 2010 study by the International Labour Organization found that "Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers." OK, so using stats from the French isn't a good comparison, but you get the idea: We work too much.

Working a lot can be admirable and in a few cases it's actually beneficial. But for the rest of us, those with growing children, it's terrible. Too bad, though, that many of us think that everyone else is working too hard but that the time they are putting in is justified. Those of us who work more than 40 hours a week and those of us who are part of a working parental couple feel justified putting in the extra time. After all, without that second 40-hour per week shift, who is going to pay for day care for the kids?

Then, along comes a Sandy Hook, or a shooting like the one at the mall in Clackamas, Ore., earlier this month and all we can talk about it gun control when we should be talking about life control.

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