Freedom stances confusing

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As I read your Nov. 6 editorial “What did she just say?” I erupted in laughter as I got to the last two sentences. I had to laugh at the hypocrisy of the writer saying, “This thinking that because something is good for you or good for the body politic, that the government can therefore require it of you, is a dangerous notion that threatens our liberties because it covers them over with a cushy layer of what passes for compassion these days. In truth, true compassion is freedom.”

I have lost count how many editorials I have read by these same editors railing about the need for seat belt laws, then about how we needed the state follow through and mandate seat belt usage in pickups and SUVs that were exempted in the initial seat belt legislation. The editors also have called for neighboring South Carolina to mandate motorcycle helmet usage for the good of the motorcyclists.

It does not interfere with my freedom and liberty if you do not wear your seat belt or motorcycle helmet, and I will not tell you via legislation to do so. I will recommend for your own safety that you do so, but it is not the state’s business to force you to do so because I feel that it is for your own good.

The very next day you took the right side of the eminent domain issue and property rights (“Fighting for life and property,” Nov.7). The editorial writer cites when the Supreme Court, in most people’s minds, ruled incorrectly in the Kelo v. New London case. This also made me laugh as I have read all the ranting and raving about the need for counties, cities and states to pass “public” smoking bans. The courthouse, the schoolhouse and the tag office are public places that citizens are required to go into, and the state should regulate the use of tobacco in these public places.

A business that is open to the public is not a public place. Entry by any citizen into a private business is made solely by the choice of that citizen, and is not required. What of the property rights of the private business owner that is open to the public?

It is no wonder our liberties are constantly under attack by government. Citizens no longer can draw the line between what is and what is not within their rights to ask government to regulate. You only confuse and mislead the people that read this editorial page when you one day speak of liberty and the next call for the state to interfere where it need not.

Russell Wilder

Evans

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wtinney
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wtinney 12/05/11 - 01:20 am
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I agree with what Mr. Wilder

I agree with what Mr. Wilder says here but, I will have to say, again, government regilations has made a lot of what he said questionable, at best. Government requires under-insured and uninsured coverage of drivers, and those that do not have sufficient health care coverage. Because of such a socialist, principled involvement, when second hand smoke causes health problems, primary smoking causes health problems, someone getting hurt when they did not wear a seat belt, someone getting hurt because they did not wear a helmet, someone not eating right or getting enough exercise which causes later problems, etc. - all of these do touch you, Mr. Wilder and me too. Now, you might say that is the price of freedom. I would say that is the price of socialism. Because tax payers will be left on the hook for any procedure that cannot be covered in full by a regional hospital (or better), because we are left on the hook for covering everybody else's mistakes, we are effected financially (economically) and of course that bleeds into emotionally effected in the end. I wish this was not true, but it is. So, therefore I agree with Mr. Wilder here, I must basically forward that this so-called free nation and the defense of freedom (if you understand what either of those mean), is not going to be found in the United States and/or the relationship between government and its people here. Liberties being diminished for sake of safety and security are the name of the game. Like Obama's administration is taking full advantage of the economic emergency; the Bush administration took full advantage of the security emergency situation. Our government is unhinged and out of control - at the federal, state and local levels. It is sad but true!

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 11:14 am
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These issues will be debated

These issues will be debated until h--- freezes over and never be resolved. The tug of war is between those that feel that any government regulation is an invasion of their rights and those that feel that some rights have to be lost to live in a better environment.

Techfan
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Techfan 12/05/11 - 08:20 am
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In other words, Russell

In other words, Russell doesn't believe Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr, and David Richmond would have the right to sit at his lunch counter. That battle was fought in the 50's and 60's and the bigots and segregationists lost. Some folks don't seem to be able to get over it.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 08:45 am
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I'm against smoking in bars

I'm against smoking in bars and restaurants, but for the record it was unconstitutional state laws that promulgated segregation. Getting rid of those laws is what did away with segregation.

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 12/05/11 - 09:13 am
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wtinney suggests that because

wtinney suggests that because many citizens have either no insurance or inadequate insurance (auto and medical as examples) it costs the taxpayers more money to treat these people who are careless, therefore giving the government an okay to enforce certain laws and regulations, such as wearing seatbelts, helmets, etc. The slippery slope begins once government starts setting laws, raising taxes or anything else, it never abates. They look for more and more ways to regulate, both for power and to add more enforcement agencies and further grow government. If you say it's okay to enforce non-smoking in public places, to cut back on lung cancer costs, then can you require everyone having intimate relations to use protection to cut down on the cost of HIV-AIDS claims? Diabetes is a big problem and healthcare cost, so should everyone be required to only eat so many calories of sugar per day? Maybe the government could set up a Dept. to inspect our pantries for sugar contraband or require everyone to join a health club and exercise a minimum number of hours per week? You can't legislate common sense and you can't cover everything that causes or contributes to poor health. Once you start, where does it end?

