It has been newsworthy of late that the provincial capital wants to ban smoking in ‘all’ outside public areas I think within 20 miles of where others might congregate. That’s the best they can do to address a perceived social ill? I mean, it’s so easy. Everybody (or at least a statistical majority) hates smokers and they are quite prepared to set logic aside and suggest that a poor misbegotten sod who lights up his lonely butt on a beach or in a park is doing ever so much more damage to the health of the public than the thousands of SUVs and other motorized conveyances passing by that beach in a stream.
So easy because people love their cars and hate smokers. They hate them so much that they won’t even let the poor bastards light up any longer in the saloons and bars that proliferate and grow all the time so that people can pour back gouts of health-giving hootch.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am not defending smoking and certainly not advocating it. I just mean it is so easy to assail with deftly applied illogic that is designed to prey on public prejudice.
Meanwhile, this is the same entity. That cannot conceive of running a rail line across a projected bridge that may or may not have been needed into downtown due to civic incredulity that rail travel might at some point supplant motor vehicle traffic. See again the love of those healthy cars.
This is also the place that fought long and hard for the right to keep dumping its collective poop into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and so that as just an OK thing.
This is the place that, in the name of civil rights, refuses to address the social ills of mean streets that are so icky and dysfunctional that they make Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside look reasonably presentable. And that is an empirical observation based on having been panhandled and feeling threatened on streets I wouldn’t stroll on after dark. When I was addictions counseling a junkie in recovery told me that he always felt safer in the Downtown Eastside than he ever did on the “streets of fucking Victoria.”
But, that’s OK. We all have our whipping boys and smoking is a guaranteed favorite in contemporary society and the lowly cigarette will undoubtedly go the way of the spittoon as fashions change and health-obsession triumphs.
So, as smoking bugs some (and quite frankly I am happy it’s been banned in eateries, both indoor and outdoor, airplanes and a few other places, see, I can be unbiased) there are things that stick in my craw and I would like to see changed. They include:
-Hotdog sales outside supermarkets: One weekends it seems to be a constant that some kid group or other is flogging wienies in a bun when you depart with your groceries and you are forced to run the gamut of junior soccer players and the like who are harassing one to support their ‘cause’. I say if you want to be involved in a team either get a job or get your parents to cough up. This is especially true of cadets, boy scouts and other junior para-military organizations.
– Charity gouging at store tills: You are on the verge of paying for your items and the clerk says: “Would you like to donate a dollar to the ‘Bucks for Brucellosis Fund’?” Quite frankly I would not. And I resent being hit up when I’ve spent money in your store. If Wal-Mart or whichever is concerned with that charity, why don’t they give them money from their gazillions of dollars of profit each year?
– Car washes with loud kids screaming at you as you pass by to avail yourself of their services so they can finance their class trip to Saskatoon or Somalia. Well, that one’s not quite as bad since they are actually doing a job of work rather than just shilling,
Oh, there are more but you get my point.