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BradyH1861
03-03-2005, 07:24 PM
Since Three Seven has posed such interesting questions that have provoked thought, debate, and group hugs, I now feel the need to ask one.

How do you feel about drug usage and drug laws? Should drugs be legal? What do you think?

My true feelings on the subject may surprise you. Yes, I am a proud gun owner and pro death penalty, but I think the "war on drugs" is a dangerous thing to all of us.

Why? Well, if you read my signature quote things, you can probably guess that I am anti-government intrusion. (not anti-government) Our founders here in the United States felt that our rights were "inalienable". They came from our Creator. So what does that mean? Our rights do not belong to the government. THey did not give them to us, and they cannot take them away.

So what does this have to do with drugs? The Warren Court in the 1960s issued some very important civil rights rulings. However, once the "war on drugs" was declared, we have seen a steady erosion of our most basic rights. Courts now (including our Supreme Court) take the view that the end justifies the means. In other words, it doesnt matter how you found dope on the person as long as you find it. That flies in the face of 250 some odd years of Constitutional Tradition in this country.

So I am not in favor of legalizing drugs because I think that they are not harmful, etc. Not at all. I am in favor of legalizing them so that we can take our rights back from the government. They belong to all of us and no one else. All power in this country is inherent and derived from the People, not from Congress or the Supreme Court. The war on drugs has been used as the reasoning for stripping away the very foundations of our country. End that war, and we can start to recover the rights that have been stolen from us by these buffoons in robes.

I'd be interested to hear what others think. This is an issue that I struggle a lot with since, obviously, I come into contact with drug use quite a bit. It is one of those things that pulls me two different ways. I think my statement above is an artful dodge of the real issue. Should I be a politician?

:Soapbox:

Brady H.

maestrowork
03-03-2005, 07:44 PM
Hey dude, wazzup... eh, say what? Hmmm... good stuff <giggle>

three seven
03-03-2005, 08:00 PM
I personally don't do drugs. Not on moral grounds, you understand, but simply because I don't like what they've done to people I've known. I've smoked the odd joint, but I don't like the feeling of being stoned (or drunk for that matter, hence I don't drink much either.)
I also feel that there's something pretty wrong with your life if you can't have a good time without being off your face.

If someone wishes to pump themselves full of sh*t, make their life a misery and die an early death then I'm not going to oppose their right to do so. But I do mind if they break into my house, stab me and steal my TV. Or just randomly shoot me in the street. That kind of problem usually stems from crack, heroin, PCP - manufactured drugs, in other words, so I guess in my opinion you can't not have controls on them.

However, just as it's perfectly acceptable for me to pick an apple from a tree or dig up a potato, I demand the right to pluck a leaf from a marijuana plant and smoke it. If it's legal to drink yourself into a state of aggression, it should certainly be legal to smoke yourself to sleep. Provided you're not driving or operating heavy machinery, obviously.

In England (well, certainly in this part of England) you're highly unlikely to be arrested or even thrown out of a pub for smoking a joint. But it's taken years of arguments and investigations to get this far, and it's still not actually legal.
While it sounds like I'm half way my conclusion, I've actually run out of things to say. Great weather we're having, for the time of year anyway.

maestrowork
03-03-2005, 08:24 PM
I'm not advocating one thing or another. But it simply is odd to me that alcohol is legal in this country, but not marijuana. The former does so much more harm to the body, mind and people/families... I mean, for cryin' out loud, they won't even allow medicinal use of marijuana.

So why not treat drug use like alcohol use? Over 21 only. DUI laws extended to drug use. You go to jail if you sell to minors. If you have a problem, go to detox and Drug-user Anonymous... if I want to have a beer and a joint while watching a football game, why not?

Otherwise, ban all drugs, including alcohol and nicotin.

Yeah, right, that would be the day...

Nivvie
03-03-2005, 08:31 PM
I come into contact with drug users a lot, either in my capacity as an embalmer or on the nightshifts I still do as a nurse to make ends meet until I qualify.


I think it's another very grey issue. Like three seven said, weed is just not a big deal here, and it should definitely be made prescribable for MS sufferers.

