Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Smoke "Free" San Angelo

I’m wondering: Is “Smoke Free San Angelo” worried about our collective health? Or are they worried about their own?

I would like to know why these 4,500 people (those who signed the petition) really want to go to The Lone Wolf, or the Saddle Bronc. Maybe it’s La Casa or the Horseshoe Lounge. I’m not sure, but they are demanding that those establishments be smoke free in case they want to take their children there.

Or, perhaps they are really concerned about the patrons of those places. After all, bars and taverns would otherwise rival fitness clubs for health if they just wouldn’t allow SMOKING. It’s not like alcoholics driving home have ever harmed anyone.

So, what’s next? How about a city ordinance that mandates the use of condoms for any and all sexual activity? That is another pleasurable, personal choice that people make that may harm others. And why not? If 4,500 people can demand that the other 96,000 people bend to their will, it will only be a matter of time until they outlaw other behaviors they find distasteful. I sure hope they aren’t of a particular denomination…

Maybe my personal pet peeve will be next on the “ban” list: driving while distracted. I’m sure these soccer moms are really personally counseling the U.N. on world peace just after dropping off their spawn at the local no-one loses activity, but I seriously doubt it. I cannot think of a single reason to call anyone while operating a motor vehicle. Let’s ban that next.

OK. Enough childish venting from me; I’ll never be able to compete against the smoking banners in that department.

Instead, I’ve got a personal challenge to “Smoke Free San Angelo” to see if they are a reasonable group, or if they are just self-important, self-appointed former hall monitors wanting to control other’s behaviors:

Option One: Request the proposed ordinance be dropped. Get your people together, get with the local restaurant association, and petition them to ban smoking in their restaurants. If the business owner wants your business, they will comply. That is the way community activism is supposed to work. The business owners would be allowed to choose. This would mean losing your control over the lives of people, but it would mean that you can go to a restaurant – even a restaurant that serves alcohol, without having to deal with the “evil smokers.” They can continue to pollute their lungs in other places. Caution: this will anger your corporate sponsors.

Option Two: Modify your proposed ordinance to exclude any business that carries the “51%” sign. Those businesses make more than 51% of their revenue from the sale of alcohol. All of those establishments cater to adults, and generally aren't known as fitness establishments. This option would show that, while you still want to control other people’s behavior, you understand that there are individuals who do not share your values. That ordinance would probably gain more popular support, as there are even smokers (as evil as they are) who do not smoke in restaurants. They don’t even have to have statists (look it up) tell them not to. This is known as a compromise: it means everybody loses.

Option Three: Continue operating as you are. Your group’s demeaning, belittling, and emotion-based arguments will only persuade more people who are fed up with government to fight against you and your trumped up cause. Come November, you will actually lose in the election, and will have to put up with those evil smokers in the city parks that were built by other’s money JUST FOR YOU and your little overprotected liberal spawn. Maybe then you can petition the City Council to just do it on their own. This is known as the power of government over the will of the people.

I look forward to hearing from the “San Angelo Banners” on this matter. There are other ways to get their desired results. Forcing people to do what you want is childish.