Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Hey Coca-Cola----- we have heard it all before, but to be fair-

See the questions at the end of the blog.

Today in the NZ Herald, we read about the death of a 30 year old mum, partly attributed to Coca-Cola. It seemed like a rerun of previous cases against tobacco companies as the company denied that the drink was responsible for the tragic death. To be fair, they do a have a point.
I am not one who supports a total ban on Coca-Cola or other fizzy drinks, but there needs to be a lot more publicity on what can happen when consumption reaches anything more than a low to moderate level.
The lady in question was at the extreme end, consuming up to ten litres a day, along with being a heavy smoker. The report tells of a diet that can only be described as totally inadequate. She was a mother; one now sadly missed.
Should Coca-Cola take any responsibility for this death? I think they should. There are no warnings on the bottle and the details that are there are probably the last things that any drinker would peruse. I for one couldn’t read them without glasses.
Remember the debates in USA court rooms about smoking and how the smoking lobby fought and still does, the actions taken against them and how they continue to say that smoking doesn’t cause deaths.
Then the lobbyists for free choice came out in force. I bet they do the same here. Yes, it is a choice; a badly misinformed one on the part of those who consume vast amounts of the sugar-laden drinks. I don’t believe the mum was ignorant; she was hooked, just like people are who smoke. I dare say coming off the drink would have needed a great deal of support.
Let’s have more discussion on these dangerous drinks and make a huge effort to educate the kids. What would it have been like for the surviving family, watching their mum deteriorate on a day to day basis? Her underlying conditions made her a target for the bad effects off her consumption. We must have the discussion and take it as wide as we need.

The Following questions need to be asked
1) How much repsonsibility should  parents take to be positive role models to thier chidren--- in all matters?
2) Should food manusfacturers take any responsibilty for damgae thier producst may cause?
3) Should food products conatain clearly visible warnings about the pssoble dangers of their product.
4) How much guidance should Government/Departments provide about the food we eat?
5) Should there be a  price-loading on foods, on a graduated scale according to the known dangers various types of food potentially pose?
6) Should schools take all harmfull foods fomr the shelves?

I am sure you can think of many more questions.

How do we keep our elderly safe?

Once again we watch in horror as yet another elderly person is assaulted in their home. For what? ------ A few dollars?  This time it was the poor old guy’s neighbour who broke in and guess what--? The law allows ‘name suppression. OK the law is the law and there may be a reason why he has that right. I know we can’t go off half-cocked and demand some sort of vigilante action, but it really sticks in the craw when these useless young thugs assault someone so obviously unable to defend themselves.
We will probably hear that the young defendant had a difficult background and had parents who were unable to instil in him the normal decency most of us operate by. The list his defence will trot out will contain the usual clich├ęs; perhaps they should just play a recording, because it is always the same.
What has gone so terribly wrong with a young person that feels they have the right to enter another person’s house and then assault them when they meet resistance?
Maybe be we should make it mandatory that once we reach a certain age, we must all live in a protected environment. Of course that’s rubbish. Most of us mange to live in our own homes; rather than moving in to one of the huge array of retirement facilities. I am not saying g that choosing such an option is bad--- indeed it would probably suit me well, if I ever get to that point.
The reasons for these violent home invasions are more sinister. I suggest that a high number of them are driven by more than a lack of ‘upbringing.’ There is an underlying culture of drug dependency in New Zealand that fuels many of these acts of violence. We see it time after time; in the youth and adult courts.
 By the time teenagers reach high school, much of the antecedents are already in place. I know ‘good kids’ can go wrong, but the overwhelming proportion of young [people who go on to offending at the violent end of the crime spectrum come from families who have failed them. The signs were there when the children were very young.
Teachers have long said they can predict how many of their charges will ‘turn out.’ They have asked for years that resources be put in at our Primary schools, in partnership with the families and agencies that support them.
For politicians who control the purse strings, the message should be clear. If you don’t have a social conscience, then take a monetary approach. Spend the money whilst the children are young and you will save a great deal of our precious resources in the future. Maybe we will not need so many prisons and perhaps fewer children will leave school unable to read or be in gangs that substitute for a real family.
Rocket Science? ---- I think not.