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Freedom & common courtesy
by Joseph Brano


May 05, 2004

Kody, I find it pointless to argue with people who have no capacity to respect opposing views. However, in this recent letter you clearly champion yourself as a witty and intelligent powerhouse for smoker's rights. First let me begin by explaining what some of the choices you don't have are. Although you live in the United States, you do not have the freedom to do whatever it is you want. Anarchy is not the system we function under. Although the hierarchy of the Ketchikan bar scene (joke) may work in a truly anarchistic display of irresponsible sin, the community of Ketchikan does not follow that mindset.

I like how you presume to have a clue about business, touting that businesses operate however they want and it is the customer's responsibility for any damage that happens within. For example: you mention that parents are at fault for bringing their children into a smoking establishment. The business has no obligation to change its policies just to provide a safe environment for the children. That is correct. However, the law changes that. This democratic republic for the people by the people will determine collectively whether that business has a social responsibility to provide a smoke free environment.

Everyone wants freedoms until people's freedoms affect them negatively. People have a freedom not to bath themselves. As a health conscious citizen, I am often offended at the disgusting odors wafting from some people who live in our city. It is my right to be offended and bring the issue to the attention of the government. If I have enough support for my claim, I have the potential to change the law. Everyone has a different view of what is or is not important in lawmaking. Everyone has a different idea of what should or should not change in public policy. For example: (My health care friends will hate me for this) I think seatbelt laws are ridiculous. Being fined for an action that does nothing but protect myself is crazy. If I were impacting the health or well being of another innocent bystander, the law would make sense. But this law is totally lame. I cannot stomach being given a fine for not having a seatbelt. Who is that helping? We don't need laws to protect us from ourselves. However, (I know you are itching to use my own words to defeat my views on secondhand smoke - but wait) when an action causes damage to others, that action is no longer a freedom protected under the Constitution.

In the end, I actually am not fond of bureaucracy. I hate to think that common courtesy must be mandated. However, it is the only action that seems to work with many who would offend. Businesses in Ketchikan do not operate in the black market. They are afforded certain protections and assurances from the federal government if, in return, they operate lawful and socially responsible organizations that adhere to changes in public policies. I do not like sitting in restaurants that allow smoking. However, you will find me in many of these establishments like Cape Fox, Jeremiahs, and the Dockside Diner because I like the staff and the food. As a youth drug prevention educator, I have a responsibility that transcends my personal acceptance of the status quo. I must do what I feel is right for the continued improvement of our community. I'm sorry if that annoys your bar experience.

Joseph Brano
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Related Viewpoint:

On the subject of smoking... by Kody Ansharr - Ketchikan, AK - USA



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