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On four occasions I have been exposed to CS (tear gas). Even though it was in controlled training exercises in the Army, it was a challenge to not freak out when experiencing the inability to breathe and see. It is quite understandable that its use is illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Like the American Academy of Pediatrics official response to the use of CS on infants at the border, I was also "stunned and shaken" it was used. Besides the psychological affects, the academy points out how it "threatens their short and long-term health."

Seeing videos of CS use at the border brings back memories of the toughest thing that I and many of my friends witnessed in Vietnam: the infliction of pain and suffering upon little kids. Upon leaving an orphanage in Vietnam, I openly wept with Sergeant Major Pag, who had seen lots of action in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. When we spoke, we both asked what kind of people are we to inflict pain and suffering on innocent little kids.

The same question comes to mind after what happened at the border. The answer is, cowards of the worst sort.

As Nelson Mandela said, "There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children."

Paul Appell

Altona, Illinois

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