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