Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Commentary by Samuel Strait – July 16, 2022

In order to truly finish the conversation about why government shouldn’t
be quite so eager to legislate the vagaries of childhood misbehavior and
allow that child to learn how to make decisions, good or bad, one should
also consider the effect it has on the ability of the parent in the
equation to also learn how to become a “parent”.  What I am referring
to, in case my readers have not read my comments in the article, the
“5-0 Club” found previously in the CCTimes, is surrounding an effort by
our local Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Valerie Starkey, in
particular, to provide corrective measures via ordinance regarding the
escalation of the use of vaping products by our youth in Del Norte County.

Aside from the obvious problems with Supervisor Starkey’s misguided
efforts to “protect children”, local small businesses already suffer
from a number of disparities brought about by local government, Measure
“R” being one of them, when in competition for dollars with our neighbor
to the North.  Additional ordinances in the form of a vaping products
ban simply send more dollars to Brookings and do absolutely nothing to
change the dynamic of teenage vaping.  Clearly Ms. Starkey would do well
to listen to her fellow Supervisor, Darren Short, when he said quite
clearly that teenage “vapers” do not shop in local businesses, but gain
their supply from other sources.  Thus a “ban” on sales would serve no
purpose to curb teenage vaping in the County.

That;  however, is beside the point, which is, how are our youth going
to learn to make decisions if the powers to be, are ever increasing
their efforts to make decisions for them?  When will youth everywhere
emerge from the growing helicopter umbrella of local government always
citing the same mantra, “its for the children’s own good”.  When will
children ever be allowed to “grow up”?  In Supervisor Starkey’s rather
bleak world, maybe never.  At some point the youth, at least in this
area, should be allowed to make their mistakes in the hope that better
decision making will emerge as a result and an adult with decision
making skills would be in their future.

While Supervisor Chris Howard was at a loss to justify this particular
form of government overreach, he clearly was of the mind that societal
issues were at the heart of why this ordinance might be positive.  In
doing so, he inadvertently opened up another form of government over
reach without realizing it.  When a parent no longer has the inclination
to provide a positive parenting example, referred to by Supervisor
Howard as “soft parenting”, at what point does the government “nanny
state” cause that scenario to develop.  Has government so over stepped 
their role as doctrinaires in the lives of children as to make them
become ineffective parents?

While I can say that the zeal with which Supervisor Starkey attacks what
she “feels” is an important problem to address, has she inadvertently
caused additional problems without ever addressing what she felt would
correct the problem in the first place?  Is a local ban on vaping
products really going to change anything at all?  Has this become more
like tilting at proverbial windmills for local government, where someone
else will suffer the consequences of a rather poorly thought out course
of action? Will local government become the much despised “helicopter
mom” while at the same time make it difficult for a child to make wise
decisions in the future and ultimately make that same child an
ineffective parent for his own children?  At what point is corrective
action by a growing government “a bridge too far?” Perhaps, Ms. Starkey
and the three other members of the local Board of Supervisors need to
take a more “hands off” approach and let parenting have a chance.  It is
very clear that if the problem exists in our local schools to the extent
being proclaimed, educators need to put away their “touchy, feely hats”
and gets some parents involved with their children.  Government action
should be a last resort, that’s a parenting task.

10 thoughts on “And What About The Parents?”
  1. what i want to know is where the hell do you find these flavorful vapes and the devices? the way the “informational” video placed it you could walk up to the candy isle and pick them out…well i’ve been to the candy isle several times and i can’t find them but what i did find was delicious tootsie rolls and red hot tamales. If you find this funny, it is as funny as the video that took precious time away from the BOS meeting. Nothing but Joe Bidens spewing out rules for everyone else but not for them. What can i say about our nation besides. laughable.
    IN the meantime, if the BOS is serious about the health and welfare of the residents i suggest they pass an ordinance that takes out the middle isle food items that are unhealthy. Del Norte County has an abundance of morbidly obese people in our midst. A few of them sit on the BOS. How about deleting chips, cookies, bread, canned food, soda, and other unhealthy items? That is an ordinance don’t ya think?

    1. Excellent article. It is very refreshing to see someone who understands economics, finance, and taxation bring real solutions to the table.

