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

Fran

July 17th, 2009
12:31 pm

TC, my 91-year-old mother and 89-year-old father might disagree with you. (He smokes about $300 worth of cigars every week, by the way, and has done so for 70 years).
Also, why are lung cancer rates higher here in the US than they are in places like Japan, where people still smoke religiously?
Trust me, I’m not one of these whackos who doesn’t believe tobacco is harmful (inhaling anything other than air is not natural and potentially dangerous, obviously). I just think the “threat” is completely overblown, there are many more factors contributing to it (like the toxic pharmaceuticals we’re encouraged to become addicted to, or the steroids and chemicals in our food) and, more importantly, it’s NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS!

Ron

July 17th, 2009
12:32 pm

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.”

CopyLeft – you astound me with your insight! You must have a GED. Those of us who are still sentient will not abject imbeciles such as yourself take us along the path of lunacy while you exercise your “freedom to poison people” with ignorance.

Try again moron!

Copyleft

July 17th, 2009
12:55 pm

Glue-insky or whatever your current name is…

So you concede you can’t actually point to an impeachable offense–you just want Obama impeached because you dislike his politics.

Hmm, what’s the word for that? Oh, yes–STUPID. Suck it up, loser.

Chris Broe

July 17th, 2009
1:02 pm

The AJC reported that a man used a chain saw to foil an attack by a mountain lion.

Note: This is why the ancient Romans fed Christians to the lions, and not lumberjacks.

Keith

July 17th, 2009
1:09 pm

As a Libertarians Bob should know that “your rights end where mine begin”. You can smoke anywhere you want as long as no one else has to inhale or smell it. Thank you Marietta! All you smokers can go back home and close the door and smoke your brains out.

TC

July 17th, 2009
1:30 pm

There is a concept in civil society that says you have a right to swing you arm, unless it connects with my face. I feel that way about smoking. You have a right to smoke, until your smoke reaches my lungs. I have no issues with smokers inhaling, just exhaling where others have to breathe. In addition to my in-laws, I have buried my father and three aunts. All smokers. All died from lung cancer. None of the remaining siblings smoke, and they have now outlived the smokers by 20 years or more. Smoking is one of the reasons I do not believe in universal health care. If you are going to poison yourself, then don’t ask me to pay for it when you are in the hospital for cancer treatment. I feel the same way about alcoholism and obesity. But at least with the latter two, they keep their addictions to themselves, they do not force me to eat or drink. Smokers are inconsiderate and pass their addiction around. Imagine, you are sitting in the park having a nice lunch and a bulimic comes over to your picnic and throws up on your meal. Having smoke intrude in on a nice park experience is exactly the same unpleasant thing, but worse because the smokers “vomit” actually invades other peoples bodies.

Bob

July 17th, 2009
2:02 pm

Actually if you want to continue the “swing your arm” argument, you can argue that everyone’s actions effect everyone else. The alcoholic, the drug addict, the obese person, anyone who indulges in unhealthy practices, as we are increasingly told, costs society in productivity and in health care costs. If you don’t buy energy efficient appliances or use mass transit you are damaging my environment creating pollution such as ozone and small diameter particulates from a variety of sources that reach my lungs and has a real effect on health. If you like, there is no end to it. It is a matter of tolerance. There are many things I don’t like but I choose to let pass because we can’t live in a world where everything we don’t like can be banned. The nuisance of tobacco smoke has been in decline for quite a while. The prevalence of smoking has dropped markedly in the past few decades and the areas in which you can be exposed to smoke has as well. A zero level of tolerance isn’t useful to you or to your fellow citizens.

