I know it sounds incredible to most of you readers out there in the real world, but they still prohibit a lot of silly things in the deep south, ranging from alcohol to sex toys. My local prohibitionists are trying to get more worldly, adding cigars and cigarettes to the list.
While I maintain an apartment in Birmingham (from where I conduct most of my political activities), my main house is in Hartselle, Alabama. Hartselle is a picturesque small town filled with small antique and art shops. We have a nice Italian grill right down the street from us, but we rarely eat there because chianti complements a steak much better than iced tea does — alcoholic beverages are banned in town. Fortunately, Hartselle is bordered by Decatur — which is a larger town and contains my favorite local restaurants, watering holes and hangouts. One would think the people of Hartselle would be smart enough to realize the both the loss of revenue as well as the loss of freedom.
Now a group of people in Decatur are being just as stupid. Some nitwits called “The Coalition For a Smoke Free Decatur” wish to outlaw smoking in my favorite hangouts.
“80 percent of the people in Alabama, according to the latest statistics, do not smoke,” said coalition member Britt Pitts. “So 20 percent of the people are creating the problem.”
Decatur already has laws concerning smoking in public, but the coalition says they are not enforced.
“We know if you smoke, that second hand smoke can create a heart attack, eye problems and breast problems,” said Pitts. “I think it’s a public heath problem and I think it should be eliminated from the city.”
So far, there seems to be little organized resistance, but one man is outspoken on the issue:
“I realize cigarette smokers and cigarettes are politically correct to kick and pick on,” Murdock said. “And no politician wants to stand up and be in favor of it, but someone needs to wake up and smell the roses.”
Murdock thinks without cigarette taxes, Decatur residents will have to pay in other ways to make up that money.
He feels the government needs to focus on other things first.
“Did you realize the worst problem we have in this county is obesity?” Murdock asked. “Maybe the best way to solve that problem is put scales in the check out lines of the grocery store and anybody overweight pays a ten percent tax.”
When we moved to Hartselle, I promised my family that I wouldn’t get involved in local politics. I’m now considering breaking that vow and giving Murdock a call.
Graphic credit and explanation here. Additionally, we picked on WHNT (they are the text and video source for the quotations in this posting) the other day, but I’ll will be first to state that they acted quickly then and covered both sides of this story. That’s refreshing, and increasingly rare, these days.