Nanny State Strikes Hometown, USA

The City of Marietta, Georgia, a northwest suburb of Atlanta just up the street from my hometown of Smyrna, Georgia, has earned two gold, Nanny-state stars.  The Marietta City Council has just voted to ban smoking in the town square, Glover Park.  Henceforth, any poor sap who might still be harboring under the illusion that he lives in a free country, and makes the mistake of lighting a cigarette, cigar or even a “weed,” in the great outdoors that might also happen to be within the confines of the town square, can be arrested and fined $500.  One freedom-loving council member, patting herself on the back for this all-American action to outlaw yet another vestige of individual freedom, pronounced herself “pleased” and expressed hope that the ban would soon be extended to all parks in the city.  In a spectacular display of scientific knowledge, another city council member “applauded” his vote to ban smoking in the outdoor park because, in his view, the park constituted a “confined area.” 

Such apparently un-American and dangerous activities as children skating or riding bicycles in the park, are already prohibited (heaven forbid a child might want to actually have fun roller skating with their parents in a public park).  Large, black, visitor-unfriendly  signs warning against such un-wholesome activities already are posted around the park’s perimeter.  No doubt, the offense of smoking will soon be added to signage containing the growing list of criminal behavior in the area.

As part of its Nanny-state ”two-fer,”  Marietta also has decided to install surveillance cameras in some parks.  While illicit sexual activity reportedly has been a problem in some of the city’s parks, the council, in true, modern-day fashion, decided that simply enforcing the laws against such improper public behavior would not suffice, and opted instead for the remedy of placing everyone who might choose to enter the public park for a private moment, under digital-camera surveillance.  Of course, if a surveillance camera just happens to catch someone lighting up, or skating, well .  .  .  they were warned.

97 comments Add your comment

Michael

July 17th, 2009
7:05 am

Good for them. I hope many more cities follow in there footsteps. Smoking does just as much harm second hand as to the smoker. Though I believe in personal freedoms I do not feel those freedoms can come at the harm to other people.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 17th, 2009
7:10 am

The only people that smoke any more are the tattooed and toothless.

This is just a way to keep them out of sight back in their trailers, and off the streets.

Caveman

July 17th, 2009
7:21 am

THe nanny state lovers might as well ban cars next since they put out more carcinogenic smoke than any twenty smokers.
Smoking should be encouraged since non-smokers incure more health care costs over a lifetime. Medicare and social security would both be in the red without smokers too.
But let’s keep pretending that cigarettes are evil, it the PC thing to do.

Whatever

July 17th, 2009
7:40 am

Michael – It is that statement right there that opens the door to government rule in everything. “Though I believe in personal freedoms I do not feel those freedoms can come at the harm to other people.” Spoken like a true political person who wants power. I’m just out to “save” you, so I need as much control as possible to do that.

What about the freedom of others not to be around the smoker? Or not to go to events in the square because people smoke? And what about the loud music played at concerts or events in the square? Don’t you know that’s bad for your hearing? Better ban that too!

It would be one thing if a smoker was breaking into your house and smoking in your room, but being in an open area and claiming it was infringing on your rights? Really? And having the enforcement of law behind making it “illegal”? Wow…watch out, it is only the beginning.

Why do you think that people like our current Congress and Obama can go on and on about this nonsense of global warming, tax you billions of dollars to start a plan that won’t even lower the temperature of the globe? And why do you think they will soon be able to tell you how far you can drive, before you’ll have to pay more money that is. It is all a big grab of power and money and it is all in the name of “Though I believe in personal freedoms I do not feel those freedoms can come at the harm to other people.”

We open a very slippery slope when we let so many other people decide what “harm” can be defined as and utilize that “harm” to restrict the actions of others.

Willis

July 17th, 2009
7:46 am

If I’m sitting in the park and some ignoramus comes close to me, lights up a stinking cigar, pipe, or cigarette, why should I have to move in order to escape the stench. Yes, it is a free country supposedly, and that freedom includes my right not to have to smell stench. The ban is good but probably won’t be enforced, just like so many other “laws” that don’t mean anything.

bob

July 17th, 2009
8:02 am

Ask the council if they would rather be locked in a garage for fifteen minutes with a running car or a pipe smoker. Of course everyone knows the car exhaust will kill you but they still have cars by the square. If the council was worried about health, shouldn’t they ban the worst first ?

