Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Conundrum Of Sorts

I really need to get better at writing down everything that pops in my head.  There were three or four good topics in my head earlier this week, and now, they have all left the building.  At least all the good details have gone.  There's lots of interesting news floating around, from the fight over state employee unions in Wisconsin and other states, to the spreading revolts in the Middle East, to the fierce winter weather across the U.S. But I think I'll work the remains of one of those ideas, instead. 

One of those thoughts bouncing around my head was aggravated by a couple of recent trips to some of the casinos in the area.  It was interesting, because it seems that casino floors are the only smoker-friendly places left in the U.S.  There aren't thick clouds of smoke floating over all the machines and tables, but the places do stink and irritate some folks, including my ex-smoker self.  I've noticed after being off the smokey treats for over a decade now, on those few occasions I visit those smoker friendly areas, I usually leave with something funky in my sinuses, and often an annoying headache.

Now, being the good, capitalist minded conservative that I am, I don't really care for the plethora of anti-smoking laws that are covering the land, or the insane added taxes on tobacco.  Neither seems to be having any significant affect on smoking, nor do they do anything to lay the personal responsibility for one's choices on the smoker or give the nonsmoker the power of the pocketbook to avoid smokers.  My answer is simply get nonsmokers together to let these various establishments (not just casinos, bars, and clubs, but also apartments and hotels) know that if they want our money, they need to provide us a better option.than the one glass enclosed slot machine room I saw in one casino or "non-smoking" rooms, apartments or rentals that are not enforced or were smoking for thirty years prior.  If we don't have the economic pull to effect the change, or inspire someone to start their own, smoke free establishments then that's the way the cookie crumbles.

The purported motivation behind all the pushes in anti-smoking laws and ludicrous costs added to tobacco is to prevent both smokers from hurting themselves by smoking, and of seemingly greater importance to some,  preventing nonsmokers from suffering damage from secondhand smoke.  The evils of secondhand smoke are shouted from the mountaintops, repeated from public service announcements, and even included on some of the surgeon general warnings on the cigarettes themselves.  Parents are lambasted for smoking in the home where their children are because of the importance of keeping children safe from the actions of the adults.  

I know, like everybody else, that secondhand smoke does not do any good to those around it, especially the young, developing respiratory system of children.  Arguing that is not the point of this rant.  The point that I'm aiming at is my amazement that many of these people who are hooting and hollering about how horrible smoking around anybody is dangerous and damaging and needs to be regulated and outlawed, tend to support abortion rights.  Smoking and abortion are both, in some arguments, about the person's right to do what they desire with and to their own bodies.  Yet, for some reason, to many people, smoking, which is not a guaranteed killer to those around it, or even to the smoker (how old was George Burns again?) must be screamed about and outlawed, while abortion, which is a guaranteed killer, must be defended tooth and nail.  Personally, this is a very interesting contradiction, and one I would love to hear a good explanation from any of these folks.   

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