Aug 16, 2010

American Legion Post breaks the law they vowed to uphold

In my 20 year Navy career, I never once thought that service made me above the law or that I didn’t have to follow the laws of the state or nation; someone should tell that to the members of American Legion Post 444 in Baraga at the base of the Keweenaw Bay in the Upper Peninsula.

They are breaking the state’s workplace smoking ban that includes bars and restaurants that went into effect on May 1, making the ridiculous claim that deadly secondhand is “what freedom looks like,” according to auxiliary post member Anita Shepard. No, it’s what flouting and disregarding the law looks like.

Post spokesman Joseph O'Leary claims its “not about the smoking, It's about the right to choose to allow the use of a legal substance on our property.“ No, the workplace smoking ban is a public health issue, and it’s about protecting the 80 percent of the population who choose not to endanger their health.

This is not the first time military veterans have made the claim that their service has earned them the right to ignore the law. Even before the law went into effect, American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts launched a petition drive with the claim that the law didn’t apply to them.

Even military leaders have long recognized the harmful effects of smoking, both first and secondhand smoke, and they banned it on ships some 20 years ago. Just last spring the U.S. Navy banned smoking on submarines, despite having the most advanced atmosphere purification technology in the world.

But the post in Baraga has gone farther than anyone in breaking the law, and Post Commander Rick Geroux issued a notice to members and employees that he thinks his post is above the law and would not follow it.

According to reporter Dawson Bell, “several citizen complaints were filed about the post's noncompliance, and local health officials sent notices of violation. Geroux responded with a news release July 16 that described the new law as unconstitutional and un-American.”

That is just per BS. I challenge Mr. Geroux to show me where in the Constitution it says you have a right to smoke. The fact is the government has an obligation to protect the public from poison like secondhand smoke and other deadly substances, and if anything it’s un-American not to protect the public from deadly substances.

The article said “several of the elder statesmen point out the government provided the smokes and hooked them on the habit when they were in the service.” That is simply not true. No doubt the military practically encouraged serviceberry to smoke, but over the last couple of decades it has tried to correct that mistake.

Tobacco companies did provide free cigarettes during World War II, but that was as big a PR move as big tobacco spending billions of dollars to convince people they have some kind of constitutional right to smoke. But it was more than PR; it was an investment by hooking millions of young men that earned them billons of dollars over the years, despite the clear scientific proof of the harmful health effects of smoking.


carraig said...

Yep -lost an arm - thanks.

We'll close your buddies place down that you guys have to hang with people who understand what you went through - it's better for you !!

You're some hypocrite.

The law's an ass. Already at least one great bar in Grand Rapids have shut down after business dropped for a few months - they were struggling anyway because they'd expanded and had an extra note to pay - but this knocked it on the head. Business dropped by about 40% for two months - couldn't pay the note, bank wouldn't refi because they thought it was struggling too much. So they're done and 25 more people are on unemployment.

Do some checking - it's coming through as predicted. We're going to see more of this over the next 18 months.

And it's all the small guys without access to capital or big marketing dollars who are going down the tubes.

Like I said before, I hope you're there to pay their notes when they go bust.

Communications guru said...

“Yep -lost an arm - thanks?” What the hell does that mean? Being a veteran does mot
mean we are above the law.

How am I a hypocrite? You don’t like the law, too bad. If a bar closed down in Grand
Rapids it wasn’t because of the workplace smoking ban. No one has ever explained to me
how just 20.4 percent of the population who still smoke can have such an economic

I did some checking, as did many newspapers in the state, and bars and restaurants are
doing as well as can be expected in the Bush recession.

Not Anonymous said...

You have not shown in even one spot where they "vowed" to uphold that law. In fact, you've only shown where they disagree and have had no intention of upholding the law.

Unless you're saying that they vowed to uphold the law just because it's a law. But that would be wrong. They didn't vow to uphold it, they were ordered to give up their freedom for the sake of a few over-zealous former smokers.

They are showing what people believe. That government is slamming down their heavy hand on politically correct behavior.

Communications guru said...

Try the oath of office, anonymous coward. They are not giving up any freedom. Show me where it says they have the freedom to smoke anyplace they want with no restrictions. “For the sake of a few over-zealous former smokers?” No, for the sake of the law, the majority of the Michigan House and Senate and the almost 75 percent of the Michigan population who support this law.

They are not, “showing what people believe” when 75 percent of the population supports it. The government is fulfilling its duty and protecting the public health.

Again, anonymous coward, I’m still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

carraig said...

I've explained the impact to you in the past.

You simply chose to ignore it. Only 5% of the country buy luxury cars.

If 1% stop buying luxury cars, that's a 20% drop in business for those carmakers.

For GM - the overall market dropped by about 35% in 2008. They were bankrupt within 6 months because they were already struggling. When there was a dip they fell off the edge. Toyota felt similar pain, but there was no danger of survival.

Same for bars. It doesn't matter what the general population % is. If 40% of their business is smokers and they lose half of those, their business is off by 20%.

And if they're already struggling, this could be the thing that knocks them out.

So some bars will do fine. Some will survive with a downturn in business. Others will go out of business because they're already struggling.

But they might have survived without the extra kick in the head from their servants in Lansing.

And that's the reckless playing with peoples' lives that you don't understand.

Communications guru said...

Sorry, you have given me a crackpot theory that simply does not hold water, and it is not backed up by a single fact or study.

Here’s a fact: only 20.4 percent of the Michigan population smokes. If every single smoker boycotted bars and restaurants, the loss of business could only be 20.4 percent. We have no idea how many people will come back that could not stand smoke for health or personal reasons.

“Reckless playing with peoples' lives that you don't understand?” Here’s what I understand and you choose to ignore: secondhand smoke kills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen containing 4,000 chemicals, including 43 cancer-causing chemicals. In Michigan alone 3,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke. This is a public health issue. Here is another fact that is just a bonus: there have been absolutely no studies that show a negative economic impact resulting from a state-wide or country-wide smoking ban.