Ron

July 17th, 2009
2:15 pm

The systemic issue has nothing to do with smoking, or any other “vile and offensive” activity – get off of your pathetic soap boxes. The danger at hand is having the state (in all of it’s manifestations) gaining more control of our daily lives – what you can say or can’t say, do or not do, etc. Personally, I would like to see stupidity stamped out in our lifetime – it is most assuredly rampant considering some of the pathetic drivel being thrown in some of these posts!

marleneb

July 17th, 2009
2:41 pm

Ah yes. Freedom from bicycles, roller skates, smokers. Comming soon, freedom from ice cream, apple pie, roasted pork. Ah yes, freedom for only the nanny mob in the good old U.S.S.A.

cr747

July 17th, 2009
2:52 pm

Why is the president allowed to smoke in the rose garden at the white house? Scared his mother in law my spank him if caught?

JW

July 17th, 2009
2:53 pm

Bob, why don’t you shave off that goofy mustache?

truckerjay

July 17th, 2009
3:03 pm

I’ll mark that place off as a stop I won’t be making anymore. You wanna be a nanny? I’ll spend my dollars elsewhere.

Ron

July 17th, 2009
3:23 pm

Evidently the likes of TC and CopyLeft welcome the dawn of modern-day fascism or the “Corporate State” – and why not! We now have Government Motors, bailed-out banks, an out of control Federal Reserve, government eavesdropping, ad infinitum ad nauseum. Keep drinking the koolaid, because you have now gone “Full Tard!” Neither of you mental midgets understand the consequences of heading down the road to embrace Big Brother.

TC

July 17th, 2009
3:43 pm

For me, this is not about a corporate state. My comments come from personally having lost loved ones from smoking and one in particular from second hand smoke. I have not called anyone names or said anything other than I have personal experience of smoking being invasive and dangerous to people other than the smoker. I am not on any soap box, but in a very real and personal space. If I were to get a soap box, I might point out the irony of people like Mr. Barr and others being up in arms about the government telling them what they can and cannot do in public, yet they are the very same people who want the goverment to get totally involved in the contract between two people that is marriage or tell women what they can do with their own bodies. It does not get any more invasive than that, yet I do not expect Mr. Barr or people like Ron to be in the forefront of true individual freedom from government intrusion into personal lives. When someone tells you who you can and cannot marry, can and cannot leave your children or property to or what you can do with your own body, including who has the right to bury it, THAT is BIG BROTHER.

retiredds

July 17th, 2009
3:47 pm

cr747, the president can smoke in the Rose Garden because he is the president. The habit is deplorable and is not a good health example.

Jefferson

July 17th, 2009
3:52 pm

What political party do the “nannies” belong to? I’m betting “R”, but could belive different.

Ron

July 17th, 2009
3:52 pm

TC – again, you miss the big picture. Personally, I don’t care who marries who, or if a woman chooses to have an abortion – it is none of my business, nor is it the business of the government. I don’t care if someone snorts coke, rolls a fattie, or rides the whit pony – it’s your body. Dimwits such as the laughable city council members will not be satisfied until all of your activities are monitored for “moral” correctness. This scary mentality is a by-product of living in a state overrun with bible-thumping fanatics.

Copyleft

July 17th, 2009
3:56 pm

Ron, that would be a compelling argument–IF smoking had no effect on anyone around you.

This is not the case. See why that makes a difference?

marleneb

July 17th, 2009
3:59 pm

Just like the global warming scare tactics as I sit here in mid-July with temps in the 50’s and lower, that puff of smoke will kill anyone within a park’s breadth. Have people really become this stupid, or is it really minority population eradication? One can only pray that these new eradicators will get their due, just like Hitler did!

Ron

July 17th, 2009
4:16 pm

Copyleft – it does not make a difference in the OUTDOORS. Eating bacon burgers each day will kill you – and your kids more readily. The FACT is that people still have the privilege of stupidity – which is not really a bad thing, because it might have a positive Darwinian effect.

Marleneb – people have truly become this stupid. The gene pool has been diluted to the extent that only guppies prevail!

DeKalb Conservative

July 17th, 2009
4:56 pm

Sweet! One less place smokers can smoke equals less cigarettes they will smoke, equals less packs sold, equals less tax revenue….

Oops… unintended effect?

