2/15/07 – I am a non-smoker. I have never even smoked at all, the legal stuff or otherwise. But I am not an anti-smoker. That means I choose not to smoke, but I think you can smoke if you want to. Cigarettes are a legal substance that smokers are finding more and more difficult to partake in legally. Many towns, cities, and states have passed smoking bans with varying degrees of severity and punishment.
We often hear politicians debating the issue. Last week two politicians had a more personal smoking experience.
Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) was enjoying a cigar in his Congressional office as he often does. But last Wednesday he was paid a visit by a Capitol Hill Police officer. The officer stated that he was there because it was his duty; they had received a complaint from newly elected Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota). Tancredo and Ellison have never met, although they have neighboring offices. Apparently the cigar smoke was making its way into Ellison's office.
Fair enough. But why call the police for something like this? I could understand it more if smoking were not allowed. But it is permitted. Why not just go over, knock on the offender's door and tell them what is bothering you? This reminds me of when a neighbor called the police on us because our dog was barking in the yard. Couldn't the complaining neighbor have come over and shared their problem with us before getting the fuzz involved?
Representative Tancredo is not going to stop smoking. "Heck no!" he said to the suggestion. Good for him. He shouldn't have to. And he already uses various air purifiers in his office, so he is not one of those in your face smokers who doesn't care about the feelings of others. Tancredo made the point that he would have been a little more accommodating if Ellison had taken it upon himself to be more courteous and up front about his grievance.
Maybe Representative Ellison was inspired by the Omaha Police. Late last year they encouraged people to call the police when they saw people violating a recently passed smoking ban.
Whether it's ok or off limits, calling the police because somebody is smoking is absurd. The only exception I can think of is if you saw someone blowing smoke right in a child's face or smoking in a confined space with children. Other than that, get off your rear, ring the bell, and let the smoker know what is bothering you. Save calling the police for when you really need to. Like when a radio talk show host says something that upsets you.