Monday, October 30, 2006

Oh my God, what have we come to?

An official press release[pdf link] urges residents of Omaha to dial 911 to report violations of a public smoking ban[ordinance pdf link] recently passed in the city. From the actual press release:
Citizens or business owners that observe a violation to this smoking ban are urged to call 911 and report the violation. Officers will respond to the radio call and take appropriate action. Those found in violation to the smoking ban would be given a criminal citation. Any business owners or employee that knowingly allow smoking in their establishment will also be given a criminal citation with the first offense that will be considered a warning.
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that the foundations are cracked. This problem has infected the very fabric of our nation, leading any local official to raise petty offenses to the level of a 911 emergency. The issue is no longer just the Federal Government's overt tramping of the liberties we hold dear, but local officials, largely unaccountable which are now proposing draconian rules and regulations upon the citizens they serve. It's always tempting to place this as a Republican vs. Democrat issue, but it's not. This is a disease which is non-partisan. It affects any official, no matter how petty or insignificant. Small administrative clerks at the municipal level have discovered a certain power they can grasp, and are now taking it to new heights I never imagined.

The people of this country must start to act in direct defiance of these small, petty tyrants, even at the smallest level. I argue that because we have allowed such insignificant government managers to get away so comfortably with such a capacious number of interferences in our lives, it only seems reasonable that we allow the larger bodies of government to get away with the more egregious violations of liberty. This was admittedly a slow creep, which seems to be picking up pace at an alarming rate. There has come a time to defy the law. I will attempt to do my part.

I can only hope (and suggest) that residents of Omaha will flood the city's 911 system with smoking 'sightings'-- desperate pleas for help as they percieve (correctly or incorrectly) people lighting up in public.

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