  2. Sam,
    Thank you for the thought provoking conversation. I did miss your point earlier and side stepped what your intended argument was. You make very valid points. I wonder, even with an ordinance in place, are we really taking away a teenagers ability to develop critical thinking skills? In your original piece, you stated it was an unnecessary step to take as kids would be getting access to the nicotine if they want it. So, if that is true, wouldn’t it also be true we are not taking away their ability to develop their critical thinking as they will still be faced with the decision to vape (or not) and if they are willing to accept the consequences of which ever choice they make?

    1. Unfortunately when you ban a substance for use, whether it is easily available or not, or even illegal, very often the concept of whether it is good or bad goes out the window for many of our youth and rebellion takes the place of critical thinking. This was a common problem for adults during prohibition, and a common problem for my generation when it came to cigarettes and alcohol. Historically when you tell humans of any age, “you can’t do something”, too often the results are not as intended, particularly when it is a government entity or a person in a position of authority.
      In this particular case your ordinances will accomplish little with regard to youth vaping and may actually produce results other than the ones that you intend to produce. Youth vaping from the stand point of human nature very likely will produce even more kids “testing” the waters so to speak as they seem to have more license in this permissive world which clearly exists, particularly in public schools, not likely a great scenario for any sort of “critical thinking”. That plus “peer pressure”, and youthful insecurity make vaping a prime source for for the lack of thinking through a decision to take up the practice, with what appears to be a practice that doesn’t have any immediate consequences for doing so. Banning the product is not a consequence, merely an enticement to try it out.

  3. Despite Ms. Starkey believing she can solve the World’s problems, she’s no Mother Teresa. Although her intentions are good, the results of her Policy catastrophic. Her hypocrisy does not stop at imposing health regulations on her constituents.
    Solution to 40 yr. old Mental Patient:
    Arrest him for being a danger to himself and the public. I imagine the individual is a current or former drug user, no job, and receiving social services. The individual doesn’t need more drugs to appear normal. He needs a job, or a mental institution to work on recovery.
    Or, just continue enabling bad behavior.

  4. The Nanny State is alive in Del Norte County. Supervisor Valerie Starkey’s over-reach to keep vaping away from our kids is yet another intrusion of government supplanting the role of the parent. NO Ordinance will stop a child from vaping!!! Parents. Do your job and parent your children.

  5. Sam,
    Thank you for highlighting the cons of my request for a ban on flavored vapes. You are absolutely right, as is Supervisor Short, that when someone wants to get or do something, they will find a way. In fact, the argument can be made for locks on houses. Should someone want to break into your house: no lock, no security system, no effort on your part will stop them. However, should that stop you from putting into place some mechanisms to limit the potential threat to your safety? That is what I am trying to accomplish here. I completely agree that parents should parent their kids. But currently, in our very small, rural county we have roughly 150 kids in foster care. Clearly, not all parents have the ability to parent their kids. One of the presentations I did not show was a well known member of the community who provided a testimony, of sorts, about his experiences with teen vaping and how it impacted his household. I encourage you to watch it.
    While Charles’ family may be the exception to the rule, our kids, despite our very best parenting, make choices that harm them. Wouldn’t we want to, as a community, take steps to limit their exposure? I will assume your answer to this question is “No” and I will respect your viewpoint on that. I am not here trying to convince you to think differently than me. I am just hoping to shed light on what my hope is with these ordinances.
    With regard to the impact it will make pushing more business to Oregon…this is an age old argument. As a child growing up in Del Norte County, we often went to Grants Pass/Medford to shop for school clothes as my parents were on a very tight budget and needed to stretch their dollar to clothe 3 girls. I would suspect, although I have no actual research data, that most communities bordering another community that has something that offers products theirs doesn’t, is frequented by the citizens…It’s kinda human nature to look for greener grass (or cheaper grass at least). In fact, Del Norte has a Home Depot, which Brookings does not, and I often see Oregon License plates in the parking lot of this store. Again, I have no real data, just observations.
    When I made the decision to support the Youth Vaping Coalition, I did go to nearly every store in the county who was listed as a tobacco retailer. I spoke with many of the store owners. Nearly everyone of them agreed they would be willing to give up selling flavored vapes. They too felt we needed to do more as a community to protect our children. Sure, their parents can buy it for them…and that happens. It also happens that kids order it online. It also happens that kids get it from their peers. All of this happens. I’d like to try to do one thing to limit the ability to access tobacco locally. I may fail. I may fail miserably. But I’d like to try to see if this one action can keep yet another kid from becoming addicted to nicotine.
    Recently I got a call from a 65 year old father who reported his 40 year old son has a severe mental health diagnosis and he is refusing to take his meds. He keeps getting arrested and is a danger to himself and his family. I am curious your solutions for this? Before I put on my Pollyanna, rose colored glasses and try to help, I would love your input.