My big problem is with funding and crime.
I work for a nursing agency and get sent to a variety of placements, some of which are secure and full of addicts. They take up so much tax payers money, and I'm not going to even get started on the OD's that come into the hospital. The drama. The children coming to see mummy who nearly fried herself. The money spent on social workers and care for the children. The multiple problems newborns have after a gestation tainted with drugs.

All the while someone with a genuine health issue completely not of their own making languishes at the bottom of a waiting list.

I don't think addicts should be allowed to care for their own children. Not long ago a two year old boy came in after drinking his dad's methadone. He died. If you can't get yourself clean when the threat of having your children hangs over you, when can you?

Alcohol is dangerous stuff, it can cause so many mental and physical problems, but seeing as that's not going to be made illegal and time soon, then I don't see why weed shouldn't be legalised. Just not everything else.

If hard drugs were legal, crime commited to feed habits would probably escalate, although, staying illegal means that prisons and probation services are cluttered with users, so I don't know.

Spookster
03-03-2005, 08:33 PM
I was thinking the same thing Ray. MOF, hubby and I have discussed this before and we concluded it all boils down to one simple thing. $$$ M-O-N-E-Y$$$. They allow for alcohol because it is taxable, as well as nicotine. If they legalized marajuana, anyone can grow it themselves. No taxes. No $$$ for the gubment. They get testy when they aren't getting their fair share.

ZaZ
03-03-2005, 08:41 PM
Puff Puff Keep.

Melina
03-05-2005, 06:26 PM
I don't do drugs, and I don't drink much. I am in law enforcement, my father is a retired cop and my fiance is in law enforcement. I honestly think marijuana should be legalized. It isn't anywhere near as bad as alcohol, in my opinion. You never hear of anyone getting stoned and beating the crap out of his wife and kids. You never hear of anyone smoking pot and doing anything violent. The government should regulate and tax it, just as they do alcohol and tobacco. Everybody wins--potheads rejoice, cancer patients have some relief from pain, nausea and lack of appetite, Jay Leno becomes funny, and the government makes money from it. Heroin, coke, meth, etc. are a different story, though. Those should never be legalized. They're just too dangerous.

maestrowork
03-05-2005, 06:45 PM
Heroin, coke, meth, etc. are a different story, though. Those should never be legalized. They're just too dangerous.

I agree. These drugs are way too dangerous and addictive to be legalized. I was talking about hemp. And do you know hemp is very useful? It will solve the "tree killing" problem because they make good paper, for one thing.

And spook, the government can solve the MONEY problem by regulating the hemp industry, just as it regulates the alcohol and tobacco industries. I assume that anyone can make beer and alcohol, and grow tobacco if they want, too. But if the government imposes fines on anyone caught growing marijuana themselves, and only allow regulated growers and companies to market them... then everyone is happy.

Renee
03-08-2005, 10:07 AM
I agree Ray, cool you saved me some words there..haha..

rtilryarms
03-09-2005, 06:28 AM
There is nothing wrong with drugs themselves; they just keep bad company.

WVWriterGirl
03-09-2005, 06:58 AM
But the strict, drug enforcement-like regulation of nicotine has started. How many major cities across the US forbid indoor smoking PERIOD? I know that the large(er) city I live close to and work in has outlawed cigarette smoking indoors and anywhere on a sidewalk within fifteen feet of a "portal of ingress or egress".

Now, to me, this makes no sense what so ever. I've never heard of anyone getting "all hopped up on nicotiene" and causing a major fatal accident like a head on collision. I've never seen anyone have to go into a nicotiene treatment facility. I am free to buy cigarettes (although I pay a HEFTY tax on them) and smoke them in my car and in my home. They are a LEGAL PURCHASE. I can jive a little with not smoking in public buildings such as court houses, stores, etc. - it's the restaurants and bars that really get me rolling. The person at the table next to me is allowed to have a cocktail before or a cordial after dinner, which may (or may not) end in someone dying because of a drunk driver, but I can't light a smoke and have what I consider an enjoyable end to my meal.

My solution? Tax the **** outta alcohol the same way they do cigarettes, ban the sale of alcohol in restaurants, and have some sort of system set up so that bars can serve, oh, one alcoholic beverage per customer per visit. Wanna curb drunk driving deaths? Try that. Lay off the smokers - they're only hurting themselves, and believe me, we know all about it now. It's an informed decision that I make to smoke.