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 09:46 am
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I remember a very wise man

I remember a very wise man told me one time,"When a vacuum exists someone will fill it" . In this case when people are inconsiderate and blow their smoke in other people's faces in bars and restaurants there will be some person or some government entity either local , state or federal that will say that this needs to stop and pass a law. Where one persons rights are served another person's rights are abridged.

Chillen
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Chillen 12/05/11 - 09:55 am
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"It does not interfere with

"It does not interfere with my freedom & liberty if you do not wear your seat belt or motorcycle helmet, & I will not tell you via legislation to do so."

Actually, you are slightly incorrect. Here's why.
1. If you accidentally wreck into someone not wearing a seat belt or a helmet and kill them, you will be sued and possibly jailed based on what I see happening these days. Just for doing something by accident. Talk about a loss of freedom.
2. Many of these people not wearing their helmets & seatbelts expect the government (i.e. medicaid) to pick up the tab for their medical bills after a wreck. And the bills are typically quite extensive. That is a loss of financial freedom & liberty for you because of the taxes you have to pay to take care of the idiots.
3. Insurance rates are higher as a result of these idiots medical bills. That costs you more money.

So, you can see, their failure to protect themselves DOES affect your freedom and your liberty.

Now, if we have laws in place that say if you are not wearing a seatbelt or a helmet then you waive your right to any government benefits, insurance benefits and lawsuit ability by you or a family member, then I say "have at it".

Vito45
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Vito45 12/05/11 - 10:05 am
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Chillen, I agree except for

Chillen, I agree except for one additional point. A person without a seatbelt is also a hazard to the motoring public. If you've ever been in an out of control car, you know what I mean. If a car is in a spin, front seat passengers wind up in each other's lap if not belted in, negating any chance the driver can regain control, or at least direct the vehicle enough to avoid hitting anyone else. That is a SLAM DUNK reason to force seat belt use.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 10:51 am
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I agree with Mr. Wilder 100%.

I agree with Mr. Wilder 100%.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 10:59 am
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The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is what did away with segregation. I just went back and double checked.....it didn't say anything about smoking, seatbelts, or helmets.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 11:31 am
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Harley, as I told you in a

Harley, as I told you in a private conversation I admit that my stance on the smoking in public issue is skewed because of the fact that I lost both my wife and mother to lung cancer. You and others write about your rights and your points are well taken. No one hates government intrusion in my life anymore than I do. I do feel, however, that we should be able to go to a restaurant without being exsposed to what we all know is damaging to our health. Saying that the owner should be the one to decide whether he wants a smoke free establishment and those of us that don't like it can stay home is b---s---. Also, there should be some concern for those that depend on a job in a restaurant and have no choice but to inhale dangerous fumes. This is public health issue not a property rights issue as far as I am concerned. Forgive me for not agreeing with the property rights stance. I am a conservative on most issues but on this I become a flaming liberal.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 11:31 am
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I just observed my next door

I just observed my next door neighbor pouring gasoline into his lawn mower. I think he's going to run his mower to pick up all the leaves on his lawn. It's pretty dangerous. He could be severely injured and if he get seriously injured and if he doesn't have any insurance, I may get stuck (as a taxpayer) with some of his medical bills.

I've got it. I'll petition the city and state governments to get laws passed forcing him to wear a helmet, safety glasses, gloves, and safety shoes when working around his house. That will surely reduce the costs of any potential injuries he suffers. And as a bonus, I get to force him to do something he doesn't want to do on his own property just to prove to him how much I really, really care about him and everybody else.

Aren't you proud of me?

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 11:34 am
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LOL, Harley. He could also

LOL, Harley. He could also cause your house to burn if the gasoline explodes.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 11:38 am
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scoobydo said "I am a

scoobydo said "I am a conservative on most issues but on this I become a flaming liberal."

Yes, I remember and yes, you have every right to take whatever position you choose on the issue, just like me.

Nobody forces anybody into an establishment where the owner allows smoking. Neither the customers, nor the employees. Customers have the choice of going somewhere else or putting up with the smoke. Employees can look elsewhere, or put up with it as well. Employees who smoke put up with the rules if they work in a non-smoking establishment as do smoking customers who choose to eat or drink in one.

It is definitely a property rights issue as far as I'm concerned though I understand you and others view it differently.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/05/11 - 11:48 am
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Hey, Harley. While you're at

Hey, Harley. While you're at it, petition your local and state governments to make it illegal to use a lawn mower to pick up leaves or for any purpose other than its intended use of cutting blades of grass.

