Publisher is wrong

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Bob Hale, publisher of the Juneau Empire, is wrong. In my opinion, he wasted a perfectly good My Turn column on Sunday by discussing how bad smoking is. Everyone knows already.

It bothers me that a group of individuals would fight so hard to take away the rights of others. Especially when they justify their reasoning with, "It's for the good of all."

Mr. Hale is obviously not a tobacco supporter, which is understandable given the personal tragedies in his life. However, he implies a smoking ban will help force smokers to quit. It's not that easy. Perhaps his time, and that of the Juneau Clean Air Coalition, would be better spent lobbying against tobacco in Washington rather than forcing local businesses to do your dirty work for you.

Please don't placate me either with your speculation on how business is likely to only be slightly affected with this ordinance. That's inappropriate for someone outside the industry to comment on.

Supporters of this ordinance are so anti-smoking they're willing to take away the rights of others and modify them for their own agenda. This option seems preferred over simply encouraging a voluntary switch to a nonsmoking establishment. Gee, how productive and civil. But that's the problem with socialism. People can't be trusted to share equally.

Mr. Hale is also incorrect in saying we have the right to breathe smoke-free air in private businesses. You should get more familiar with the term "private" before it goes extinct. Juneau is not your personal playground. There's absolutely nothing stopping someone from running a nonsmoking bar in Juneau except for the lack of business to support it.

Evolution takes time. Forcing it makes a mess.

If private businesses can't decide on the smoking dilemma themselves, then what is left? The pillars of our freedom are torn down bit by bit every time government is asked to step in and make decisions for us. I'm not a smoker and I'm against this sort of legislation. Taking away rights certainly isn't what I call progressive, Mr. Hale.

Ahhh, what's a capitalist to do? I suppose I'll lock my doors, board up my windows and huddle in the basement so none of life's potential dangers can hurt me or my feelings. At least then I'll have time to finish reading "Atlas Shrugged" and "1984." I hope they have good endings.

Pete Schneider

Auke Bay



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