And give me back my smoking section!

WVWG

katiemac
03-09-2005, 06:59 AM
So why not treat drug use like alcohol use? Over 21 only.

Actually, I do think this is the place where the US messed up. There shouldn't be an age restriction at all -- and I don't say this because I'm underage, I really think it's the truth.

In other countries, namely France, there isn't an age limit. Kids the age of three can have all the wine they want, and you basically grow up on the stuff. There's no "need" to run around and get trashed every weekend. Sure, the occassional over drinkers happen, but I don't think it's nearly to the extent the US has in drinking problems. This isn't just about teenagers, either, it's about adults too.

However, there's no way they could revert the system now (like they ever would). There would be far too much chaos in the current generations, and the norms of our culture will still wish parents to prohibit their kids from drinking at early ages....

Oh well. That's my two cents, there just can't be anything done about it now.

reph
03-09-2005, 07:16 AM
If hard drugs were legal, crime commited to feed habits would probably escalate....
I usually hear the opposite argument: if hard drugs were legal, they'd be cheaper, and crime would decline because crackheads wouldn't need so much money.

Wandering Sensei
03-09-2005, 11:08 AM
I am SOOO glad they're outlawing smoking in public places! Now there are a couple places where I'll actually be able to breathe. A lot of smokers seem to feel that people with lung diseases should be outlawed. Or maybe put in detention camps.

AncientEagle
03-09-2005, 11:35 PM
But the strict, drug enforcement-like regulation of nicotine has started. How many major cities across the US forbid indoor smoking PERIOD? I know that the large(er) city I live close to and work in has outlawed cigarette smoking indoors and anywhere on a sidewalk within fifteen feet of a "portal of ingress or egress".

Now, to me, this makes no sense what so ever. I've never heard of anyone getting "all hopped up on nicotiene" and causing a major fatal accident like a head on collision. I've never seen anyone have to go into a nicotiene treatment facility. I am free to buy cigarettes (although I pay a HEFTY tax on them) and smoke them in my car and in my home. They are a LEGAL PURCHASE. I can jive a little with not smoking in public buildings such as court houses, stores, etc. - it's the restaurants and bars that really get me rolling. The person at the table next to me is allowed to have a cocktail before or a cordial after dinner, which may (or may not) end in someone dying because of a drunk driver, but I can't light a smoke and have what I consider an enjoyable end to my meal.

My solution? Tax the **** outta alcohol the same way they do cigarettes, ban the sale of alcohol in restaurants, and have some sort of system set up so that bars can serve, oh, one alcoholic beverage per customer per visit. Wanna curb drunk driving deaths? Try that. Lay off the smokers - they're only hurting themselves, and believe me, we know all about it now. It's an informed decision that I make to smoke.

And give me back my smoking section!

WVWG

I was a heavy smoker for 30 years. I enjoyed it, and I know what addiction feels like. But now I have better sense. I don't mind if other people want to smoke, just don't make me breathe it. If you drink a cocktail at the next table while I'm enjoying my meal, that doesn't endanger my health. If you smoke a cigarette, it does. Puff away, just not where I have to share a cigarette I don't want. And please don't tell me to stay home so you can smoke where you please.

veinglory
03-10-2005, 01:37 AM
I am not very interested in drugs beyond the odd glass of wine. As far as society in general goes it must be a balance. For example taking drugs and driving is bad, but jailing both parents of minors for marijuana use is also mad. The outcomes is the important thing -- people shouldn't damage others by using drugs and the state shouldn't react disproportionately.

WVWriterGirl
03-10-2005, 06:49 AM
If I drink a cocktail at the table next to you after my meal, how do you know I'm not endangering your life? What if my server/bartender doesn't know just how well-lit (no pun intended) I am, and gives me that last drink that takes me over the edge, makes me too drunk to drive and I kill someone (maybe you?) on my way home?