Also, leaf blowers are noisy and annoy neighbors and the gasoline fumes cause global warming. Therefore, ban leaf blowers. Homeowners can instead use old fashioned rakes.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 12/05/11 - 11:54 am
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I see no difference in bars

I see no difference in bars owned by smokers, staffed by smokers, and frequented by smokers than I do in bars that cater to gays. Everyone knows that gay bars have a role in the spread of HIV but nobody is complaining about the long term cost of maintaining an HIV patient or clamoring to ban gay bars. No, this is not an attack on the gay community. It is simply stretching a point to highlight a hypocrisy. After all, I do remember in the not too distant past when some municipal governments actually did try to close gay bars and other establishments that catered to gay clientele based on public health concerns. They had to back off of all of that because of individual rights. In reality, people who are not gay simply choose not to go to a gay bar to hook up and people who do not smoke could simply choose to not go to a smoking bar. The question is, who decides which behaviors have a detrimental financial or health impact on our society, and of those, which will be tolerated and which will be banned. Nobody ever asks me so it must be somebody that I have no control over or influence with. Are the behaviors that get banned decided more on political correctness than on facts. Who decides which behaviors are banned and which are allowed? Some will argue that you cannot catch HIV by simply visiting a gay bar. I submit to you that your chances of getting lung cancer by visiting a smoking bar are pretty low too. But both places, one way or another, potentially foster the acquisition of a deadly disease and yet we are told we must ban one and are encouraged to celebrate the rights of the other. Who decides these things? Don't like the smoking bar vs. gay bar comparison? Okay let's just pick on bars in general. If you frequent any bar you are obviously intent on damaging your liver, killing your brain cells, and potentially becoming a hazard to the motoring public. Let's just ban all bars. They are an obvious health hazard and financial drain on society. Alcoholism, drunk drivers, and unruly patrons cost the taxpayers $millions of dollars annually in healthcare costs, property damage, lost work hours, additional law enforcement costs and they are a "second hand" danger to innocent motorists. Who decides what gets banned? Also, based on political correctness and individual rights, we allow hysterical parents to choose to not vaccinate their children, thereby exposing all of us to outbreaks of deadly and disabling diseases. How much public healthcare money was spent battling the whooping cough outbreak out west last year? Who decides these things? Why are they allowed to expose my grandchildren to deadly diseases? And the really aggravating thing about this entire smoking issue is that most vocal anti-smoking bar and restaurant crusaders are not really that concerned with the health implications of second hand smoke in a bar or restaurant. If they were, they would never light a fire in their fireplace at home which puts much higher volumes of carcinogens. Their real beef is that don't like the smell that gets in their hair and on their clothes. This is all about social acceptance, not health issues. I am sure that a smoke free environment is great for non-smokers. However, smoking is a legal activity and someone who smokes a cigarette after dinner in a "smoking only" restaurant or lights up in a "smoking only" bar is not bothering anyone or exposing anyone to additional health hazards. Why don't we allow businesses and patrons to decide? Or.....why don't you crusaders busy yourselves trying to ban fireplaces? Now you want to talk about airborne pollutants. Make everyone brick up their fireplace and turn in their andirons. Think about how much cleaner the brisk winter air would be and how many trees we would save, not to mention the positive health effects for children trapped in polluted houses and neighborhoods.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 11:58 am
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Thanks, Little Lamb, I'll add

Thanks, Little Lamb, I'll add those to my list of things I don't want people to do on their own property.

TParty
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TParty 12/05/11 - 12:12 pm
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I think there are a lot of

I think there are a lot of fine lines, and good points on both sides. Mandatory seat belt laws have saved lives without a doubt. The writer is also correct in that "It does not interfere with my freedom and liberty if you do not wear your seat belt or motorcycle helmet" provided there is Chillens caveat of "you waive your right to any government benefits, insurance benefits and lawsuit ability by you or a family member". It's their risk when they drive.

What about children when it comes to seat belts? Should there be legislation making it mandatory for underage people to buckle up, or should they be allowed to make their own decisions, or can their parents risk their safety? I'm going to side with the protect children section, but then we can move to smoking in private establishments. The writer is also correct in that "Entry by any citizen into a private business is made solely by the choice of that citizen, and is not required. What of the property rights of the private business owner that is open to the public?".

Who are the people who have not invested or made any risks to legislate how an establishment runs their business? Shouldn't the free market work, and customers take their money somewhere else if they are not happy? Well, what about workers at places with high amounts of smoke? Should they jeopardize their health just to provide for themselves, and family? We know jobs are scarce, and people should not look down on an honest paycheck- but how far should a worker be subjected to health hazards? And where do you draw the line on health risks? Should there be legislation on food safety to prevent cross contamination, and illness- or can a business take shortcuts by not storing and cooking food correctly?

It's tricky....

