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Front Page » February 19, 2013 » Opinion » American compass? Personal responsibility
Published 667 days ago

American compass? Personal responsibility


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

There is a restaurant in Las Vegas called the Heart Attack Grill. The entrepreneurial owner of the place has taken the exact opposite tack of many of the fast food outlets in the United States that continue to promote parts of their supposed healthy menus as their main menu.

He instead comes right out and tells you his food will kill you.

And in fact it may well have killed people. Recently one of his customers, John Alleman, who was a customer spokesman in some of the restaurant's ad campaigns, had a heart attack right out in front of the Fremont Street Experience where the eatery is located, waiting for a bus. He later died in the hospital. He was 52 years old.

Alleman ate at the grill every day for a year and a half. There are a number of things on the menu and I doubt that anyone could eat one of the multiple layer, 10,000 calorie hamburgers every day, but you never know.

Did the fat and other things in the food kill Alleman? Reportedly his family has a predisposition for heart attacks. His parents apparently both died in their 50s of one.

The restaurant also recently lost another standard customer and unofficial spokesman who weighed in at over 400 lbs. He ate there regularly too, because you see the restaurant will give anyone over 350 pounds a free stacked burger.

There have also been other heart attacks right inside the restaurant as well. I doubt the food immediately caused the ailments; maybe it was the prices, because I understand the hamburgers there are not priced like they are on a dollar menu.

Some in the media and medical world have proclaimed Jon Basso, the owner of the establishment to be the same as a drug dealer. They say he metes out substances, in this case very fatty food, which eventually kills his customers. I think they are partially irked because he also goes to work and appears on commercials for his restaurant in doctors clothing, stethoscope and all. He knows that eating too much of the food he serves is not good for you, and he says so. He doesn't try and cover up what he really sells by giving kids slices of fruit instead of fries or salads in place of hearty (no pun intended) burgers. In fact I have heard him state on television that his burgers are a sinful thing, but something many people want once in awhile.

This whole line of thinking about people who make products that kill people being bad people is a guilt trip that some want to perpetrate upon the owners of such companies in particular and to a larger extent on all of us. If what they say about Basso's restaurant taking advantage of human weaknesses is true, are Utah State Liquor stores the same, pushers as well? The media and do-gooders also put the same kinds raps on those who make, distribute and sell firearms. Should the owners of Mars Candy Company be in jail because they make great tasting candy bars, which if you eat them all the time they will kill you, be in jail for what they do? They also try to portray those that make and sell ATVs as evil because some people lose their lives on them and others tear up the countryside with the machines. The list of do-gooder's targets can go on and on.

The truth is that this entire thing is really not about what people serve others to eat, drink, or use. It is about, instead, personal responsibility.

I have heard people say the America is in decline because we have lost our moral compass or our will to fight for our freedom. Some say Americans are all fat and lazy. Some say that we concentrate too much on entertainment and sports, rather than on more important things in life like our families and social problems. This list of complaints and failures about Americans is endless. We are targets of the media and moralists who want us to be something else other than what we are.

But to my way of thinking, if we have lost our way, it's because we have spent too much time in the last 50 years trying to blame others for our own weaknesses rather than taking responsibility for ourselves. Many in our society spend a lot of time being or striving to be victims. Unfortunately they seemingly also enjoy it.

That isn't to say there aren't people out there who have made shoddy products or served bad food over the years which did victimize people. People and companies who do those things should be punished. But as a society we have moved from taking on companies that manufactured unsafe cars and making them fix the problems to instead making them responsible for a flaw in the tail light lens of a vehicle and then saying that flaw caused someone to run into the back of another car. We have gone from saying that cigarettes are bad for you (which they are) to blaming the American capitalistic system for producing ads that sell those perfectly legal products. We constantly go on witch hunts to find someone to blame for actions we individually took throughout our lives that we knew were dangerous or unhealthy. We don't care when we are 20 about warnings people have given us, but at 60, suddenly, there should be someone to blame for our situation.

Certainly, people should know about dangers a product may pose. And I realize that if a parent starts a child out with the wrong kind of diet it is very hard to change those habits over the years. But whose responsibility is it to see that children are taught to eat well? Do we need a fast food joint holding our hands telling us what is good and is bad for us? Do we want do-gooders standing around every corner guilting us out about the five things we did today that could affect our health?

Americans love personal freedom. If we want to do something and someone says no, we tend to rebel. But with that freedom to do what we want, own what we want, act like we want, and certainly eat what we want, there also comes responsibility.

And while I might eat at Jon Basso's restaurant when I go to Las Vegas just to see what it is like, I would never eat that kind of food day after day. It's my choice and no one is forcing me to go there.

You see Basso has told us all what he serves can kill us and I believe him.

So when did being completely honest, even in the name of promoting a business, become a bad thing?

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February 19, 2013
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