Witnessing first hand the wreckage that smoking can create in a life has made me newly grateful for my early-in-life decision to avoid that toxic habit. And, I'm angrier than ever with the venal cigarette industry for continuing to shamelessly destroy millions of lives in its relentless pursuit of profit, consequences be damned.
Call this rant false equivalence, or the ravings of a naive idealist, or even label me with the dreaded "s" word if you must. But I just don't understand how an industry thriving on such misery is allowed to continue and flourish. Which unreconstructed capitalist among you can explain to me how cigarette industry executives who willfully obfuscated the health risks associated with smoking for years were allowed to retain their obscene, ill-gotten wealth? How about the wealth passed along to the heirs of those poison peddlers? How many of those executives or their progeny have ever watched a loved one slowly deteriorate from the effect of the addictive drug they legally shill? What rationalization did they use to help them work through their grief while excusing their role in this travesty?
While on the subject of legality, let's travel together through the looking glass, shall we? The crime that set in motion the events leading to the untimely death of Eric Garner seven years ago was the sale of untaxed cigarettes. What are we saying about what we value when it is legal to sell a product that slowly maims then murders millions but, it is illegal - and in Garner's case punishable by death - to sell that product untaxed? Anyone else feel like they're marooned in a Lewis Carroll story?
How has the abomination of manufacturing, selling, and profiting from cigarettes gone unchecked for so long? Pretend I'm a moron; break it down for me, please. Give me a moral - other than unbridled fealty to the almighty dollar - to this ugly, seemingly unending story.