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Evidence of the Police State

Smoking extension notification at Harrison Landing

Smoking extension notification at Harrison Landing.

A week ago we visited Bill Lavery’s Harrison Landing downtown and were met with this notification on the door (actually it’s required on all the doors to Bill’s place).  It’s a notice that says Harrison Landing has permission to allow smoking on its premises until May 15, 2009, one year after the original Elkhart smoking ban was instituted for all other businesses open to the public.

Let’s recap: a law was passed a year ago to prohibit smoking in virtually all businesses within the city of Elkhart.  But, Harrison Landing got permission, which they had to ask for, in order to allow smoking for another year.  This was based on the idea that not allowing smoking in an adults-only location where a lot of people like to smoke might hurt business — so, the City basically decided to give the bars who requested the extension another year before they’d hurt bar business.

Nuremburg Rally, 1934

Nuremburg Rally, 1934

We’re friends of Bill, and he’s a prominent local attorney so we figure he can take care of himself, but we don’t think he, or ANY bar owner, should have to ask permission to allow a legal activity to happen on private property among consenting adults who know smoking will be going on in the bar.

To those who feel characterizing this as evidence of the police state is extreme, let us point out that gradualism is the way it happens.  Today we restrict smoking under penalty of law. Tomorrow we command people to use seat belts at all times.  Next week, we hire a full time “noise cop.”  Eventually there are a million little rules, regulations and restrictions that require enforcement.  And it’s all because they seemed like a “good idea” at the time.

We’ll keep an eye out for more evidence as the new year dawns for the dolts on the Elkhart City Council. Stay tuned.

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