I would never begrudge anyone from having an enjoyable dining experience, but it seems to me that people have set out to begrudge me from having the same enjoyable experience. Before the complete ban in our town, restaurants were required to have a separate ventilation system and separate room for the smoking section. I was perfectly happy to sit in the smoking section, where my smoke wouldn't bother anyone. I'm even fine if a private restaurant or chain of restaurants desires that there is no smoking inside it (I probably won't frequent it, but I'll abide by their rules). What I take offense at is the government telling me that even though the restaurant I'm in has taken all possible and mandated precautions against my smoke offending someone, they still take the smoking section away. It's even spread to bars now (although I'm not a drinker) and the ordinance has put several establishments under. When an ordinance/law impedes on someone's ability to make a living, that's where I take issue.

By all means, tell me what I'm doing to my body by smoking. Believe me I've heard it all before, I've seen the pictures. I wouldn't force you to stand next to me when I smoke - I'm happy in my smoking section, or outside on the patio. But please, don't make me go stand in the street (as the "15 feet from a door" part seems to indicate). I'll follow the rules (albeit unhappily), but let's at least make the rules fair for all of us. The worst part about this was that it is a County Health Department rule, which means that it wasn't voted on by the public.

I understand that some disagree with me simply because I smoke. If that's the case, that's fine with me. But try to set aside that disagreement and try to look at the law objectively - it honestly isn't fair to smokers. I believe we deserve the right to enjoy our vice just as the drinkers do, and I think that both should have rules regarding thier consumption. It seems like it's a little weighted, and it's only going to get worse. I can see regulations regarding smoking in your car on the horizon...

WVWG

Nivvie
03-10-2005, 12:10 PM
If I drink a cocktail at the table next to you after my meal, how do you know I'm not endangering your life? What if my server/bartender doesn't know just how well-lit (no pun intended) I am, and gives me that last drink that takes me over the edge, makes me too drunk to drive and I kill someone (maybe you?) on my way home?

I would never begrudge anyone from having an enjoyable dining experience, but it seems to me that people have set out to begrudge me from having the same enjoyable experience. Before the complete ban in our town, restaurants were required to have a separate ventilation system and separate room for the smoking section. I was perfectly happy to sit in the smoking section, where my smoke wouldn't bother anyone. I'm even fine if a private restaurant or chain of restaurants desires that there is no smoking inside it (I probably won't frequent it, but I'll abide by their rules). What I take offense at is the government telling me that even though the restaurant I'm in has taken all possible and mandated precautions against my smoke offending someone, they still take the smoking section away. It's even spread to bars now (although I'm not a drinker) and the ordinance has put several establishments under. When an ordinance/law impedes on someone's ability to make a living, that's where I take issue.

By all means, tell me what I'm doing to my body by smoking. Believe me I've heard it all before, I've seen the pictures. I wouldn't force you to stand next to me when I smoke - I'm happy in my smoking section, or outside on the patio. But please, don't make me go stand in the street (as the "15 feet from a door" part seems to indicate). I'll follow the rules (albeit unhappily), but let's at least make the rules fair for all of us. The worst part about this was that it is a County Health Department rule, which means that it wasn't voted on by the public.

I understand that some disagree with me simply because I smoke. If that's the case, that's fine with me. But try to set aside that disagreement and try to look at the law objectively - it honestly isn't fair to smokers. I believe we deserve the right to enjoy our vice just as the drinkers do, and I think that both should have rules regarding thier consumption. It seems like it's a little weighted, and it's only going to get worse. I can see regulations regarding smoking in your car on the horizon...

WVWG

I have nothing huge against smoking sections, but as someone who's done my time behind a bar the root of it is staff problems.
My aunt died of passive smoking due to her husband, and as I see it, it was her choice to live with him. Although at first she didn't know what was happening to her, after her first tumour she did, and she didn't kick him out or make him stop, so she not completely blame free.

