Saturday, May 15, 2010

Beijing or Bust

I received a rather curious observation from Butt Out in the comments section of my post about cigarette butts. Here it is in its entirety:

i have no idea how much littering fines are. I think they are well over several hundred dollars.

In my last 15 years as a smoker, i constantly put the butts where they belonged, especially after we moved into a public park. I didn't want to see ANY trash in the landscape and I realized that the public was allowed here and if they began trashing it, the place would look awful really fast.

Figured I'd set the example, help with the clean ups and all.

so i'm saying its a smoker's responsibilty, as much as it's everybodies, to clean up after themselves. Our momma's don't live here, as the saying goes.

And about the ''alleged'' complaint with the police, that is how America works. Police always work on behalf of the greater good, including the things that they do not witness. If it doesn't suit you, move to China or Iran, where they are far more swifter and certain with their justice.

I take no issue with the first four paragraphs. Yes, smokers should be good stewards of the Earth, and not go flipping refuse willy - nilly all over the place. This applies to everyone; not just members of the carcinogen club.

However, the point was not what smokers do or should do; the subject was how the government abuses its trust, exerting its power in crafting inordinate punishments that have as much or more to do with the acquisition of money and pleasing enviromaniacs and anti - smokers as with the enactment of justice.

The final paragraph from Butt Out seems incoherent. First, it is not true that the police "always work on behalf of the greater good." I have read numerous stories about police brutality and other flagrant misconduct. Such reports are neither rare nor difficult in unearthing on the Internet.

Second, where is the logic in advising someone who denounces excessive punishments to look to China or Iran for satisfaction? One is a Communist / fascist state, and the other is an Islamoid dystopia. Butt Out's position is that I would find life more comfortable in China or Iran, since I decry draconian responses to minor crimes.

This is like saying, "Don't like Jew - bashing? Well, maybe you should pull up stakes and move to the Gaza Strip."

There is nothing just or honorable about incommensurate fines for petty infractions or informing on one's fellow citizens.

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