Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Laws! Laws! For God's sake, we need more laws!

What is it with policritters that they can't just leave well enough alone?

It's been my experience that 90% of perceived problems will work themselves out just fine if they're left alone.

Take smoking. It's my feeling that if the General Public decides that second-hand smoke is enough of an irritant that it amounts to a problem, then the General Public will deal with second-hand smoke -- people will shun smokers, private property owners will decide whether or not they want smokers on their private property, that sort of thing.

You don't want to inhale smoke at a bar -- don't go to that bar and don't give the bar owner your hard-earned cash. Enough people go somewhere else, and the owner will either accommodate the wishes of his clientele or he'll go broke.

If he's still making a profit, then obviously not enough people think it's a problem.

No muss, no fuss, no mess.

I don't see a need for legislation -- but nobody asked me.

A Texas State Senator -- Democrat -- from Houston has decided to foot a bill in the Texas Legislature to ban all indoor smoking throughout the State that isn't in a private home or automobile -- and all smoking at the outdoor seating of entertainment events.

Why is it the business of the State of Texas whether people are smoking in my bar or not? Can someone tell me this?

And what if I want to spend my money and start a cigar bar, hmm? It's my money, it's my sodding bar and if people don't want to be exposed to stinky cigar fumes --
then go somewhere bloody else!

If you don't want to smell second-hand smoke at lunch -- don't go to restaurants that allow smoking.

If you don't want to smell second-hand smoke at work -- take it up with the private owner of the company. Or quit.

Why do we need legislation?

"But LawDog," I hear you say, "It's for our own good! Second-hand smoke is bad for us!"

Well, me boyo, lots of other things are "bad for us". Double cheeseburgers. Indoor gun ranges. Reloading spent ammo. Charcoal grilled food. Beef.

If the government is going to regulate how much second-hand smoke you're exposed to, what's next, hmm?

I'm an adult, damn it. Kindly allow me the common courtesy of making my own decisions, thankyewverrymuchly. In simpler language, the government needs to bugger off and minds it's own beeswax.

And -- truth be told -- if the Government of the State of Texas is so bored that it needs to poke it's nose into the private affairs of citizens and private businesses, then it seems to me that the Government of the State of Texas either has too much money on its paws, too much time to spare, or too many people on the payroll.

Time to do some trimming.

I suggest that smokers remember this -- and remember the Democratic Party that is backing the sponsor of this -- come next election.

LawDog

24 comments:

Ulises from CA said...

Of course, you're right.

And smoking is deadly is done for any length of time.

The way to get it into people's skulls that "smoking is deadly" is to promote the notion that only unredeemable villans can't stop smoking.

But, not more laws, PLEASE!

Perhaps legislators ought to be fined $1000.00 per word if their legislation goes beyond 250 words.

Rabbit said...

"No man's life, liberty or property is safe when the Texas legislature is in session".

The Esteemed Gentleman hasn't stopped to consider the precipitous drop in state tax revenue on a Federally subsidized substance his splendid little idea would cause. Our only salvation is that they meet for so few days so infrequently.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

So I presume that means you no longer arrest anyone for possession of narcotics or other "illegal substances"? After all, what right does any government have determining what an adult puts in his or her body?

Anonymous said...

Actually, they have it backwards. Smoking should be illegal in the private home of anyone who has minor children living with them. It's child endangerment.

Matt G said...

The best part about this particular blog entry is that one can't actually tell LawDog's personal position on smoking, for himself.

I know, but I ain't tellin'.

Sevesteen said...

It's not just legislators--Ohio has recently passed a voter initiative that bans smoking in almost all businesses, requires every entrance to every business be posted with a no smoking sign including a tattletail phone number. If a business builds a smoking shelter with a roof, it can't have more than two walls.

bryanp said...

The bar thing especially has always puzzled me. Can you picture this?

"Excuse me Mr. Bartender guy. Here I am trying to match drinks with this cutie I just met so I can drive home drunk with her and have unprotected sex, and this guy's blowing smoke in my face!"

dracphelan said...

And there is other silliness afoot in Austin. There is a bill that will charge a parent with a (class b, I believe) misdemeanor for missing a parent-teacher conference.

Mattexian said...