[...] Source [...]

electrician

July 17th, 2009
6:18 pm

THE ALCOHOL BAN IS NEXT!! iI cant wait until I no longer have to share the road with even one alcohol user thats had even ONE drink!. I’ll feel so much safer driving on our roads ,and so will all of you.LEGAL PRCEDENCE IS GREAT AND POWERFUL..THANK YOU NANNY!.

cr747

July 17th, 2009
6:53 pm

Retiredd, you hit the nail on the head, he is the pres, or is supposed to be. I could think of a lot of other names to call him, but I won’t. It seems to me like a double standard here,lt’s ok for the pres. but don’t you dare light up out there on the back side of my ranch. I might send some smoke from California to DC. I don’t smoke but I don’t have a problem with people that do. Use to be able to smoke on a plane, use to choke me, give me a headache, but I didn’t complain about it. Grew up around lt, still alive and going every day without a problem. They are talking about stopping smoking in the US service, guess they are afraid smoking will kill them before a sniper will. What a shame, lt’s alright for our young people to get shot trying to protect the US and for the pres. to smoke but our service personal can’t. Come on there’s something wrong with this picture. I think it’s about time we put someone in the Whitehouse and Washington that care for the people instead of themselves. Go VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric

July 17th, 2009
6:57 pm

Marietta gov. has gone completely mad!!

Baby Buchanon

July 17th, 2009
7:51 pm

Time to outlaw all the liberals. And the gays. And the hypocrites. And all the citizens too damn lazy to work.

Ayn Rand was right

July 17th, 2009
8:02 pm

Keith – as a Libertarian, Mr. Barr knows that we are responsible for ourselves, not others. If you don’t like it, you walk away.

Be careful of what you wish for…remember when the government told us legislating insurance for all drivers would protect us from uninsured drivers. Who has actually been protected by this law? Oh yes, that would be the insurance companies that sell insurance to responsible people at increased rates. Those who didn’t buy insurance before the law, don’t still.

Baxter

July 17th, 2009
9:26 pm

Sadly, I don’t think this has much to do with all of you non-smokers and your right to breath fresh air.

People who do smoke should dispose of their butts properly, but many of them do not–they toss them down with the expectation that someone else will take care of it. Much like so many of the other issues in this country–someone else will be there to take up the slack.

The comment about smokers financing government programs is dead-on. Smokers contribute through taxes a lot of money! But after all, it is all about money.

One has to wonder though, which group will be next?

Bill Kern

July 17th, 2009
10:29 pm

First of all, second-hand smoke is bullsh!t science. Clearly. It’s not real. Stop nodding your heads and agreeing on how dangerous it is just because you don’t like the smell. If you fake-believe it, then the fake scientific study was conducted JUST for people like you. Get a grip. If one of the worst complaints about human behavior is you accidentally getting a whiff of someone’s Winston, consider your life ignorantly blessed.
Secondly, even if it WERE deadly, walking away from someone smoking in an outdoor park is a simple enough way to avoid it without resorting to rewriting the local laws.
But it’s at least a shred more understandable on public property. In private businesses, the government should have no say whatever about smoking. Even the “I don’t want to breathe your crap” argument hits a brick wall when you’re talking about an establishment owned by a private individual. Don’t like it? Withdraw your patronage. Period. No business owner has to make special accommodations for YOU if he doesn’t wish to. This is America, damn it.
You people who want legislation passed in opposition to behavior you find inconvenient make me more sick than any secondhand or firsthand smoke ever can. Your understanding of freedom is a perversion. You will ignorantly lead the march to trample on people’s rights in the name of NOT trampling on people’s rights, and you’re so caught up in the big government paradigm that you don’t even realize it.

Michael H. Smith

July 18th, 2009
7:38 am

It is good to see that no one is getting on a “soap box”. Strange how anyone would get on an Internet blog to air personal views in a rambling round-robin and think otherwise.

It is probably due to people like Bob Barr, who foment liberty and freedom as a cause to defend against the noble vestiges of a restrained government, lest a “subtle tyranny” emerge?