We had a patient a while back who sucessfully sued her company as her passive smoking cancer was due to being trapped in an office with smokers, and that's where it all changes. For a bar to have sucessful segregation the staff would have to be given the choice not to enter that area, so even if the owner chose to remain a smoking establishment, staffing might be a problem. Plus everyone is scared of being sued, and cancer mixed with work related issues is a big payout.

paprikapink
03-10-2005, 12:30 PM
Years ago I was in cafe in San Francisco sipping a latte and writing when I was joined by a fellow who wanted to chat. He was a veteran drug enforcement type cop from San Diego in town on family business. I had never talked to an actual "narc" before. I asked him why drugs were illegal. Not to challenge him, I just really wanted to know. He said oh the horrors he'd seen and named a few. I asked him how much of those horrors were the direct result of the drug use, vs how much were the result of the illegal activity and if even the drug use horrors wouldn't be lessened if it were legal and regulated. He opened his mouth to answer and then just kinda froze. "Well. Now you have given me something to think about. I don't have an answer for that." I had to leave right then and we said good-by. I'm sure in the intervening years he's thought of an answer, but I've wondered since that day what it was, and if he is satisfied with it.

-pkpk

paprikapink
03-10-2005, 12:42 PM
And as for the smoking...WVWritergirl, I love ya to pieces (well, I think you're a fine writer and poster!) but while there is some chance that the boozers at the next table may run over me or fall on me, it's not a huge chance, whereas if someone is smoking near me, there is a 100% certainty that I will be coughing and choking. Eyes watering, face red. Totally unattractive. It bums me out big time because I love the smokey club ambience; I just can't handle it anymore.

Air is very important and tremendously popular. Like water. Most public and private pools have no peeing rules. The cloud of smoke is analagous to that unnerving warm spot in the pool. Although the warm spot is not implicated in any cancer studies.

-pkpk

Nivvie
03-10-2005, 12:57 PM
Actually, I do think this is the place where the US messed up. There shouldn't be an age restriction at all -- and I don't say this because I'm underage, I really think it's the truth.

In other countries, namely France, there isn't an age limit. Kids the age of three can have all the wine they want, and you basically grow up on the stuff. There's no "need" to run around and get trashed every weekend. Sure, the occassional over drinkers happen, but I don't think it's nearly to the extent the US has in drinking problems. This isn't just about teenagers, either, it's about adults too.

However, there's no way they could revert the system now (like they ever would). There would be far too much chaos in the current generations, and the norms of our culture will still wish parents to prohibit their kids from drinking at early ages....

Oh well. That's my two cents, there just can't be anything done about it now.

Err, no. Kids of 3 cannot have all the wine they want. There is still age restrictions on the consumption and purchase of alcohol on and off premises unless accompanied by a parent. Parents are trusted to monitor their children's intake, and in some of these countries they are still fobidden to drink spirits until 18, along with beer.
My mother is Italian and I have lived in France, Italy, Germany and Finland with regards to Europe. I was given wine as a child, but it was so watered down and only with a meals, that it barely counted.
There is not a huge alcoholism in these countries as it's not the culture. Being drunk is not acceptable.
In Sweden you cannot even have the slightest drink and drive, and in Germany there are still all the restrictions and people love their beer, but there is not the level of loud addiction. Just in the same way they have a great welfare package, and you are usually better off not working, but there is so mauch shame attached to claiming it people don't usually take advantage. It's just a different way of thinking.

The need to go out and get "trashed" at weekends has a lot more to do with the life of those doing it than the age they were allowed to start doing it. In France they work an average of a 38 hour week, it's the law. They've never pushed things like the US and UK. People take 2 hour lunch breaks, the whole society is more relaxed. In the UK and US tons of people (myself included) have to work more than one job, have kids to look after and come the weekend (myself not included) an urge to blott all that away. And that 'therapy' is addictive.

It's mirrored in the US and UK obesity figures. These are glutton countries, excess is enjoyed and there is always a thirst for more of everything. There is too much of everything, and it's supply and demand. In a German supermarket there's a good selection, but not a whole isle of different toilet cleaners, a hundred different breakfast cereals.

Oh dear, wandered a bit offtopic...

AncientEagle
03-10-2005, 09:14 PM
If I drink a cocktail at the table next to you after my meal, how do you know I'm not endangering your life? What if my server/bartender doesn't know just how well-lit (no pun intended) I am, and gives me that last drink that takes me over the edge, makes me too drunk to drive and I kill someone (maybe you?) on my way home?

