Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:
Anniston (Alabama) Star on teenagers' use of guns:
Two bills making their way through the Alabama House and Senate would allow teenagers under 18 to legally carry a handgun if they have their parents' permission.
We won't rattle off the entire list of problems with these bills, since this one will suffice: This premise only works if the gun-toting teenagers' parents are gun-savvy and diligent about teaching their child how to safely use a firearm.
More than a few gun-toting adults have a hard-enough time practicing safe gun ownership. It's common to hear of accidents, if not deaths, that result from adults' bad decisions and lax oversight with their weapons. Teens aren't the only ones who can act recklessly, foolishly — or worse.
Teaching the rules of responsible ownership to teens in gun-friendly families is important. But passing a law that's more about politics than the Second Amendment and could put gun-toting teens — and others — at risk isn't the way to do it.
The Gadsden (Alabama) Times on report that an apple a day might not keep the doctor away:
Say it ain't so. Don't disillusion us by spoiling one of the most repeated and honored of adages.
Unfortunately, there's no preventing it. Research findings published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine cast doubt on whether an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
The study examined data on about 8,400 U.S. adults who completed government health surveys in 2007-08 and 2009-10, which quizzed them on the foods they had eaten in the previous day and the medical care they had received over the previous year.
About 9 percent of those surveyed said they ate at least one apple each day, and the raw data showed they did have, on average, a few less doctor visits than apple avoiders, defined as people who don't eat apples regularly or at all.
However, once other factors that determine how often people go to the doctor were considered — such as education, health insurance, race and weight — that advantage vanished and it was pretty much a wash,
The researchers cautioned that they aren't totally debunking the adage, which according to Caroline Taggart, author of "An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs and Why They Still Work," originated in 19th century Wales. (The original version, Taggart told the Washington Post in 2013, was "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread.")
Their study didn't break down the reasons for the doctor visits, consider other foods the subjects might have eaten or really dig deeply to compare the relative health of apple devotees vs. apple avoiders.
No one food can guarantee perfect health, as those who have tried assorted (and usually worthless) "eat this exclusively and you'll be svelte and feel wonderful" fad diets can confirm.
However, the researchers and nutritionists who have examined their findings stressed that apples are pretty darn good for you. They're loaded with Vitamin C and fiber, also provide Vitamin A, calcium and iron, and have a lot fewer calories than the average candy bar.
The candy bar comparison is apt because apples' strength is as a snack (although they're certainly tasty when cooked into a variety of treats). The researchers say, and we agree, that the best strategy to attain and maintain good health is a balanced diet — which certainly could include apples. They may not be a miracle drug, but they're good eats.
Dothan (Alabama) Eagle on the Alabama-Georgia-Florida water wars:
For many years, Alabama, Georgia and Florida have been trying to work out a suitable arrangement with regard to the waters of the Chattahoochee River. Their failure has landed the matter on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court, which will soon consider the disagreement.
It reminds us of an African proverb: When elephants battle, it is the ground that suffers.
Or, in this case, it is the oyster grounds that suffer.
The Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi conducted a project on Florida's Forgotten Coast several years ago, and an episode of its podcast, Gravy, looks into the travails of the Apalachicola Bay oyster harvest which has declined over the years. It's an alarming look at the fragile ecosystem that produces what we all like to believe are the world's most delectable oyster, and how the disruption of the balance of fresh and salt waters can devastate oyster growth and, by extension, concentric circles of commerce that emanate from it.
There's far more to the three-state water wars than governmental ego. Georgia looks to the Chattahoochee to provide water to the growing Atlanta metropolitan area. Alabama wants to maintain the river's flow to generate electricity with river-driven energy plants. Florida depends on the Chattahoochee/Flint/Apalachicola river basin to maintain the legendary oyster beds of Apalachicola Bay.
This month, there are talks among the governors of the three states, diplomatic outreach that may, at long last, lead to some sort of compromise that all three states could abide.
That would be the best solution; we should be able to resolve differences with our neighbors without enlisting the weight of the nation's highest court.