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 12:45 pm
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As I said earlier This is an

As I said earlier This is an issue that there will never be a meeting of the minds. Both sides of this issue make good points. Bottom line, on the smoking issue, if people would be considerate with their smoking habits, and most are not, there would not have been a move to eliminate smoking in restaurants. It falls into the 'Where there is vacuum(smokers showing no consideration for others) someone will fill it(the government)

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 12:51 pm
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Another medical fact. Many

Another medical fact. Many people have immediate allergic responses such as coughing to second hand cigarette smoke. It's not all about second hand smoke increasing cancer risks.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 01:02 pm
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scoobydo said "Bottom line,

scoobydo said "Bottom line, on the smoking issue, if people would be considerate with their smoking habits, and most are not, there would not have been a move to eliminate smoking in restaurants."

I don't think that's the bottom line at all and I don't think it's fair to make the claim that "most (smokers) are not (considerate with their smoking habits). In my experience, most people are considerate, even including smokers. Yes, some are not, but I don't know how you conclude it's "most."

I agree with you that there may "never be a meeting of the minds." Too many minds are already made up and now there's personal pride involved. People don't seem to want to admit when they're wrong.

It is definitely a private property issue and definitely a "manners" or "consideration" issue that has been turned over to the government on the pretense that it will improve public health.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 01:03 pm
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To cite another personal

To cite another personal experience. I was in the meat processing business from 1946 thru 1968. There were two government inspectors n our premises all hours that we were in operation. They watched every thing that was done and on occasion shut us down if they saw something not to their liking. You that feel so strongly about property rights would have blown your stacks. They were on my property telling me how to run my business. Did I resent it? No. Was it the right thing for them to do? Yes. This, too, was a public health issue. It also was a protection to me as it prevented one of my employees from doing something that could have created a big liability for me.We cannot live in a vacuum . What we do does effect other people.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 01:07 pm
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Riverman said "Another

Riverman said "Another medical fact. Many people have immediate allergic responses such as coughing to second hand cigarette smoke. It's not all about second hand smoke increasing cancer risks."

That's a "medical fact" I haven't seen presented before now. How "many people" have such a response? If they suffer from such a dangerous situation, one would normally expect them not to dine or drink in places where people might smoke.

I agree it's "not all about second hand smoke increasing cancer risks." It's mostly about people wanting to stick their noses into other people's businesses, but they want to tell the owners how they want it to smell first."

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 01:10 pm
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Harley said: I agree with you

Harley said:
I agree with you that there may "never be a meeting of the minds." Too many minds are already made up and now there's personal pride involved. People don't seem to want to admit when they're wrong.
My response, LOL,LOL,LOL.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 01:12 pm
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Harley, I didn't say it's

Harley, I didn't say it's dangerous for them, but come on, man, how many people do you know who cough, sniff and eyes burn around cig smoke? That ain't right to put people through.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 01:14 pm
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I don't think that's a fair

I don't think that's a fair analogy, Scoobydo. In the meat packing business, the public depends on your product being safe. Unlike going into a restaurant where they know if smoking is permitted or not, they have no way to tell whether your product is safe, or isn't.

Riverman1
93486
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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 01:15 pm
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Harley, you remind me of the

Harley, you remind me of the brigade commander at Ft. Stewart who used to have staff meetings and smoke right under the no smoking sign. Of course, half the others there would light up, too. I dang near had to put on MOPP gear at those meetings.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 01:18 pm
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Riverman said "That ain't

Riverman said "That ain't right to put people through."

See, this is the part that bewilders me about your position.....who is "put(ting) people through" anything? People are free to eat/drink somewhere else if smoke bothers them so much. If I own a business, I should be able to cater to the crowd I want in my place. Smokers, non-smokers, homosexuals, whatever......If some customer doesn't like my place he/she is free to go next door if they'd rather.

Riverman1
93486
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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 01:18 pm
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I'm getting like Joe Bowles

I'm getting like Joe Bowles when the TEE was being debated. He finally said, let's just get it over and get the thing done, right or wrong. Let's just pass this no smoking ordinance and legalize Sunday booze at the same time and be done with all of it. Enough.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/05/11 - 01:24 pm
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Riverman said "Harley, you

Riverman said "Harley, you remind me of the brigade commander at Ft. Stewart who used to have staff meetings and smoke right under the no smoking sign."

No kidding?

I don't smoke. I don't eat where people are smoking, or drink where they are unless I make a conscious decision to put up with it. I certainly would not have had staff meetings right under a no smoking sign. I'd like to think I'm more civil than that and would have hoped I had set a better example for others who might have worked for me.

I'm a law abiding, non-smoking citizen who happens to have some health problems that were exacerbated by smoking. But I'm also a person who believes the government has no business telling a property owner can do with his own property as it applies to legal behavior.

I understand your position and I don't happen to agree with it, but I don't plan on telling you that you remind me of some foolish dingbat I used to know.

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