I would never begrudge anyone from having an enjoyable dining experience, but it seems to me that people have set out to begrudge me from having the same enjoyable experience. Before the complete ban in our town, restaurants were required to have a separate ventilation system and separate room for the smoking section. I was perfectly happy to sit in the smoking section, where my smoke wouldn't bother anyone. I'm even fine if a private restaurant or chain of restaurants desires that there is no smoking inside it (I probably won't frequent it, but I'll abide by their rules). What I take offense at is the government telling me that even though the restaurant I'm in has taken all possible and mandated precautions against my smoke offending someone, they still take the smoking section away. It's even spread to bars now (although I'm not a drinker) and the ordinance has put several establishments under. When an ordinance/law impedes on someone's ability to make a living, that's where I take issue.

By all means, tell me what I'm doing to my body by smoking. Believe me I've heard it all before, I've seen the pictures. I wouldn't force you to stand next to me when I smoke - I'm happy in my smoking section, or outside on the patio. But please, don't make me go stand in the street (as the "15 feet from a door" part seems to indicate). I'll follow the rules (albeit unhappily), but let's at least make the rules fair for all of us. The worst part about this was that it is a County Health Department rule, which means that it wasn't voted on by the public.

I understand that some disagree with me simply because I smoke. If that's the case, that's fine with me. But try to set aside that disagreement and try to look at the law objectively - it honestly isn't fair to smokers. I believe we deserve the right to enjoy our vice just as the drinkers do, and I think that both should have rules regarding thier consumption. It seems like it's a little weighted, and it's only going to get worse. I can see regulations regarding smoking in your car on the horizon...

WVWG

I admit I came on a little strong in my previous post on this subject. Nobody is more likely to preach abstinence than a reformed drunk, and I guess the same goes for a reformed smoker. My "warped-ness" on the subject comes from several things: (1) Embarassment when I remember the times I smoked constantly and thoughtlessly in close proximity to non-smokers, never even thinking of how it was affecting them. (2) Concern when an old acquaintance died last week of lung cancer; he had stopped smoking as long ago as I did, a very long time, and it still got him. I wonder if I'm next. (3) Watching my invalid wife, a lifelong non-smoker and one of whose few pleasures is dining out, be aggravated by tobacco smoke drifting over her from the nearby "smoking area," which we can't move away from because we are seated at the only spot where her wheelchair can fit close enough to the table for her to eat and also be out of the way of passing servers and customers. (4) Watching my brother, a heavy smoker, die of lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain.

I share your concern for the State meddling in citizens' private affairs. I do believe there has to be a balance between everybody's rights - sometimes that doesn't happen without some coercion from government at some level. I think the issue of someone having the freedom to drink at the table next to me is seperate from the issue of their being policed to prevent them from killing me out on the highway, just as I think the issue of someone having the freedom to smoke while they drive down the highway is seperate from the issue of their being policed (or policing themselves) to prevent them from killing me, or endangering my health, or infringing upon my rights, inside the restaurant.

Again, though, I apologize for the harsh sound of my previous comments. There are at least two sides to this issue, and rational discussion, without anger, is a good idea.

Wandering Sensei
03-10-2005, 10:14 PM
My antismoking stance comes from the fact that I have severe asthma, pretty much caused by being a passive smoker for the first twenty years of my life. (My mother would blow cigarette smoke in my face to "prove" I wasn't asthmatic, then get mad when my lungs would close up and I wouldn't be able to breathe.) Cigarette smoke is a dangerous poison, and it doesn't stay put. I'm also overweight and have high cholesterol, but if I eat a Krispy Kreme, this is not affecting the health or cholesterol of a person I'm eating with. The Krispy Kreme stays put. The smoke doesn't. The drifting cigarette smoke that the smoker insists isn't hurting me a bit, may cause the fatal asthma attack that kills me.

Smoking is legal and will probably stay legal. Many smokers are very fine people who happen to have a legal addiction. But I think it's totally fair that I don't want my health damaged by what they choose to do to their system.

Paprika, I like your peeing in the pool analogy. Very spot on.

BradyH1861
03-10-2005, 10:31 PM
Lot's of good replies here! I smoke (it is a fireman's habit, after all), so I feel I should say something here. Personally, I think if the owner of a resteraunt wants to permit or prohibit smoking, it is their right. The government (state, federal, local) has NO business telling the owner how they can run their business. If you do not want to eat around smokers, you do not have to go to that resteraunt. If you want to eat and smoke, you know which places allow it.