Our won city council decreed that smoking was bad for us peasants, m'kay, while in public restaraunts and bars last year. So one of the bars reopens as a "private club," where, under Texas law, they CAN allow smoking inside. Take THAT, People Who Know Better!

Bruce Krafft said...

But LawDog don't you know that these laws are to protect the poor, undereducated mostly women who are forced to work in these establishments by their lack of job skills and economic circumstances?

Ignore the fact that the *government* schools are the ones that spit her out with the bare minimum of knowlege (as they were designed to do, see any of John Taylor Gatto's writings).

Ignore the fact that the government mandated minimum wage laws marginalize just exactly this sort of worker.

Ignore the fact that the burden of government imposed taxes and regulations sucks off over 80% of our economy's productivity, productivity which would otherwise create masses of new jobs.

Ignore the fact that in most locales where laws like this were passed saw a 50% reduction in bar business and a 30% reduction in restaurant business, throwing the people this law was supposed to protect out of work.

It is for their own good, and government knows better.

Anonymous said...

The same just happened in my town -- the already in place state law on bars, restaurants etc. was extended to private clubs.

I watched, agog, as the letters to the editor poured in to the local paper complaining that the board of health was (*gasp*) regulating private property!

I asked myself; "What private property? Have the Elks and the VFW and the sportsmans' clubs not been paying attention?"

I got news for you, Sparky: All your private property are belong to us. See Kelo v.s. New London. See the various asset forfeiture laws around the US -- you know; they take your money because you have "too much" cash on you; they take your car/house/whatever-they-want without even bringing charges never mind getting a conviction.

I say again: All your private property are belong to us.

Sorry for the downer...

Peet

MorningGlory said...

LawDog, you opened a fine kettle of fish with this one. While I am in 100% agreement with every word you said, I think that this is a major "hot button" issue that will bring many people to the point of foaming at the mouth. I've never known anyone to change their position on this issue. I'll be watching the comments.

Justin said...

I remember being laughed at a few years ago when I pointed out that if the state can prohibit smoking that they can prohibit other unhealthy substances.

Now in 2006 we've got New York City banning trans fats, and Chicago outlawing Foie Gras.

Say what you will about the health effects of smoking, but ultimately Smoking is Healthier than Fascism

D.W. Drang said...

"But LawDog," I hear you say, "It's for our own good! Second-hand smoke is bad for us!"

Actually, there is no proof of this.
None.
The Worlds health Organization tried to prove it several years ago with The Mother Of All Environmental Tobacco Smoke Studies--which was such an abysmal failure they attempted to supress the fact that it had taken place.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9776409&dopt=Abstract
http://www.obscurious.co.uk/componants/smoking1440.pdf
http://www.davehitt.com/facts/who.html
"the one statistically significant result from the study (was) that children raised by smokers were 22% less likely to get lung cancer."
Here's a link to a statement before Congress on the subject: http://www.pipes.org/Articles/Bliley.html
Here's a link to a statistical analysis of "Second Hand Smoke" studies:
http://www.pipes.org/Articles/second_hand_science.html

Anonymous said...

I don't smoke, but some of my friends do. They don't tell me to start and I don't tell them to quit. We get along fine.

mustanger98 on THR

Anonymous said...

Well, second hand smoke is certainly bad for MY health! If I come home from my gun club smelling like a cigarette (about 4 minutes exposure to the bar will do it), I don't get no nookie until/unless I shower off the stench.

VERY bad for my health.

KCSteve said...

Part of it is what I call the "Regulatory Death Spiral".

A problem exists. Sometimes it's a real problem, sometimes it's just the perception of a problem. Doesn't matter politically since politics is all about perception.

So, something must be done!

Of course, politicians generally aren't all that good at actually doing things. Neither are governments, overall. Doesn't matter, the people have spoken.

So committees are formed and studies are done and laws are formulated.

The laws often have little to do with the actual 'problem', and even those that do are generally aimed not at the actual source of the problem (which is often due to people ignoring existing laws) but at the only ones you can affect with a law: the law-abiding.

So the new laws are promulgated with great fanfare. Usually followed almost immediately by a great public gnashing of teeth due to the (hopefully) unintended consequences of these new laws.

