Friday, February 01, 2008

Plaintiff: F--k your rights

People never fail to amaze.

From the Washington Post yesterday: James Bogden (who happens to be a public health educator and anti-smoking advocate) has filed suit against four local restaurants - one of which appears to the right - to force the restaurants to go smoke-free. He claims that after suffering a mild heart attack, he cannot be anywhere near second-hand smoke but should not be limited to which restaurants he can patronize. He believes he is protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act.


If I'm understanding this correctly - and I believe I am - the rights of one trumps the rights of many. If I'm a smoker (and I'm not), then my right to smoke should be taken away because this guy says so? Because of his heart condition, my right to smoke is simply cast aside?

How on earth does this make sense?

Look, I'm sorry the guy had a heart attack; I don't wish ill health on anyone. I'm glad to see he's fully recovered and has continued to live and succeed in life. But I fail to see how his condition should impact me.

For a moment, imagine he wins. Clyde's goes smoke-free. Maybe Clyde's loses a big chunk of its business and, after some time, is forced to close. If I want to enjoy one of my favorite hangout spots, I'm now driving to Tysons Corner or into the city.

Where, then, is my recourse? Can I litigate against this man for essentially closing one of my favorite restaurants as well?

Things happen in life, not all of them good ones. Sometimes we get a really raw deal. We adjust and we move on.

It seems like such a simple concept.

And hiding behind the ADA is shameful. The law was set up for people whose lives have been impacted by a real, life-changing disability, not a mild heart attack. It's a good law and shouldn't be subjected to such perversion.

Let's call this what it is: One person's attempt to advance his personal ideology; as he steps forward, he tramples others' rights in the process.

Have you no shame, Mr. Bogden? Have you no consideration for how others may want to run their lives? Or is your life the only one that matters?

Hypothetical questions, of course. The answers are clear enough already.


P.J. said...

I'll assume bars down that way aren't smoke free yet?

Let me tell you this much -- NY is smoke free and it's beautiful. The same argument you give could go the other way. Why does the smoker have more rights than the non-smoker? Why can't I, as a non-smoker, go somewhere and not have to deal with someone lighting up a butt?

Bottom line is this -- in my eyes -- I'll err on the side of health and not worry about a pissed-off smoker. They want to kill themselves (and believe me, I've dealt first-hand with it), then so be it. But keep the crap away from me!

(When I go out of state and am around places where smoking is still allowed, I usually will avoid bars just for that reason)

That being said, I agree with you that how this guy is fighting it is pretty crappy.

Brian said...

PJ: The more left-leaning places here are smoke-free. The City of Alexandria is making a push that way, but the state legislature isn't too happy about it. This is tobacco country, after all.

I understand your points. My feeling is that if restaurants are segregated - like Clyde's, which allows smoking at its two bars but not in the restaurant - why is that not enough?

Believe me, it's not my wish to see anyone's rights - smokers and non-smokers alike - infringed upon.

But hey, at least we agree on this clown! :)