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April 1994

Fire and Ice

Author Affiliations

Associate Editor The Johns Hopkins Hospital Park 307 Baltimore, MD 21205

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(4):347-348. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170040013002

GROWING UP in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly around the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I sometimes wondered whether Robert Frost had written prophetically about how our world would end. As we waited to see if Khrushchev would turn around the Russian ships that were headed toward Cuba, I thought often that Frost's fire certainly meant nuclear conflagration and that ice represented the nuclear winter that would face any remaining survivors of a nuclear war.

As I write this editorial, the headlines that describe what is happening to our nation's children and adolescents give new meaning to the fire and ice that will end their world. For me, fire has come to mean literally the gunfire that is rapidly becoming the No. 1 killer of our young people. Ice (cold), which leads to a more silent and insidious death than fire, now symbolizes the slow but steady spread of