Stranger still, among human behavior disorders, is the acceptance of government being the source and granter of our rights with no evidence natural or otherwise to indicate government ever created one individual. To the contrary, government is endowed by its’ creator, We the People, with its’ endowed rights solely alienable and beholding to us alone.

Indeed Bob Barr the “new order of the ages” has gone awry seeking to restore the old guards and in the process as it seems, common sense has been poured down the drain. The idea that the open areas of a public park is a “confined space” where any potential harm from cigarette smoke would present an “unavoidable public harm” to others evades all sound reasoning that constitutes an issue of public safety concern.
Designated no smoking areas around restrooms, drinking water fountains and trash cans or anywhere the public’s “access is confined” in a public park would rightly serve government’s obligatory duty to protect life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

In keeping with thought and theme, governments are instituted by the people to serve them as individuals. Public surveillance cameras only serve governments that have little interest in “policing the public” via means of lawful indiscriminate public observations to protect life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

We have a Republic, if we can keep it, said Ben Franklin: Accepting the “subtle tyranny” of a “nanny state” government is the best assurance, we shall lose it.

Soap box and all.

Brad Steel

July 18th, 2009
10:33 am

Bob,
This is an innane article about a non-issue that you have tried to twist into a dangerous infringment on our personal liberties! Puh-leez. You’ve shown your delusion by referencing smoking “a weed” and a”vestige of our indiviual freedom.” Uh yeah?

Consider tghis call to action for your moment: Hey everyone, let’s protest by joining the kids in te park who are on “the pot” a go smoke “a weed”. It’s our last vestige of person freedom. Then we can make a hidden-camera video by getting a handie from a meth-homo.

Dre

July 18th, 2009
11:07 am

So you dismiss Mr. Barr’s argument entirely because he’s not up-to-date on marijuana parlance? Seems pretty dumb.

cr747

July 18th, 2009
11:18 am

You people are addressing the wrong person here. Don’t blame Bob Barr, blame the idiots in Washington sitting around with their fingers up their ### and their nose in our (the citizen who put them there) business puffing on their cigs. and spending our tax money on something that’s in left field. Lets do something about it and VOTE the ones guilty, (the Democrats) out, and put our people in. By the way I’m a democrat, but as I have said before, I DIDN”T VOTE FOR ONE. And won’t the next time if they don’t get it right. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!

Vlad the Impaler (of hoes)

July 18th, 2009
11:30 am

The “two parties” are the SAME THING. They sit down together, pick a bunch of meaningless hot-button issues that don’t really affect anything, and choose different sides in those non-issues to have the ignorant masses scratching at each other’s throats. They take turns in power and blame the “other side” for all the problems, and most of you retards fall for it EVERY TIME.
VOTE THIRD PARTY!!

cr747

July 18th, 2009
12:00 pm

Vlad, that’s what I said, vote them out and put someone in for the people. Don’t think I’m a retard yet, or I wouldn’t be flying this 747, possibly over your house.

Brad Steel

July 18th, 2009
3:09 pm

He should “do a google” to get hipped to that, dude.

“Dre” too cool!!!

jt

July 18th, 2009
7:28 pm

Saw a documentary called “Inside Iran” the other night. The Iranian people were smoking anywhere, riding motocycles without helments, and some taxis didn’t even have seatbelts. Their divource rate is less than one percent and family lawyers are rare.

We simply must “free” these oppressed people.

Considering the law mentioned in this column to “protect” citizens from second-hand smoke, typhoid and e-coli have killed thousands. There should be a LAW that mandates hand-washing after every evacuation. Even in your own home.

I am sure the nanny pansy, kenny-G loving, neurotic American metrosexuals would agree.

gloom and doomer

July 18th, 2009
7:50 pm

This will be a moot issue – as will many other far more important issues – when the economy crashes and burns in the 4th quarter and when the dollar is eventually dumped as the world reserve currency.

Besides, being able to handle the smoking issue is about as competent as the self-serving crowd in Marietta government – although not all are – can rise.

