So I read in the L.A. Times this morning that the tiny hamlet of Calabasas, found somewhere out in the northwestern lands of Spare Oom in the kingdom of War Drobe, has done gone and outlawed smoking in public. Made it a crime. Specifically, the rule bans firing up your cigarette, cigar, pipe in outdoors when there are other people present.
Yikes! Is it defined any better than that? Hell no. In fact, according to the Times piece, little beyond the law’s intent to discriminate and subjugate has been laid out:
“Officials are still working out the details of the ordinance, but the intent is to prohibit smoking in public areas where both smokers and nonsmokers congregate. [Calabasas Mayor Barry] Groveman said he hoped that the law would prompt operators of spaces such as malls and restaurants to establish convenient, segregated “outposts” where customers could smoke, much like airport smoking areas.”
Crap knee-jerk ordinances like this really chap me ‚Äî if for no reason than their inability to be enforced and their invitation to pit one group against another.
“The new law will work like this: If someone is smoking in a public area in violation of the ordinance and is asked by another person to extinguish his cigarette, cigar or pipe and the smoker refuses, then the offended person can file a written complaint with the city attorney’s office.”
Potentially scary scenarios abound. Here’s one: Say you’re a nonsmoker walking in a public park and you pass through the cloud that’s just been exhaled by a Marlboro Man relaxing on a bench. First off, law or not, you better have balls the size of King Kong if you’re going to ask that smoker to snub his butt. Second if the smoker refuses, you are so on your own. Don’t dare call the cops; they’ve got real crimes to pursue and won’t give priority to such a bullshit call.
In fact, the law looks like it cuts cops from the equation and makes it up to you to file a written complaint with the city. So that means you have to be the crime-stopping evidence gatherer. If you think it’ll be enough to write the city attorney saying you want charges brought against a “40-ish looking balding white dude in a blue t-shirt that read ‘Fuck Calabasas & Its Smoking Ban'” you’ve got another thing coming. No if you want “justice,” now that you’ve put the dude on the defensive you have to get the perpetrating puffer to give up his name, address, et cetera… otherwise how do you expect the attorney to proceed? And you can bet that smoker is going to readily assist you in enabling his prosecution. Chances are more likely the smoker will be arrested for verbally or physically assaulting the invasive nonsmoker.