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|Busybodies snuffing out our freedom|
The scene: A café in Winnsboro in 1951. A gentleman from Natchez, Mississippi is sitting at a table reading The Franklin Sun.
He lights a cigarette. As he sips his coffee, a man sitting with his wife in an adjacent table taps him on the shoulder.
"Excuse, me sir. My wife has asthma, would you mind not smoking?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," the man from Natchez says. "I'll put it out."
"I appreciate that."
The scene: A café in Winnsboro in 2011. A gentleman from Natchez, Mississippi is sitting at a table reading The Franklin Sun.
He lights a cigarette. As he sips his coffee, the manager taps him on the shoulder.
"Excuse me sir, but you will have to put that cigarette out or leave."
"Why?" asks the man from Natchez. "There isn't even anyone else in here."
"Sir, it's against the law to smoke in a restaurant in Louisiana. Put it out or I'm calling the police."
"Never mind, I'm gone. I'm glad I still live in a free state," the man from Natchez says. "By the way, your parish has a great newspaper. I wish The Natchez Democrat was as good."
You will have to excuse me for that last part, but I couldn't help myself. Now, on with the column.
Not satisfied with the state-wide ban on smoking in restaurants, the busybodies in our midst are trying to extend their tyrannical tentacles as far into our lives as possible.
I write this column with full knowledge that there will be many who read it who will disagree. That's okay.
As the cliché goes, "we live in a free country."
The problem is that I suspect many who would agree that we are best served by keeping this country as free as possible are among the ranks of the anti-smoking cabal.
If you are among them, you need to have a better understanding of the tyrannical heart.
There never comes a point when those who want to control others believe they have taken enough freedom.
Busybodies will always reach for more.
Thankfully, the Louisiana Legislature has, so far, rejected the push by groups like the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living to extend the smoking ban to bars and casinos.
Still, there are cities in this state that are debating, as well as passing, anti-smoking laws to make sure that no one's nostrils will ever be offended by the smell of burning tobacco.
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