Rob

July 17th, 2009
8:05 am

I’m OK with smoking in a public park if they will enforce littering laws when they throw their butts on the ground. Park benches (and red lights at intersections) are often littered with them.

Copyleft

July 17th, 2009
8:11 am

Ahh, the freedom to poison your neighbors… can we truly be said to have a nation of liberty when this most precious of rights is trampled?

I wonder how Mr. Barr feels about regulations on dumping industrial waste into community water supplies? Are they a horrid shackle on our freedoms too?

Flip

July 17th, 2009
8:12 am

Willis wrote… “Yes, it is a free country supposedly, and that freedom includes my right not to have to smell stench.”

Would Willis or anyone care to show me specifically where that “right” exists? U.S. or Georgia Constitutions? What law passed by what Congress or Legislature? Which executive order?

dgroy

July 17th, 2009
8:22 am

Bob Barr, a Great American, thanks for bringing this to our attention. Government is intruding way too much in our lives and this is just another example of their foolish laws. We should nip this in the bud (that’s what Barnie would say)by having a great big smoking party in the park and everybody light up and skate or rollerboard around the park. Lets see how many would get arrested. We should protest against such actions/laws that are being passed for frivilous reasons. Rise up.

Jeremy

July 17th, 2009
8:35 am

Flip wrote “Would Willis or anyone care to show me specifically where that “right” exists? U.S. or Georgia Constitutions? What law passed by what Congress or Legislature? Which executive order?”

Fair enough – care to show me where most of things we do and take for granted are specifically outlined within or beyond the basic Bill of Rights? Pretty sure you won’t find the right to smoke anywhere. So what exactly is your point?

Big C

July 17th, 2009
8:36 am

The nanny state all started with seat belts. Uncle Sugar protecting us from ourselves.

Chuck

July 17th, 2009
8:36 am

Dunwoody Park is still a great place for a lunchtimr tryst with the one you love

retiredds

July 17th, 2009
8:49 am

Bob, while you’re at it how about a Nanny prize to Sonny Perdue and the GA legislature. Sonny because he won’t let Georgians vote whether to approve alcohol sales on Sunday because….. he doesn’t believe in it. And the GA legislature which won’t let Georgians vote for or against taxing themselves on transportation. The latter seems to be that since Republicans are against any tax if individual Georgians voted to tax themselves for transportation related issue where does that leave them? But I believe the real issue here is control, neither the Governor nor the legislature want to allow the people of Georgia to decide for themselves whether or not they want to buy alcohol on Sunday or whether or not to tax themselves. So Bob difficult as it may be for you as a conservative how about a Nanny award for Sonny and the legislature. I’ll be waiting …. but I am sure it will be a long time.

zeke

July 17th, 2009
8:49 am

Stupid leftist commies are ruining the USA daily! The Constitution allows us all to be morons, and, those like the Marietta council and a lot of you commenting here, must exercise that freedom daily at the expense of the rest of us!

Akmed Picklesimer

July 17th, 2009
8:50 am

Maybe they should quit calling it a park and rename it a museum.

As a private investigator, Chuck, I can tell you it’s also a great place for photography.

Copyleft

July 17th, 2009
8:51 am

Wow, the desperate-loser namejacker got started early on his admission of defeat!

I accept your surrender, Namejacker. The rabid right loses again because, like 1984/Che/Maniac/Commie, they just can’t THINK.

dj

July 17th, 2009
8:51 am

Personally, I have no problem with people smoking and destroying their bodies. However, they don’t have a right to destroy my body.

My wife and I attended the Stevie Wonder Concert at the Verizon Amphitheater . We had lawn seats and we had to tolerate the smokers all around us. The smokers made our concert experience less than wonderful. Some of us – non smokers – get headaches due to cigarette smoke. My wife and I hate the nasty smoke on our clothes and in our hair. We were looking forward to breathing fresh air and taking in the wonderful music of Stevie Wonder. Unfortunately, we were held hostage by all the inconsiderate smokers all around us.

