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Creating a healthy and safe environment inside the Alaska National Guard is an endeavor that should be free from political games.

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Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Susan Marie Mallott Patrick, 58, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Ketchikan.
1/21/2014
Unhealthy choices

Marijuana and alcohol can be dangerous.

President Obama commented in recent days that he believes marijuana isn't any more dangerous than alcohol.

To which, we say: Alcohol is pretty dangerous for some people, particularly when over consumed. The level of risk comes with the amount consumed and what people whose judgement is clouded by the effects of too much alcohol do. If not for over-consumption of alcohol, many people killed by drunk drivers might be alive today.

That's just one of the tragic results of excessive alcohol consumption. People under the influence do any number of things that hurt others. Women and children often are abused by men and women under the influence.

But alcohol doesn't kill; it's a matter of how it is used. Marijuana won't kill, but driving under its influence could lead to death for a driver and/or others. The same is true with guns; they don't kill, but the people who make bad decisions while in possession of them do.

Making marijuana more easily accessible will increase the risks associated with its use and sale.

But the president is speaking to the danger of an individual consuming alcohol or marijuana. In such a case, the difference is that the consumption of alcohol can affect only the body of the person drinking, but the person who smokes marijuana can contaminate the air where others exist as well.

This takes away these other people's choice of being exposed to marijuana. Often these other people are children. The same is true with cigarettes. The smoke can affect the health of others who have no choice but to be in a smoker's presence.

President Obama, who, as the leader of the nation, is expected to set an example, especially for children. And explaining his use of cigarettes and marijuana to his children has been done rather well, considering he might wish he didn't have to acknowledge that their dad had bad habits. But kids need to hear and see parents learn from their own mistakes.

Obama has told his daughters he thinks smoking pot in his youth was a bad habit and smoking cigarettes well into adulthood was one, too.

Not only was it a bad habit, but it was a waste of time and not very healthy, he told them. His first-hand experience will give him credibility. That's not to say parents have to smoke pot in order to be a credible source on its effects for their children. But, if they have, then they might as well use that experience to influence their children into good and healthier choices.

Because using pot isn't healthy, which makes it dangerous.