Chalk one up for the bad guysSteve Hammer

In yet another move to strip away our precious freedoms one by one, the City-County Council is now looking to ban smoking in all public spaces, including bars, restaurants and offices. It seems that the only kind of smoking that will be protected by law is a smoking gun. I can go out and buy assault weapons but suddenly I face a fine for lighting up a Pall Mall?

Normally, it's the Republicans who have a monopoly on trying to force people to behave the way they wish, but this is a bipartisan effort that includes a number of dumbass Democrats along with the busybody conservatives. They're acting like Bavarian tree weasels, trying to outdo each other in their zeal against smoking.

I smoke because I enjoy it. I smoke because I can afford them and because it is still legal. If you're in my house, you're gonna see me smoke. Your alternative is to get the hell out.

If I'm at your house, and you don't like smoking, then I won't smoke. Simple as that. There's no need for government intervention.

But this proposed ban would cover city parks, bus stops, just about anywhere in the city outside your home. Give me a break. Bus stops? We're going to enforce no smoking at bus stops while we cut bus services? How does that make sense?

It seems that the only kind of smoking that will be protected by law is a smoking gun. I can go out and buy assault weapons but suddenly I face a fine for lighting up a Pall Mall?

This is fascism at its finest. Strip away individual liberties one at a time and hope nobody notices when they're all gone. It's well known that the Republican Party has had this as its goal, but to see the Democrats join in is appalling.

The ban hasn't worked too well in other cities; there's no reason to think it will be any different here. In New York, a smoking ban had led to "drink and dash," where patrons order a drink, go outside to smoke, and skip out on their tab.

This leads to ridiculous situations. You can get an abortion on demand but you can't have a cigarette before you go in the clinic. You can't smoke in public, even outside, but you can get as drunk as you want and bother people and get away with it 99% of the time.

The logical next step in the Big Brother government is to regulate sexual behavior - those homosexuals are taking over society! - and then restricting free travel between states, and, finally, regulating what you can say or even think.

If we're going to start regulating offensive behavior, let's not stop with smoking. I can think of all kinds of things that should be banned.

Gum. I'd rather have someone blow smoke in my face than put up with someone chomping and smacking gum in my ear. Gum serves no social or medical purpose and in fact can aggravate conditions such as TMJ. It also gets stuck to your shoes and could be used to jam car locks. Possession of gum should be a misdemeanor. And let's lock up the Doublemint Twins while we're at it, just to drive the point home.

Perfume. I've been bombarded with cheap, offensive perfume odors while shopping and at movies. If some crazy person wants to slather their face with Jovan Musk or Aqua Velva or Old Spice, there is currently no recourse under the law. This too should be banned.

Modern country music. Have you heard that Hitleresque song about the U.S. Marine Corps sticker on the bumper of this broad's SUV? This is offensive and promotes unjustified wars. Other country songs promote the killing of Arabs, the support of George W. Bush and other offensive activities. Stop the madness now!

Offensive bumper stickers. Every time I see a "W" bumpersticker on a car, it makes me want to smash in its windows. Such incitement to violence should be made illegal. Other people feel the need to proclaim their allegiance to Dale Junior or announce that their kid is an honor roll student. Know what? I don't give a damn about your kid. Your compulsion to tell me about your kid is illegal and should be banned.

Disgusting alcohol drinks. I've seen far too many people go into bars and order something nauseating like amaretto and cream, or Miller Lite beer, or Red Bull and anything. Just seeing someone drink Red Bull makes me want to puke. The solution? Outlaw Red Bull and Miller Lite. Everyone knows that Pabst is the only good beer, anyway.

Plus, the Miller Lite they sell at Pacers games comes in plastic bottles, which not only makes the beer taste worse, it makes the bottles useless for hurling at Ben Wallace or any other Detroit Piston. A glass bottle at least would send a message they'd understand.

Crappy "Alternative Rock." Eleven years after the death of Kurt Cobain, we are still subject to whiny alt-rock in which millionaires talk about how horrible it is to be rich and famous. Pearl Jam is even allowed to roam the streets freely. Unless we want to lose another generation to the flannel shirt and oily hair crew, we should end the madness now.

I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, of things we should ban. This is only a start. If we're looking to stamp out freedom in our time - remember, good Americans these days HATE freedom, just like our president does - a smoking ban is one good place to start.

But you'll have to pull my cigarette out of my cold, dead hands first.

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