In a public area, I can walk away from a tobacco user. Unfortunately, smokers tend to follow me when I relocate to other areas of the park. Sure, I have the power to get away from smokers. However, smokers should take hold of their addiction and be considerate of others.

zeke

July 17th, 2009
8:51 am

OK voters in Marietta! Here is a prime reason to term limit these ridiulous kooks by voting them out at the first opportunity! Better yet petition the State Attorny General to have them removed from office!

JF McNamara

July 17th, 2009
8:54 am

I’m with you on this one Barr. I don’t smoke, but I don’t care if others do (so long as they pick up the butts). It’s an open air park, so smoking shouldn’t even be an issue.

As for cameras, sadly, that’s the way we’re headed. The longer I live, the more I think Orwell just had the year wrong…

Jack

July 17th, 2009
8:58 am

Its cool, us smokers will just not be spending our money at dumb a** events in the park anymore, or cobb county for that matter. Hope its keeps some of you non smoking haters who don’t have jobs out of jobs a whole lot longer! GFYS

jeff

July 17th, 2009
9:04 am

Hooray for the parfumitist! Best laugh I’ve had today. Next thing the Nannies will go after is getting rid of all diary and beef products since belching cows contribute 2% of the greenhouse gases that they are so concerned about.

When do the rest of us stop this nonsense and go after the Nannies?

Turd Ferguson

July 17th, 2009
9:18 am

If the smokers are regulated by the gubmint should not the fat people receive the same “fair treatment”? Fatness/gluttony is just as deadly as smoking. And what about the rights of the shoes that are made to be squashed daily by these fatties…do they not have rights also? And what about the squirrels in the park, are they not entitled to a free meal? Butt how might they get this free meal when the fatties refused to give up even a french fry crumb.

And what about the trees? Are then not entitled to their fair share of the carbon monoxide produced by smokers? And what about…

The Snark

July 17th, 2009
9:20 am

Come on Bob, isn’t it about time to put down Newt’s GOPAC memo with the list of nasty words you can use to demean your opponents? You can’t have a genuine civic discussion by putting together a string of meaningless insults like “nanny state.” If you’ve got a point to make, then make it in plain English. I would think that the last election made clear that people have tired of Rove-speak and want real solutions.

[...] Bob Barr says the nanny state has struck his hometown of Marietta. [...]

Brad

July 17th, 2009
9:28 am

DJ, really??? Drama much? 2nd hand smoke outdoors will do you NO harm at all. I’m sure the people next to you were a bit put off by your B.O. and halitosis as well, but I don’t see them trying to ban that… yet. Jeremy, the Bill of Rights doesn’t give us rights; it limits what the state can do. Saving us from ourselves is not one of the state’s jobs. That’s state as in government not state as in the particular state you reside in, btw. Reading these comments has me convinced this country’s as good as done. Both “sides” of the political fence are full of morons who haven’t a clue what the Constitution says. One side would ban public displays of affection and the other would ban anything that makes anyone (except Christians of course) feel bad. Tax us to death to provide for children what their parents should be responsible for – and now providing for those parents as well. Is there a vacant block of land somewhere that we can move to and start over? Here’s the laws – Don’t kill anybody, don’t steal from anybody, don’t physically harm anybody. Do that and you’re in big trouble. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Have fun.

Ron

July 17th, 2009
9:34 am

Michael – you are a cretin! Maybe you should break out your old Mussolini black shirt, since I heard they are coming back into fashion! I have a suggestion – let’s ban all Southern Baptists from Sunday post-church buffet restaurants, since they simply gourge their corpulent “temples of God” once a week after having been fed a healthy dose of spiritual tripe just minutes prior. This way we can put a stop to right-wing obesity and piety at the same time.

It is vapid short-bus rejects such as yourself that are allowing this country to be controlled by the morons that sit on the city council.

