By Dr. Anthony Policastro

We all know that adolescents are not yet adults. That is why there is an age limit for voting. That is why there is an age limit for buying cigarettes. That is why there are age limits for buying alcohol. That is why there are age limits for purchasing weapons.

Unfortunately, not all adults recognize that. There are many stories of parties where the adults serve alcohol to minors. We hear about those stories because something goes wrong as a result of that.

Adults don’t stop at alcohol. There are recent examples of that involving firearms. There was a lot of controversy about the results of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. However, we tend to forget there would have never been a trial if his mother was not involved. She is the one who drove him across the state border with an assault rifle. She is the one who put him in danger. 

The trial involved the outcome of her doing that. She clearly forgot that the legal age to purchase a weapon is 18. That means that parents need to be careful about handing weapons to children under age 18.

The same thing happened with the school shooting in Michigan. Parents bought their 15 year-old child a gun for Christmas on Black Friday. He promptly took it and shot up the school. When his parents were called because he was drawing pictures of guns and looking up purchasing ammunition at school, his mother berated him for getting caught. That was not exactly good parenting.

A mother was recently shot to death while on a Zoom meeting when an adult left a gun between the couch cushions for the two year-old to find.

Approximately one third of guns in this country are kept loaded and unlocked in the house. There are 4.6 million children in those households.

Some people want laws passed to make sure guns are kept locked and unloaded. It makes one wonder why such a law would even need to be passed. Parents should know better. They know that they should not leave poisons lying around. They know they should not leave things like dangerous tools lying around. It should not be a stretch for them to know that they should not leave guns lying around.

Adolescents do not think like adults. It is up to the adults around them to understand things better than they do. It is up to adults to keep them out of harm’s way. It is up to adults to keep others out of harm’s way as well. There are reasons that we have age limits on things.

COVID update- Nationally there were 1,557,000 new cases this week. That compares to 964,000 last week. Last year for the same period we had 1,358,000. 

In Sussex County we had 1,452 new cases this week. That compares to 1,145 last week. Last year we had 1,007 for the same period. 

This year’s surge is now higher than last year. The numbers are probably higher than reported because of limited in person and take home testing availability. This is not a huge surprise given the Omicron variant increased transmissibility. 

To this point many people have had breakthrough infections so cases in general have been milder. England has had 129 people hospitalized with it and 14 deaths. Those have been pretty much among unvaccinated individuals. 

On Christmas Day we hit another grim milestone. COVID reached 2,500 deaths per million Americans. That means that 1 out of every 400 Americans has now died from it. 

I suspect that if a foreign enemy developed a weapon that could kill 1 out of every 400 Americans, we would be united in our resolve against them. However with an enemy virus that does the same all we do is argue with each other about it.