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.