Now, as far as work place smoking goes, I think in most places an employer has the right to not hire someone because they smoke...at least I am pretty sure they can in Texas. An attorney friend told me that once. In fact, some police and fire departments are starting to require employees to be non-smokers for a year before they can be hired and maintain that status throughout their employment. That'll never happen where I work!
As far as the drug topic goes, I too think that alcohol is our great social evil, not drug use.

Brady H. (who is about to light another cig)

katiemac
03-10-2005, 11:45 PM
Err, no. Kids of 3 cannot have all the wine they want. There is still age restrictions on the consumption and purchase of alcohol on and off premises unless accompanied by a parent. Parents are trusted to monitor their children's intake, and in some of these countries they are still fobidden to drink spirits until 18, along with beer.
My mother is Italian and I have lived in France, Italy, Germany and Finland with regards to Europe. I was given wine as a child, but it was so watered down and only with a meals, that it barely counted.
There is not a huge alcoholism in these countries as it's not the culture. Being drunk is not acceptable.

Thanks, Nivvie. Perhaps I got a little over zealous with my examples; you're right, kids most certainly cannot have all the wine they want. But the point I was trying to make, which you also underlined, is that the differences in culture, being around and aware and accustomed to these beverages at an early age, drastically decreases that "urge" to go out and drink the moment you're 21, and for most kids, much earlier before that.

If you can drink wine with your meals as a child (as watered down as it may be) it's not going to mean nearly as much to you later when you can get that pure glass of wine. Teens in the US just don't have that familiarity, and it gets way out of hand.

Good habits are learned at an early age.

AncientEagle
03-11-2005, 07:37 AM
Lot's of good replies here! I smoke (it is a fireman's habit, after all), so I feel I should say something here. Personally, I think if the owner of a resteraunt wants to permit or prohibit smoking, it is their right. The government (state, federal, local) has NO business telling the owner how they can run their business. If you do not want to eat around smokers, you do not have to go to that resteraunt. If you want to eat and smoke, you know which places allow it.



But governments tell owners all the time how they can run their businesses. They're told how many patrons can pack into the place, what kind of signage they can have, required to have handicap access, and required to maintain certain sanitation standards. All in the name of having places that are licensed to do business with the public be available to ALL the public, as well as safe and reasonably healthy for that public.

If you look at your statement from the other side, what it says is that, if all the owners in my town opt to allow smoking, then the ones of us who choose to breathe air instead of smoke will just have to stay home and eat a can of beans. My choices will be dictated by those who suck on a lighted tube of paper with dried leaves stuffed in it.

I really don't care if people smoke, if they don't make me do it. I did for many years, up to four packs a day. I lit one as soon as I turned the alarm off in the morning, before even turning on a light or sitting up in the bed. And I stubbed the last one out just as I turned the light out and pulled the cover up at night. Some smokers claimed they really didn't smoke that much, they just "let them burn up in the ash tray." Not me. I smoked every one, sucked that stuff into my lungs and loved it, couldn't do without it. Only when I saw my little boy crossing his legs like me and puffing on a straw, "just like daddy," did I gain the courage to quit. It was a long, difficult struggle. Now that I'm free, I don't think I ought to be made to choose between either sucking in a poison involuntarily or staying home.

Incidentally, if you choose to quit, you can join Smokers Anonymous. They pair you up with a buddy. When it's late at night, you're all alone, and you feel you are about to break down and light up, you call your buddy. He'll come over and gets drunk with you. (joke)

BradyH1861
03-11-2005, 08:36 PM
You have exposed me for the hypocrit that I am! I have no problem citing or arresting an owner of a bar or club who has too many people packed into it. Or at least I didn't have a problem with it. I did not spend that much time in our inspection division. There was a real lack of excitement there.

The problem lies with finding a happy medium. See, one person's rights end where another's begin so to speak. And therein lies the problem. Consider your analogy. If all the resteraunt owners in your town choose NOT to allow smoking, then it will be me sitting at home eating cans of beans. See what I mean? There is no happy medium....at least not one that I can find.

