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Attention citizens! You will enforce this no-smoking law!

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posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 06:51 AM
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So, by now we've all heard about the new smoking ban that is going into effect in NYC within the next few months. (See this thread: New York City Council Votes To Ban Smoking In Parks,)

And the other day, I posted another social issues story, that resulted in a pretty decent discussion that, as it turns may have been a bit prescient here: Smoking and Pumping Gas. In it, I faced a dilemma about confronting someone who was putting peoples' lives in danger about smoking at the gas pump. The dilemma here is probably worse—confronting people when there is no imminent threat.

And now, as the plot thickens, we have this, another and even more critical social issue: M ayor Bloomberg says citizens, not busy NYPD will enforce smoking ban at public beaches, parks. I hadn't seen this story when I posted mine, but now sure wish I had. Huge thanks to my friend libertygal for pointing this out to me and allowing me to post this story.


"The police will not be enforcing this. That's not going to be their job," Bloomberg told a caller to his WOR-AM radio show. "This is going to be enforced by public pressure."

The mayor said cops already don't enforce the law against smoking in playgrounds, and they're too busy fighting crooks and terrorists to start cracking down on park smokers, too.

"On the beaches there's some Parks Department people" to make New Yorkers comply with the new law, Bloomberg said. "But mainly it's just everybody's going to turn to you and say, 'Hey, you shouldn't be smoking.' And you know, most people listen to that."

Really, Mayor Bloomberg? Most people listen to that? Oh boy.


“Could you put it out please?”

“I’ll put it out,” he conceded. A minute went by. And another.

“When I’m done with it,” he said.

Yes, most people listen to that.


Guess we should have seen this coming though. Many people probably missed this other bit of reporting from the NYTimes about the experiment: When Citizens (Gasp) Are the Smoking Police


Still, said Norman Siegel, the civil liberties lawyer, the most likely reaction will be “go to hell, or stronger language.” However, Mr. Siegel hastened to say, it is a common misconception that civil libertarians should be on the side of smokers.

“There is no constitutional right to smoke,” he said. “People have asked me whether we can bring litigation to challenge some of these prohibitions. It does not work, because government has general welfare powers to enact legislation affecting people’s health.” So the bottom line, he said, is that making the ban work would indeed be a matter of civility.

Civility. Okay. We're counting on civility from both sides here, both on the part of the smoker and of the person reminding them that it's illegal to smoke.

Frankly, the civil libertarian missed the mark here. The bigger issue here not the health issue. Ifit's an issue of pitting civilian against civilian to enforce a law. The law frowns on vigilantism, but this is okay? All this is is a form of vigilantism. And worse, as it is yet another step in creating a society that very few will want to live in, where people rat each other out—become snitches.

Yes, there are bigger issues to consider here. How far will most people go? Will they always be civil? They're counting on civility on both sides of the issue, from both the smoker and the person confronting the smoker.

Does any confrontation of this type have the potential to escalate to the non-civil point and maybe even into physical harm? You betcha.


New York is a city where people learn the most exquisite dances of accommodation to their eight million neighbors. ... Yet it is also a place where neglecting to say “excuse me” can prompt a full-throated lecture on manners, and where road rage on the Cross Bronx Expressway can all too easily lead to violence. All of which raises the question, how reasonable is it to deputize New Yorkers and give them one more reason to confront one another?

So how many people are actually going to be willing to confront smokers? How many will do it in a courteous way? And what do we do when one person's courteous is not always received that way? And worse, how many might do it in a non-civil tone, resulting in actions that the police will have to be called for? I don't know. There's a lot to think about here. And I'm sure there will be a lot of astute comments here, as there were in my other thread.

Once again, I think it's one thing to pass laws that are unpopular. Hypocritical laws at that. But quite another and quite over the line to expect other citizens to enforce them, to maybe even expose them to physical harm and danger in doing so. Way over the line.


edit on 2/17/2011 by ~Lucidity because: fixed some formatting issues.




posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 07:44 AM
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This is really ludicrous. I despise smoking on public beaches, I have seen a beach ruined by butts before, kind of had to stake out your area and 'sweep' it, then we put down towels to make double sure.

But I wont be confronting anyone directly, I don't want to get insanely attacked by some entitled freak who feels it is their right to ruin my day at the beach with their nasty stench. I go passive aggressive in these situations, if leaving is not an option. Like I will gab real loud, laugh a lot, spray my Charlie perfume, that sort of thing. hey whats good for the goose and all.

Why make a law if it is not going to be enforced? Waste of tax payers dollars.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 08:04 AM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 

Appeasement, maybe? The statement the mayor made can really be taken two ways, can't it? At least that's how I interpreted it. My take on it was, okay, okay we'll pass the law to shut you people up, but we're not wasting time enforcing it.

Haha@spraying your Charlie. I think some smokers really do make a mess and should be more careful about where they put their butts. They give all smokers a bad name. Plenty of other smokers, however, do clean up behind themselves and are actually thoughtful and courteous about where they do choose to smoke, and will typically honor a polite request if there can be a compromise. Also it's ludicrous to not allow smoking outside, unless of course someone abuses it as you've indicated.

Cigarettes are legal still, and it's hypocritical to sell them, expect to reap the profits and tax revenues, and then tell people they can't smoke anywhere. Smoking's bad for you and others, people should know better, blah blah. This argument can go on and on and on. Punishing the smokers over and over and over again and not going after the corporations who make this poison just seems stupid. And sort of reflective of this law in many ways. Okay, okay, we'll try to appease everyone.


