Letters to the Editor for 3/30/09

-A A +A

Ban wrong way to end smoking

While the lifelong non-smoker side of me applauds the new Virginia smoking ban, my rebellious redneck side groans in disbelief.

How many more laws that take away personal choices are going to be enacted? I have a great disdain for any kind of smoking, but I do believe it’s one’s right, if inclined.

Just the same as it is my right to refuse to do business in a smoking establishment. That’s freedom of personal choice.

While it is true that smoking in all its forms has proven to be cancerous, foul smelling, and health-detrimental, the wrong people are being punished.

Tobacco should be re-classified to better suit what it is.

It’s not a food. It’s not required for living. It’s not considered a drug.

So how would you classify it? It is a killer.

But, like I said, the wrong people are being punished for it. Salmonella gets in the food supply, the manufacturer gets sued. Oil gets spilled, the oil companies get sued.

A vitamin that helps many people get to sleep, but gets tainted and kills a few people, it gets pulled from the market and the manufacturer gets sued.

Is tobacco itself poisonous, or is it the hundreds of chemicals put in it? How many people die each year from smoking? Yet the industry still operates and makes money by the boatload.

The difference in a lot of companies that get sued is, most clean up their act.

I know smokers will not like this, but why should non-smokers pay for their choices? If they want to smoke, the companies and smokers need to take care of their own.

Luxury taxes for all involved with tobacco — producers and users! And make it high enough to cover the expenses that are burdening the health care system by the habit.

If it’s not profitable, it will fade away (or get a huge government bailout). Just don’t get in the way of personal choice and freedoms.

This is supposed to be the land of the free. Let’s keep it that way.

Kevin Burcham


Bailouts have been a disaster

I am responding to a news report where the state forked out $170,000 to re-train employees of a state agency to be nicer to the public.

This is insulting to the taxpayer.

If one comes to work with a chip on their shoulder and takes it out on others, they are better off finding another job.

I guess some people eat too many crab apples and it affects the attitude. In the real world, there are no rose-colored glasses or blinders to see what decent, hard-working purebred Americans are going through.

By news video and pictures, we see the toll of what happens when one loses a job, a home or life savings – a tent city, a homeless shelter, or living under a bridge.

The powers that be that are supposed to govern us and care about what is taking place continue to have politically pitched battles about who is right, wrong or somewhere in the middle.

In England, there is the old saying, “God save the queen.” But here in the good old USA, it’s “God save our country” from Congress, the president, the bailouts, to pet projects by politicians.

Accountability is lost in double-talk, ego trips and being in the good ole boys club.

When congress started sending out wheelbarrows full of money to banks, the first $350 billion was never accounted for. Still not.

To whoever continues to struggle to make it, living from paycheck to the next, to military families on food stamps, to the ones going into the military in service to our country, words seem cheap.

Prayers and thoughts go out to them, the poor, the lost souls and to all who help in some way to make life better. God bless you.

Mitchell Robinson