Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Our View: Smoking on the beach

  • By
  • | 5:00 a.m. January 17, 2013
  • Sarasota
  • Opinion
  • Share

Ask any non-smoker if he or she would favor banning smoking on Sarasota’s beaches, or anywhere for that matter, and, of course, he likely would say yes.

In fact, it’s probably safe to say it would be difficult to find any non-smoker who likes to sit in the draft of cigarette smoke. It stinks. And we now know it’s not healthy.

So ban it. Don’t make the many (non-smokers) suffer because of the few (smokers).

Well, not so fast. As Sarasota County commissioners found out recently, those crafty state lawmakers — who love power as much as they do in Washington — wrote legislation that gave them control of all smoking laws. Even though the best government is the government closest to you, the Tallahassee solons don’t see it that way.

As such, Sarasota County commissioners are unable to ban smoking on county beaches or on the county’s ball diamonds.

Understandably, county commissioners are frustrated. Who is Tallahassee to be telling them how to run our lives?

So now the commissioners know how we feel having Washington, Tallahassee, the County Commission and the City Commission telling us how to run our lives.

In truth, this doesn’t seem to be that big of a dilemma. There are options.

Do what the airports do: Perhaps erect glass-enclosed smoking rooms where the smokers can go inhale each other’s puffs all they want. At the least, do what already is done: designate clearly marked smoking areas at the beach and in the parks. Surely state laws don’t prohibit local jurisdictions from imposing fines for butt littering.

Our personal freedoms are eroding enough as it is. Banning smoking at the beach isn’t the answer; controlling it rationally is.

+ Debt ceiling: You lose again
The president lectured House Republicans again Monday, scolding them not to cause a federal government shutdown and the stopping of government checks by not voting to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

As Peggy Noonan has pointed out, that is what he is all about — strife and drama.

Let the circus begin!

It’ll be exasperating once again to endure more fiscal cliff-like melodrama for the next two weeks. And for what? We already know the outcome.

Indeed, there is no reason in the world, none whatsoever, to think that the Obama-Republican House-debt ceiling talks will result in anything other than a higher debt limit; increased borrowing and a greater burden on your grandchildren.

It has always been thus. And it will never change.

In his book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., explains why Congress will never cut spending:

“Careerism, not ideological commitments, is the cause of our impasse today. Both sides are preoccupied with the acquisition and maintenance of power more than reducing our debt and averting an economic catastrophe.

“If Washington politicians valued fiscal responsibility more than getting re-elected, we would see fiscally responsible behavior. Our crushing debt burden … is proof that Washington politicians value re-election above all else.”

Coburn goes on: “The whole point of the Constitution was not to protect any particular branch of government per se, but the rights and liberties of individual Americans.

“If government grew beyond the scope of the Constitution, freedom would be limited by the burden of debt and regulation, which is exactly what we see today.”

Unfortunately, our petulant president and the majority of those who occupy the seats of the U.S. House and Senate — Republicans included! — fail to heed the advice of two of the smartest Americans ever:

Thomas Jefferson: “A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

James Madison: “There are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation.”

To the wisdom of Jefferson and Madison, you can add this: By virtue of Obama and Congress continuing their spending, and with the Federal Reserve Bank acting as their accomplice by printing ever increasing amounts of dollars, they are all vicious looters destroying your wealth.

Economic analyst William Buckler explains this thievery well in a recent edition of his Privateer letter:
When the federal government borrows, it pays its creditor with a U.S. note that says it promises to pay. How is that promise to pay honored? By the government issuing more new promises to pay in the future.

And what is the collateral that assures the holder of the U.S. note will be repaid? “The full faith and credit” of the nation. Which means the laws Washington has written, giving the federal government a first-claim on the wealth of U.S. citizens.

“What is the end result?” Buckler asked. “A monetary system which destroys wealth in order to function.”

+ Gun control
If it weren’t for the tragedy of the killings, it would be almost comical to take a bird’s view of what happens in Washington in the wake of any and everything.

They simply cannot resist: Something must be done! We need more laws! We must take action, so say the powerful in Washington, to prevent humans from acting like humans!

If you can, read the president’s 23 executive orders, apparently designed to help stop future Newtowns. The only conclusion you can reach: Big whoop. More paper shuffling and bureaucratic red tape for little benefit.

President Obama wants Congress to ban rapid-fire weapons. At the cost of whose safety? The bad guys will get the guns; they always do.

Here’s what’s puzzling: Yes, 22 dead in Newtown is a horror; so is the slaughtering of 12 in Aurora, Colo.
Now, contrast that with this: In 2011, 32,367 Americans died in auto accidents, 10,033 of those deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. That’s 1,000 times more killed in cars than in Newtown and Aurora. And yet, where are the president and Congress on banning automobiles and alcohol?

There are no easy answers. There is, however, a simple one: starting with the teaching of moral values and behavior, beginning at birth, in every home. What’s right and wrong. It’s a simple answer; extraordinarily difficult to enact.

Meantime, amid all of the gun hubbub in Washington, we would urge you to track down the commentary of “Topshot,” a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran, who wrote on the subject of gun control at Here’s an excerpt:

“… the countries with the highest homicide rates have gun bans, says researcher John R. Lott Jr. The three worst public shootings in the past year all occurred in Europe, which has enacted everything American gun-control proponents favor …

“Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is a constitutional right guaranteed … in the Second Amendment, and it is the duty of every citizen to see that ALL of the Constitution is enforced by the government entrusted by the people to do just that. ”

If only they recognized they worked for us, not the other way around.


Latest News