Forget Bush, Oppose Smoking Ban

RECEIVED Fri., Dec. 3, 2004

Louis Black,
   Enough about Bush. Focus on Austin. Previously you were among the few boldly opposing a smoking ban in Austin bars. Now, our hero Lance Armstrong and his foundation are pumping their yellow-band millions toward imposing a total ban. Help!
   Last week downtown a girl asked me to sign a petition to put the smoking ban on the ballot. I asked her if she would support an initiative to allow Texans to vote to ban abortion because if so, it would pass. She said "no." Clearly, we all need to revisit the purpose of having a constitutional republic that prohibits the majority from imposing its views on the minority.
   I salute Armstrong’s cycling achievements. Yet 800 cyclists are killed every year in America. Half a million visit the emergency room while millions more are injured. Studies show compressing your balls against a bike seat reduces fertility. I can personally attest that mountain biking the Barton Greenbelt is dangerous and will result in the occasional smashed nut. Ouch! Perhaps studies would show that premarital sex with rock stars increases your likelihood of contracting STDs.
   At a recent City Council candidate forum, while everyone gave lip service to opposing a ban, only two candidates framed the debate in terms of individual rights, Jeff Trigger and Steve Adams. Two of the most hypocritical were Lee Leffingwell and Betty Dunkerley. They appeared gleeful the smoking issue would be out of their hands and decided by voters. Let them both demonstrate their support to take away people’s rights in the name of health and safety by supporting a ban against restaurants serving fat people.
   Lance, I know you mean well. But please, think about the broader implications. How about "Live Strong, but Live Free."
Wes Benedict
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