News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 10, 2012

READERS' FORUM: Aug. 10, 2012

We have bigger things to fret over

Thank you, Terre Haute City Council and the state of Indiana, for the recent smoking ban ordinance. For years I have heard about a bar and grill in West Terre Haute that had the best home-cooked lunch menu anyone one had ever tasted. The problem was the owner allowed smoking in his establishment and secondhand smoke just scares the hell out of me.

Finally, he was forced to make it a nonsmoking bar so I decided to sample this highly touted cuisine for myself. When I arrived there was a guy smoking roughly 10 feet from the front door.

“Thank God!” I thought as I entered the bar. I found a seat and ordered a beer, but as I sat there I began to get the instinctive odor of an ashtray. I looked around and not a single ashtray or smoker was in sight.

The waitress brought my beer as I was reviewing the menu and I asked her to give me a few minutes, all the while beginning to feel a little queasy from the overwhelming odor of a filthy ashtray. I couldn't take it. I was only halfway through my beer when I got up, laid a five on the table and headed for the door.

As I approached the exit I noticed four or five people smoking. I again thanked God for the recent legislation forcing legitimate business owners to bow to my whims. As I left, the breeze shifted and I noticed a cloud of deadly cigarette smoke heading my way. I instinctively remembered my grade school fire drills and dropped down on all fours where the air would be fresher and crawled 20 feet or more to safety.

I was able to dodge the bullet this time, but I think the law should be amended to require prior owners of smoking establishments to clean up and deodorize as to not offend the nonsmokers and extend the door/smoking radius to 50 feet. Let’s all call our councilman and move forward on this issue.

I kid, of course. I love to illustrate absurdity by taking it to the extreme. I have no problem with smoking bans within reason, business owners who have catered to the now “second-class” smokers for years and who were comfortable with their stature in life. Their customers knew the risks yet chose to be around good friends and neighbors, but are now forced by mandate to change their way of life for people who will most likely never enter their doors.

The people who celebrate this encroachment on our freedoms are the same people who for some insane reason believe our government can and should take care of our every need discounting the fact we are trillions of dollars in debt that can never be repaid. There's a whole lot more to worry about rather than some bar and grill that allows their patrons to smoke.

What's next? Surrender your firearms unless they are for “game hunting” only? When that day comes they will have to pry my gun from my cold dead hand. Please. Wake up and smell the coffee.

— Stanley R. Hamm Sr.

Terre Haute

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