The situation now has changed (often for the worse). These changes lead to people weeping and wailing to their legislators about their great and terrible problem, often with said problem being people who are now ignoring even more laws.

Never fear, the legislators are familiar with this situation and know that something must be done!

sondela said...

Dear Lawdog,
longtime fan of yours here...
I would like to draw your attention to the Antipodes, where in NZ at least and also most of Australia, legislation exists already banning smoking in any public place, bars included. In Australia in some states, legislation is being approved AS WE SPEAK..to ban smoking in private vehicles!! Now where's the Englishman's castle gone...

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! More freakin laws from the same folks who made millions off the tobacco companies. Your Honor, I know they said smoking was bad for you but I was hooked and it could never happen to me. I only want $20 million. The "State" must be reimbursed for the medical expenses of those who chose to smoke. Bastards, I hope anyone who gets any of that money gets a social disease at a minimum. Yes, I was stupid and smoked but I didn't blame anyone else for my own inadequacy. Yes, I did quit cold-turkey!

denverdenizen said...

America has long lost 'pull yerself up by yer own bootstraps' and replaced it with 'somebody should do something about this'. We have the government we asked for and it reflects the current left-leaning culture very well.

As a culture we've allowed the heart to outweigh the mind and an intrusive, dictatorial nanny-state is the manifestation of our collective desire to have someone insulate us from the pain of a gritty world of finite resources, tough choices and rough consequences. The heart does not seek justice or wisdom; only the avoidence of pain.

Freedom necessitates risk of pain and today's America, dominated by the heart, will not abide that risk and so forgos freedom without thought of the constriction of Rights. If the rejection of freedom reduces pain, the heart will readily agree to any and every imposition no matter how contrived the justification.
I fear the worst is yet to come.

Russ said...

As a citizen of this state I think that we should allow the populace make this decision for themselves on their own and without any governmental interference.

I think that if a person wishes to smoke, then a person should be able to smoke.

If I'm walking my dog in the park and I wish to light up my Marlboro, I should be able to.

If I'm drinking a cold Coors Light in the Flying Saucer in downtown Fort Worth, I should be able to enjoy my Basic Light as well.

If I'm listning to the artist at the Ft. Worth Symphony's Concert in the Garden, sipping on my glass of White Zenfendel I should be allowed to enjoy my panatella also; but I'm not. I can drink there and kill someone on my way home, but I can't even light a match.

But don't tell me that second hand smoke is more deadly than drinking that Coors Light or that glass of White Zenfendel, cause IT AIN'T!

Drunk drivers kill more people on the road than a cigarette / cigar / pipe smoker ever will on the highways of this great nation.

Drinking causes liver diseases, cigarette causes lung diseases both have the ability to take lives. If it's my choice to drink, or if it's my choice to smoke; then IT is MY choice to make not yours, not my doctors, not my wife's and most certainly not my representatives.

Drinking causes people to go crazy and kill, I've never met a person who could blame their murderous outbreak on nicotene.

I agree with the "DOG," we don't need more laws on this, we, non-smokers, need to not go to a place where smoking is allowed and we smokers need to go to only places where smoking is allowed.

And, then if I, as a non-smoker, go to a place that allows smoking it is because I choose to.

If I, as a smoker, choose to go to a place that doesn't allow smoking--then IT is MY CHOICE.

Do I smoke, or do I not... That is the question.

That's my thinkin'

Russ

Rorschach said...

Didn't Texas just slap a huge tax increase on cigarettes "for the children"? What happens to that tax revenue when you can't smoke anywhere? they've already blown a gaping hole in one foot, now it looks like they are aimng for the other one....

Jon said...

They need to outlaw smoking completely. The black market needs the revenue.

geekWithA.45 said...

You know, the other day I was talking to a friend, and we concluded that the whole mess comes down to the fact that it's really damned hard to mount an election campaign around "Behold my wisdom and restraint! I have fought valiantly to not pass any laws!"

Sadly, legicritters are termed "lawmakers", and unless they're busy beavering new laws, they feel empty and useless, or at least vulnerable to charges of "sloth!" by their opponents.

We really need to get a whole nother branch of legislature: the house of repeal going. Then we can redirect all this busy beavering somewhere useful.