Omaha's tough new anti-smoking ordinance banning the practice in nearly all public places comes with an even tougher enforcement policy. The Nebraska city's elected leaders and police department are urging residents who see violations to call the 9-1-1 emergency system for an immediate response. Omaha banned smoking in public Oct. 2. Penalties are $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third and subsequent infractions. Teresa Negron, sergeant in charge of public information for the police, explained the department encourages observers of infractions to pick up the phone to report the infraction – just like they would for any other crime they observe being committed.Insane. This proliferation of laws designed to save us from ourselves injects the government deep into the realm of legislating personal morality. Deviating from the Fathers' ideals has dire consequences. Some quotes well known, but not well enough. Well worn, but not worn publicly enough. 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 and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.Madison:
There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation.Surely if the multiplication of laws is a sign of moral sickness, this is a strong indicator. Walter Williams puts it well in recent column:
Smoking bans are another violation of private property rights supported by most Americans. If a person owns a restaurant, it is his right to decide whether or not he will permit smoking. If a restaurant owner wishes to permit smoking, he might put up a "Smoking Permitted" sign and let customers decide whether they wish to enter. Similarly, if an owner didn't permit smoking, he might put up a "No Smoking" sign and let customers decide. I'm guessing that a restaurant owner who didn't permit smoking would see it as a violation of his property rights if a coalition used the political arena to create legislation forcing him to permit smoking. It is no less of a property rights violation the other way around.