New York is about to pass a law that makes smoking in public parks and beaches illegal. This comes after passing an ordinance last year banning smoking in bars. Since smokers didn’t raise their middle fingers in the direction of City Hall and continue lighting up over their pints, Big Brother proved the adage that if you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile. Next, you’ll see, it’ll be illegal to smoke on your own stoop, because someone passing by will claim that you damaged his health.
Nineteen Eighty Four came two decades late, but it’s here now. Your emails? Big Brother reads them. Your phone calls? Big Brother listens. The more inches we give, the more miles he takes. So why do we keep ceding these inches to the bullies? Why don’t we fight back? Have we lost our good old American testosterone?
And another thing. When was it decided, and by whom, that every kid in Hoboken who rides a scooter or skateboard or bike has to wear a helmet? Was it because one kid in a million somewhere fell and cracked his skull that the other 9,999,999 must suffer having a plastic monstrosity strapped to his head when he goes out to play? A little 3-year-old on his first scooter? What kind of message does it send this generation of kids – that life is such a dangerous undertaking that it must be approached only with fear and caution? My generation ran wild in the neighborhood, climbed trees and fell out of them, broke bones and came home with cuts and bruises and wasp stings on our faces when we chunked rocks at their nests. It was all a learning experience. Forcing kids to wear helmets is good for those who make them, and for the politicians who take “campaign contributions” (bribes) to pass laws forcing parents to buy them, but it’s bad for everyone else.