Dalton Dukes

July 17th, 2009
9:40 am

Remember, this process began in offices. Then restaurants. Then bars. Now parks. Next will include all of downtown Marietta. Then all of Cobb County. Then all of Georgia. Then total prohibition. It’s called the incremental approach to behavior modification.

I can’t wait to see what they will target next. Exhaust fumes and gasoline fumes are known carcinogens. Sun rays are known carcinogens. Shouldn’t the Marietta council ban the sun downtown? Or at the least, pass a law enforcing citizens to cover themselves completely…long sleeve shirts, wide brimmed hats, no shorts, no sandals, shall be permitted downtown. For the greater good donchaknow!

Now about that water in Marietta. Are there any known carcinogens resulting from the treatment process?

Amazon T

July 17th, 2009
9:41 am

While we’re making laws can we pass a law that gets all the stupid drivers off the roads during rush hour? To Chuck and Akmed…Callaway Gardens beats Dunwoody Park for both.

dj

July 17th, 2009
9:41 am

Please …..Brad… bad breath and body odor has nothing to due with my right to enjoy a music event or taking time from a hectic day to meditate in a quiet and peaceful park without the smell of nasty smoke blowing up my nose.

Besides, if the people were offended by my funk, they have the right to mooooooove away!

Ashley

July 17th, 2009
10:03 am

Thanks Bob, keep up the good work!

PMC

July 17th, 2009
10:15 am

This just illustrates the importance of private property rights and the necessity to own as much of it as one possibly can. Just last week I was in one of the last vestiges of our country where one can actually walk down the street outside with an alcoholic beverage (shocking and offensive I know) It’s amazing how forcing morality on others is more important than freedom to many people in this nation.

PMC

July 17th, 2009
10:17 am

For the record, this has little to do with smoking. Much more to do with personal freedoms.

Copyleft

July 17th, 2009
10:20 am

For the record, this has everything to do with being poisoned by nearby idiots, which has never been a protected right.

Chris Broe

July 17th, 2009
10:32 am

I thought clandestine, hidden cameras were for proving that the nanny is abusing the kids, not so that the nanny can find even more reasons to spank them. There’s something really wrong here. Obama is considering legislation that will ban future Octomoms, (nanny nats), and I would be FOR that bill if it would have prevented the Jonas Brothers.

Turd Ferguson

July 17th, 2009
10:33 am

The left will never get it until the State moves to restrict their access to only 1 BigMac daily or 1 Xanax daily or 1 Valium daily or one daily trip on their Sedway etc…

Ron

July 17th, 2009
10:59 am

Evidently Copyleft was on the same short bus as Michael – brilliant commentary! “being poisoned by nearby idiots…” – That phrase is very much apropos if it is in reference to politicians at the local, state or federal level. Individuals such as yourself are oblivious to the hastened erosion of liberties or the concept of personal accountability. The State has the answers – it is capable of protecting the citizenry from itself – it should feed us, clothe us, and think for us! You are the idiot for abrogating your critical thinking skills and laying them on the altar of stupidity. Go back to sleep for now…

Class of '98

July 17th, 2009
11:03 am

Hey GodHatesTrash…..

Your messiah Barack smokes too.

Bob

July 17th, 2009
11:04 am

As an ex-smoker I can certainly understand restrictions on smoking in certain public venues, but the further restrictions in re to adult only destinations such as bars is simply a move to make life difficult for smokers; to ‘encourage’ them to quit and infringes on the property rights of the owners. The science of second hand smoke; the attribution of extreme danger, i.e., ‘no safe level of exposure’ is simply a lie. Just consider how long it takes [we're talking decades] for an active smoker to develop an illness compared to someone who is exposed, usually for a limited amount of time, to second hand smoke which is highly dilluted. Is it possible that someone might become ill from prolonged exposure [years]? Yes. Just as some people become ill from pollution or exposure to everyday chemicals. But the level of danger is so low that the EPA was forced to cook the books in order to pursue their policy of disinformation thus allowing ignorant public officials to pursue their puritanical and un-American crusade against smokers by outlawing smoking even in outdoor settings. The tobacco companies obfuscated and now the highly funded anti-tobacco movement does the same. The public is manipulated at will. Ultimately, life is messy and you cannot legislate the non-utilitarian qualities out of people. When tolerance and reasonableness wanes, you will invite further regulation and control of your life by folks who enjoy that sort of activity. Ultimately you will not be pleased with the result.