+7 more 
posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 08:07 AM
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I mainly see a small step in the direction of big brother style "citizens turning in friends, parents, and children". Get us used to the idea, one small step at a time.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 08:32 AM
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reply to post by ossminid
 

Yes. I know many people will see it this way.

The city's stance on it doesn't seem to me to be as much a law encouraging Nazi-like snitching—it's more a statement saying, "Okay okay we'll pass the law to get some people to shut up about it but we're not going to enforce it because it's a ridiculous law and if you want to enforce it your on your own. You guys duke it out."

In other words, they're throwing their hands up in the endless argument and letting the people enforce what they fought for. However, they may be encouraging some unwise actions. Some will not think of the danger and may get hurt. Others will escalate and take this to courts. But here again, it becomes their personal choice and responsibility. Slippery slopes all around, and as you said, something to be vigilant about for sure.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 08:57 AM
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I am a moderate smoker, and I love smoking...

But, you know what? I love democracy much more, and if the people around me democratically elect an official that bans smoking in public, I will comply.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:09 AM
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reply to post by peck420
 

This is probably less democracy than a tenacious, focused group of people who kept applying the pressure until someone caved and a government that just finally "resolved" the issue to get rid of it. There are probably more adult and intelligent ways to solve these kinds of disputes, but that's probably a whole other discussion.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:09 AM
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Welcome to 1984.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by peck420
I love democracy much more, and if the people around me democratically elect an official that bans smoking in public, I will comply.



Democracy sucks for reasons such as this. This is why why have a republic and a constitution: so that the majority cannot destroy the rights of the minority.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:26 AM
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Hmm… let me see the hands. Who here would tell a complete stranger in a park in New York City that he has to put out his cigarette?

Yeah that is what I thought…

If the police are too busy to enforce all the new laws government is making maybe that should tell you something Bloomberg!
edit on 2/17/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:26 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 

And also allows a minority to destroy the rights of the majority? Double-edged sword either way you choose to look at it.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by ~Lucidity
And also allows a minority to destroy the rights of the majority? Double-edged sword either way you choose to look at it.


There is no right of the majority to impose on the minority.
___



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:39 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 

No right. Exactly. Yet it happens.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:43 AM
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The Nazis done something similar with smoking I believe in Germany I know that brings up the whole Godwins law thing but it is actually true. I find it strange smokers are singled out to such a degree lately we all know smoking is a bad choice but ultimately in public they are only harming themselves.

I bet one car puts out more pollution in a week than a smoker would in their lifetime.

Just for the record I'm not a smoker but I don't look down on smokers either everyone has their own vices.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 09:44 AM
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Originally posted by ~Lucidity
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 

No right. Exactly. Yet it happens.



I don't really follow your contention here. I spoke against the dangers of mob-rule democracy: the whims of the majority imposing a lack of freedom on the minority. I don't necessarily see the existence of the minority "mob" imposing lack of freedoms on a majority. The role of our republic is (or should be) to preserve freedoms, not bend to wishes of the majority.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 10:04 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 

I understand what you're saying, but in this case, my contention is, that in the story you're commenting on, we just might have a case of bending to the wishes of a focused group in the minority applying pressure to the point that it effects people in the majority. The fact that they're tenacious, organized, and vocal got the city to this point, Care to try to explain that one as it relates to your statement about what is actually a democratic republic? Is freedom being preserved here?




edit on 2/17/2011 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 10:07 AM
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Conversely, if smokers value what they perceive are rights, then why are they not equally as vocal and tenacious in protecting them?



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 10:17 AM
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Still, said Norman Siegel, the civil liberties lawyer, the most likely reaction will be “go to hell, or stronger language.” However, Mr. Siegel hastened to say, it is a common misconception that civil libertarians should be on the side of smokers.

“There is no constitutional right to smoke,” he said. “People have asked me whether we can bring litigation to challenge some of these prohibitions. It does not work, because government has general welfare powers to enact legislation affecting people’s health.” So the bottom line, he said, is that making the ban work would indeed be a matter of civility.


Last I checked cigarettes are still LEGAL; so until you change that we do in fact have a constitutional right to smoke.

The founding fathers smoked, I'm sure if they didn't want us smoking they would have written something about it into the constitution rather than be concerned with real issues: like freedom, liberty, and not being an as* towards your fellow Americans.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 10:32 AM
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reply to post by hotbakedtater
 

Good question. I haven't been following these battles too closely for a long time now and have pretty much chalked this entire smoking issue up to it being a whole series of hypocritical and illogical appeasements and compromises. Both sides battle hard. One wins some battles; the other wins others. Eventually it may come to a head, but probably not until the corporations' rights are threatened. The people are easier to pick on and get around.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 10:33 AM
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“There is no constitutional right to smoke,” he said. “People have asked me whether we can bring litigation to challenge some of these prohibitions. It does not work, because government has general welfare powers to enact legislation affecting people’s health.” So the bottom line, he said, is that making the ban work would indeed be a matter of civility.


While there is no "constitutional" right to smoke,there is also no "constitutional" right to health.(just ask the FDA)


It's interesting that the FDA is implicitly acknowledging that there is a connection between food and health, though they deny that one has a right to either freedom of food or pursuance of bodily and physical health.


www.gaia-health.com...

Personally I feel you don't have the right to be an A** just because someone is doing something you don't like.

If someone is smoking in a public park then get up wind of them and the problem is solved.

The sheer stupidity of someone that lives in a large city like NYC thinking that someone smoking a cigarette in a park is going to have an impact on their health more than the few million cabs exhaust or the air pollution from factories is amazing to me.
edit on 17-2-2011 by Adamanteus because: (no reason given)



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