Tuesday, October 31, 2006

You're missing the point

My Dad left a lengthy comment on my last post about the upcoming voting issues. Since voting day is only a week away I thought I'd post again about this topic. My dad made some points I will be talking directly about, so if you are lost go read his comment so you'll know what I'm talking about.

I think it's funny that my Dad and others sharing his views are choosing to ignore the fact that what they are saying is almost supporting the other side of the argument. You have the choice to go or not to go to places that allow smoking. That choice has been around forever. I'm not imposing my beliefs on anyone when I acknowledge that we are a lazy society who wants someone else to make our decisions for us so we don't have to be bothered. You are not now, and you never have been forced to smell someone else's smoke. [I'm not talking about incidental smoke you may encounter b/c of the direction of the wind. If we were talking about that then we need to acknowledge that a single city-transit bus emits more carcinogen toxins per air density volume than 100,000 cigarettes.] You want what you want and you don't care who you bother. Funny, that's the same thing you're accusing smokers of isn't it?

Lets talk about smoking in public places. My father wants us to feel sorry for him that he gets sick when he smells smoke. Fine, I feel sorry for you. So did politicians when they banned smoking over 12 years ago in two of the three places he mentioned. In Ohio, Public Service buildings haven't allowed smoking since 1994. A very mute point Dad. And as for restaurants, well lets talk about that!

(I borrowed someone's research for this next part. Thanks Mark.) Here in Ohio, approximately 23% of adults smoke tobacco. That's just a bit more than 1 in every 5. In other words, smokers are outnumbered 4 to 1. In each of Ohio's eight major city/metropolis regions, there is on average 36,000 private businesses, of which 141 allow smoking. So more than 99% of all businesses are 'smoke free,' and the 23% of the populace that smokes can do so in .004% of public places. As for restaurants, more than 2000 are 'smoke free,' while 6 permit smoking. [These figures are pre-the ban on smoking in Columbus.] So the 23% of the populace that smokes can do so in .003% of all restaurants. In other words Dad, I'm pretty sure your favorite pizza dive will be safe to enter.

Despite what you are screaming, you are NEVER forced to participate in my stupidity! That's the beauty of freedom, you hold in your hands the power to make change. And I don't mean by voting yes on these issues. 'Cause lets be honest, are you really making an informed decision or are you just going along with the majority who frankly don't really care too much about the question? Like I've said so many times now, if you are dissatisfied with a business and what takes place there, tell the proprietor. Enough people do that, and the changes will be made. If enough people don't complain, then it must not be a big problem, and your issue will remain. You'll have to find another place to patronize. You know, the old-fashioned way to do things!

About this not being about freedom, you should do a little more studying before you attempt to declare fact. This IS in fact about freedom, yes even freedom on my own property. If my, or my friends porch or living area [including porches, patios, gardens, pavilions, gazebos, picnic tables, or any other place that can accommodate 2 or more people, which is considered a family] is within a certain distance of someone else's living area [same parameters,] under Issue 5 I would in fact be banned from smoking there. Make sure you read up before you make your arguments related to the issues.

One more thing Dad, you are contradicting yourself by saying you wouldn't mind separate rooms for smoking customers, not just a "half-wall." So are you saying you actually aren't for either of the two issues on the ballot, you're just against the ways that smoking sections are set up in the restaurants you frequent? I don't mean to pick at you, but that is exactly what I've been talking about; this issue is more about laziness than smoking. You actually admit you don't care about public smoking, you just care about it in your general vicinity. Like I began this post, you are making some really good arguments for the other team!

In conclusion I'd like to borrow another man's words, "...I am convinced that securing freedom and human liberty for us all is far more important than the forcible imposition of any one man's values, or any number of people's values, even my own, upon the rest of us, no matter how strongly held their convictions." And just for the record, I am not a regular smoker and when I do smoke it is not in public places. Don't you guys love my Dad? He brings out the best in me!


Blogger Papa D said...

Thanks for the compliment about bringing out the best in you. Let me point out, though, some fatal flaws in your research and argument about "telling the proprietor". First, I was here before the ban in Columbus and smoking in restaraunts was a serious problem. Telling the proprietor was a moot point since most of these places are run from a far off corporate office somewhere by people who care ONLY about the bottom line. The ban has caused nearly NO hardship on the vast majority of these places since they are still in business doing quite well.

Let me be clear - I am a dyed in the wool lover of freedom. My argument is not that I want to deny anyone anything, but that some common sense be applied when it concerns something as dangerous and deadly as second hand smoke. I would apply the same common sense to guns, large hunting knives, dynamite, bombs and bomb making equipment, illegal drugs and even legal ones. Common sense says these things can be used to cause destrustion and mayhem when allowed to get into the wrong hands or when used in the wrong places, and therefore we place safeguards on these things.

Does this impede your freedom? Yes it does, but we choose to sacrifice our freedoms for the common good. The same thing has happened (or is supposed to be happening) since 9/11 in airports. Nutcase terrorists would like us to not impose on their freedom to blow us up, but we stop that kind of thing because it is the right thing to do.

When it comes to smoking, second hand smoke is a proven killer. It's drift patterns in restaraunts is unpredictable and random, and therefore needs to be completely confined so as to not damage the lungs of unsuspecting people who don't even know it's there. I'm not bemoaning my sorry excuse for a sensitive tummy; rather, I am simply stating the truth that the VAST majority of corporately owned restaurants, if allowed to do what they want, would totally ignore the whole issue and just make money however they could and public health be damned. You know this as well as I do - by and large, with a few notable exceptions, they just don't care! there is more fuss about transfat in your KFC than there is about having your dinner spoiled by someone else's "exercise of freedom", if you know what I mean.

Yes, I am a man who loves freedom and would fight to preserve it if necessary, even from my wheelchair. But this is NOT about freedom, it is about public health and corporate greed, and therefore should be addressed in a public forum.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Thank you for proving my point. As I stated in the stats, non-smokers are a 4 to 1 majority in Ohio. Lazy attitudes like yours are exactly why those corporate heads act the way they do. If they lost four fifths of their business, I guarantee you they would change their policies. But no one takes the time or energy to care anymore. Remember the boycott on Pepsi in the 80's, worked didn't it? It would work in 2006 too, but we're all too lazy.

You keep using some pretty evil things to parallel smoking. All of those 'killers' you named are in fact dangerous. But we are no more voting to make you smoke two packs a day as we are making you light a bomb. This is not a vote to make you smoke or keep you from smoking. It's a vote to allow you to if you want to. Period.

As for corporate heads not caring about anything but money, you again are proving my point. If you, me, and the other 2 out of 5 people who don't smoke stopped eating at any given restaurant, it wouldn't be about them damning the public health. They would be closed. So if they truly do only care about money, then you will be fine eating out whenever you want to. Your 'safe' air will be saved. The numbers don't lie. See what I mean?

This is about freedom and lazyness pure and simple. The only thing I'm hoping for is that the same lazyness that people are exhibiting in their attitudes towards smoking will relay to the polls next week. 'Cuz we are outnumbered 4 to 1! :-)

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on a somewhat tangential note: i can completely relate to your statement saying that your dad brings "the best" out of you. i think most of us can say that our parents just know the right buttons to press. =P

Back to the original topic - everyone will believe what they believe, no matter "right" or "wrong". Frustrating, just a TAD (haha), but is it the end of the world, no. =)

7:52 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Well, I am simple minded. I don't deny it. But...I am proposing that along with a smoking ban that restaurants quit high calorie, high fat foods, sodas, desserts, etc., because obesity is killing america. And, I can't enjoy my meal if I have to watch someone dying of obesity.

8:18 PM  

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