[...] Barr says the City of Marietta has become a nanny-state:The City of Marietta, Georgia, a northwest suburb of Atlanta just up the street from my hometown of [...]

STFU

July 17th, 2009
11:33 am

“The only people that smoke any more are the tattooed and toothless.
This is just a way to keep them out of sight back in their trailers, and off the streets.”

God Hates Trash sounds like some intolerant poser hypocritical nazi POS that needs his teeth kicked in. I’d pay a buck.

Copyleft

July 17th, 2009
11:48 am

Ron: It’s very simple. You have every right to commit slow suicide by whatever means you choose.

You have ZERO right to take anybody else with you, and we’re simply not going to let you, no matter how much you whine about your imaginary “freedom to poison people.”

ExpatJimbo

July 17th, 2009
11:53 am

Yes, those tattooed and toothless smokers. You know, like our Harvard-educated President of the United States and most powerful man in the world.

Can anybody point to a SINGLE case of anybody getting ANY serious illness from second-hand smoke? And I’m not talking about limp-wristed types coughing dramatically.
I’ve never smoked (tried one in high school and it tasted like dog-crap) but some of you sissies are way over-the-top. You don’t deserve the freedom our forefathers DIED for. You weak people cheer the restriction of freedom just because you personally disagree with it. How selfish, petty, and short-sighted.

ExpatJimbo

July 17th, 2009
11:54 am

Actually, Copyleft, you may note that suicide is in fact ILLEGAL. Apparently your government has ownership over your own body.

David S

July 17th, 2009
12:06 pm

This entire fight is the reason why the “public” should not own anything in this country. Just look at virtually every problem we have with regards to use. As soon as the government gets involved, the problem becomes much worse. A privately owned park would have its rules and you could either live with them or leave. You could appeal to the owner, but you could not use the coercive power of the state to FORCE what you want. Time to end our dependence on and love of government

TC

July 17th, 2009
12:09 pm

About 12 years ago we buried my wife’s parents. Her Father died six weeks before her mother. The father did not smoke. Her mother did. Her father died of emphysema. Her mother, lung cancer. The military doctors who treated them both said the father developed his disease because his wife smoked. He died of second hand smoke. Point blank. Period. They they would provide statements to that effect if the family wanted to make a case but we were to devistated by the deaths to do so. If people want to smoke in the park, fine, just make sure they do so with a bag over their heads, or set up smikers tenst for them, because smoke does not stay in the area of the smoker. It drifts into everyones lungs. As for the argument that cars cause more problems…we need to work on that too. Two wrongs do not make a right.

ExpatJimbo

July 17th, 2009
12:09 pm

Gorilla Glue, I’m not a fan of Obama either, but what impeachable offense has he committed? And “jive-talking”? Did you just step out of a racist time-capsule from the 1970s? Surely even a moron like yourself can agree that your current president is much more articulate and well-spoken than your previous one.

Fran

July 17th, 2009
12:12 pm

Curious that cancer and emphysema rates have gone up since all of these smoking bans have been enacted. How in the world did people survive back in the days when you could smoke in planes, hospitals, ballgames, etc?

TC

July 17th, 2009
12:18 pm

To Fran
“How in the world did people survive back in the days when you could smoke in planes, hospitals, ballgames, etc?”

They didn’t. They died. We just were not tracking those deaths as being smoking related back then.

bobfromCanton

July 17th, 2009
12:21 pm

It is sad that people don’t look any farther than the actual thing that is being made a crime. Since that is their pet peeve it is ok. For instance, how soon will it be before eating too much fat is a crime. Imagine walking thru the square and being hauled away because you are too fat and should not be eating that ice cream cone! The Nanny state is headed in your favorite food or habit’s direction. Just wait and see. I remember when you had the right to not wear a seat belt, we still had metal dashes in cars and no ABS, no air bags, etc. America wake up, wait… it is already too late!