Let’s see them solve the real problem of the traffic clusterf*** that is Whitlock as quickly. Then I will be impressed.

Andrew Jason

July 19th, 2009
1:35 am

I can’t stand cigarrettes but there shouldn’t be laws against them. If a smoker is such a jerk as to smoke around strangers in the park who ask him politely not to karma will take over. Don’t worry. Surely there is a law already that applies to someone who is blowing smoke in your face constantly.

Bars and restaurants should be allowed to either be smoking, non smoking, or smoking section restaurants. Leave it up to the owner of the restaurant. It is crazy to ban cigarrettes in bars. People (not me) like to drink and smoke in bars. I can see them banning alcohol next. Alcohol is far more offensive and dangerous than cigarrettes. We need 90% less laws. 99% more freedom. We still have no right to harm someone else or someone else’s property.

If you smoke in the park and blow it in my face then I will ask you nicely to please not do that. If you are a deranged sterno bum I might just hastily walk away. I might call the police not because you are a smoker but because you are harassing (for lack of a better word) me. But there should not be a law against smoking in a park. That is what parks are for among other things.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 19th, 2009
8:24 am

Jt, I don’t think the government should mandate butt-wiping, but decent folks like myself always do it anyway.

Try it. It might feel weird to you, never having done it, but, like you said, it’s healthier.

Vlad the Impaler (of hoes)

July 19th, 2009
11:49 am

excellent post, andrew jason. i have always been weary of the title “lawmaker”- don’t we have enough already?
I’m in the same boat as you- i don’t smoke and i think it’s a nasty, disgusting habit. but i sure as hell don’t want the damn government telling me or anyone else they can’t do it.

Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth

July 19th, 2009
3:56 pm

Yea for the nanny1 She rocks. She overcomes the theocons, the real would-be dictators!

Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth

July 19th, 2009
4:00 pm

Yea for the nanny! Left up to the libertarians, we would indeed be on the road to serfdom! Monopolies, low wages, consumer fraud, health and safety violaitons, maybe child labor and such.

Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth

July 19th, 2009
4:06 pm

Thanks for the nanny! Libertarians would take us onto the road to serfdom- monopolies, low wages, possible child labor and such, consumer neglect, and bad health and safety problems.
Bob, yea to our ACLU! Thanks for your efforts with it1

Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth

July 19th, 2009
4:09 pm

it! Sorry for the typos. Please put pressure on Obama-Biden not to continue Bush-Shrub violations.

Glover Park Fan

July 20th, 2009
1:22 pm

Why do you all assume it’s a liberal/conservative thing? The Marietta City Council is about as conservative as you can get. I don’t appreciate having to endure smoke when the park is crowded. Otherwise I can just move away. Like I would with any other annoyance. It’s a little difficult when the park is crowded for an event.

virgilk

July 20th, 2009
4:58 pm

Since everyone over 30 has been raised around SHS/ETS,and SHS/ETS IS SUPPOSED TO BE SO DEADLY, why are Baby Boomers the longest living of all generations? Why, since smoking has dropped from 54% to 24%, are all the diseases supposedly caused by smoking, on the rise every year? California has the oldest smoking ban and their Asthma rate is 16% and Kentucky has only a 6% rate of Asthma with the highest rate of Smoking? Why do Anti’s still say SHS/ETS KILLS, when the EPA Report they base their statements on was found to be a FRAUD by Federal Judge Osteen and two Congressional Committees?

Why, did the longest/largest studies by the ACS and the WHO find SHS/ETS had no connection to Cancer or Heart Disease? Why are there more than 250 other studies with the same findings?

Why can’t the Anti-smokers find or admit to any of these studies?
Could it be because of the Billions to be made from the sale of Smoking Cessation Products, when their own studies show that quitting Cold Turkey is more effective?
Could it be because Profit is more important to them than Health?
Clearly SHS/ETS is not the Health threat they make it out to be.
So, why are Smokers being treated like Second Class Citizens? This smells like it’s all about smell and discrimination caused by Greed.