Community View | Don’t tolerate inconsiderate people
Last Sunday, a group of citizens walked the streets of downtown Kingman picking up trash. I was not among them, but I was sitting at...let’s call it a prayer meeting at a local gathering place on Beale that rhymes with “Back Ridge” and overheard some of their conversation during an informal debriefing.
When they got to the topic of what they found most of they all agreed it was cigarette butts. I had to bite my tongue when one of the group suggested that the city should put out ash trays to prevent the problem. I’m no fan of any idea that makes government our babysitters – certainly not one that accommodates the least courteous members of our society. I didn’t want to criticize this good Samaritan in any way, so I saved my angst for the lucky readers of The Daily Miner.
How about we all just don’t tolerate ourselves and fellow citizens acting like inconsiderate dolts? I came to Arizona for the state’s libertarian laws (and to escape the insanity of switching my clocks back and forth arbitrarily). I’m all for individual freedom. But the idea of altogether banning smoking in public dovetails perfectly with my Constitutional concept of “Your right to wave your fists ends when they contact my nose.” Smoke contacts everyone’s nose, and burnt out cigarettes are disgusting. Please, smokers, destroy your health where I can’t smell it, and put your cigarette butts in your own ashtray. Why? Because you’re a decent person. Even sociopaths know how to fake civility.
I’ll try to sum up my feelings with this little ditty:
A couple years ago, I sat front row at a John Mellencamp concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I’ve idolized him most of my life and his music made up the soundtrack of my best youthful roadtrips. At 48, I looked forward to that show like a teenager waiting for the first day of summer vacation. As he took the stage from the wing, he casually flipped a cigarette butt – you know, James Dean style – his pretty young assistant had to scurry to retrieve it. That human rudeness encapsulated my take on public smoking. The Ryman is a sacred place, and made of hundred-year-old wood (older if you count the rings). The cringeworthy scene of watching her have to immediately pick up Mellencamp’s filth was re-playing in my mind through the whole show. I’ll never spend another dime on his music, and I’ve lost all soft sentiment for “Jack and Diane.” Those kids are probably whining about their emphysema in some Indiana assisted living facility by now.
Thanks for listening.