    1. Valerie, I am sorry, but you have completely missed the point that I was trying to make. If I may, young people for many years have been subjected to the kind of restrictions on their activities by government which have created adults that have rarely made decisions based on the mistakes made during their passage into adulthood. Consequently we are now experiencing several generations of adults that do not know how to behave as parents. There will always be a certain number of parents that will be unsuccessful as parents no matter what, but the last few decades and the increased level of attention to “protecting” children by government has clearly created large numbers of children who became adults without the necessary “tools” to become parents. Your reference to 150 foster children is a stark example.
      When government incrementally takes on the job of parenting no matter what the perceived issue, there is rarely much of a successful outcome, but in the process the unintended consequences are far greater and far more damaging than keeping “that one extra kid from becoming addicted to nicotine”. Government over reach has in fact created several generations of adults who view their children as “friends” rather than being parents as they are meant to be.
      Kids, except for a few, will always push limits, but they need to make those mistakes in judgement in order learn how to make better decisions later in life. It is difficult enough when their parents do not know how to behave as parents, something they learned growing up in the “nanny state” that has evolved from our government provided schools to our governments at all levels who see “protecting” children as somehow one of the primary tasks to be under taken. That task should be reserved for parents, but as I have said repeatedly, if a child is prevented from learning about good and bad decision making and the corresponding difference in out comes, how will that child ever be able to be a functional parent?
      I do not smoke not because the government said as a child, I could not smoke, but from the experiences growing up, my decisions that it was not likely a good choice, and finally two capable parents would made that decision much easier to make.
      The fact that you have “talked” to retailers who share your views on the subject is completely irrelevant to my issue with your purposed ordinances. Similarly, those in Del Norte who go to Brookings to shop or where kids get vaping products are not my issue. It is much more fundamental and stems from why this country came into being and why government was to be limited to clearly defined activities. Something government has forgotten about and become entirely too intrusive. That in its self in my view is responsible for a significant amount of the current turmoil that occupies way too much of the public domain.
      If I was concerned about the mere fact that a “ban” on vaping products is an exercise in futility, I would simply point to prohibition, and it’s unintended consequences, far more devastating than the unrestricted use of alcohol. That isn’t what I am saying here. Its about the development of children in this world in spite of a terrible education system into developing the thinking and decision making skills to be a functional adult in the face of all sorts of tantelizing ills of modern society and becoming a functional parent for their children. Trying to prevent something that will happen anyway through ordinances is like saying you are able to prevent damage caused by a Tsunami. It’s the damage to children and their ability to become parents that I worry about. A much greater problem than a few children developing a life long vaping habit. Not that that isn’t a problem. I have found that you just can’t save the world a long time ago no matter how hard you try.
      As far as your other issue with the 65 year old father, spare yourself from being a Pollyanna with rose colored glasses, it is not a good look believe me. Suggest professional help and ask him to keep you informed about his progress in gaining that help. The ball is now in your court..

    2. Valerie, I have since viewed Mr. Tweed’s video and all I have to say is there are two adults that represent the kind of parents that are ill equipped to be parents. To have a child in High School and be so ill informed is endemic in America today. This is precisely the kind of scenario that is occurring in way to many households that cannot be corrected by ordinance. Real life experiences from these parent’s youth should have made them better equipped to address issues with their child long before the child gets to high school. Where were their parenting skills prior to their current dilemma? There do not appear to be any. All I see are excuses. Parenting begins day one of a CHILD’s life, not when she gets to high school and bad behavior is finally noticed. Sad, but very preventable, if the child had learned some solid decision making skills early in her development.

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