I have a three year old son. So I do not smoke in the house, in the car, or at resteraunts. (at least if he is with us) It isnt fair to him. So rain or shine, I go sit on my bench along the fence in the backyard to have my cigarette. Of course, we are allowed to smoke on the job, so that is one good thing I guess.

I smoke, but I am perfectly capable of eating a meal without having one. I would think that it would be the same for other smokers, but I have a measly pack a day habit. I'm sure other more hardcore smokers might have a problem with doing that....but I don't know.

Brady H.

ChunkyC
03-11-2005, 09:36 PM
Lay off the smokers - they're only hurting themselves,
No, they're not. Every breath a smoker exhales contains a cocktail of carcinogens. Even standing next to a smoker who isn't currently puffing puts a person at risk of getting cancer. The smoke is clinging to the smoker's hair, their clothes ... they walk around with a cloud of carcinogens engulfing them everywhere they go. If I can smell cigarettes off someone, those carcinogens are already inside my body. No one has the right to do that to me. And, no one has the right to force me to avoid going where I wish to go in public in order to avoid this source of carcinogens.


If I drink a cocktail at the table next to you after my meal, how do you know I'm not endangering your life?
That's an enormous assumption. Odds are their cocktail will have no impact on your life whatsoever. Yet it is guaranteed that if you sit next to me and have a cigarette, my chance of getting cancer has significantly increased.


When an ordinance/law impedes on someone's ability to make a living, that's where I take issue.
Agreed. But it works both ways. If my life's desire is to work in a nightclub and I don't want to be exposed to carcinogens from cigarette smoke but nightclubs allow smoking, I'm prevented from earning a living doing what I love.

The problem lies with finding a happy medium. See, one person's rights end where another's begin so to speak. And therein lies the problem. Consider your analogy. If all the resteraunt owners in your town choose NOT to allow smoking, then it will be me sitting at home eating cans of beans. See what I mean? There is no happy medium....at least not one that I can find.
No matter what, one group is going to have to give something up. If anyone has to, it should be the group that is pouring carcinogens into the air, not the one that isn't.

If a business is open to the public, that means all of the public. Why should I be kept away from a place that, for example, serves the best steak in town, because it allows smokers? Why should I, the person who is not putting other people's health at risk, be the one who has to do without?

I understand that some disagree with me simply because I smoke.
That's not true. If a non-smoker held your opinions on smoking, I would disagree with them too.

Bottom line, a smoker's right to smoke does not supercede my right to continue breathing. I can't choose not to breathe.


I have a three year old son. So I do not smoke in the house, in the car, or at resteraunts. (at least if he is with us) It isnt fair to him. So rain or shine, I go sit on my bench along the fence in the backyard to have my cigarette.
Brady, you're a great guy who does a remarkable job that I respect no end. What you are doing does make a difference for him. Yet I worry it is not enough, so I offer this from a position of caring: every time you pick up your son, he's breathing in the stale smoke that clings to you and everything you wear, just as I described above. The furniture in your house picks this up every time you sit on a chair or your sofa. The drapes, even the walls are gradually becoming tainted with carcinogens. I know this, I have a friend who does just what you do for their two children, yet all I have to do is open their front door and I can smell the acrid sting of stale cigarette smoke. I have been forced for the sake of my own health to stop visiting their home for this reason. The only real way to protect your son from the detrimental health effects of the tobacco you ingest is to quit outright. Again, please consider this a well meaning entreaty from one who gives a damn about the quality and length of everyone's lives.

BradyH1861
03-11-2005, 09:57 PM
Brady, you're a great guy who does a remarkable job that I respect no end. What you are doing does make a difference for him. Yet I worry it is not enough, so I offer this from a position of caring: every time you pick up your son, he's breathing in the stale smoke that clings to you and everything you wear, just as I described above. The furniture in your house picks this up every time you sit on a chair or your sofa. The drapes, even the walls are gradually becoming tainted with carcinogens. I know this, I have a friend who does just what you do for their two children, yet all I have to do is open their front door and I can smell the acrid sting of stale cigarette smoke. I have been forced for the sake of my own health to stop visiting their home for this reason. The only real way to protect your son from the detrimental health effects of the tobacco you ingest is to quit outright. Again, please consider this a well meaning entreaty from one who gives a damn about the quality and length of everyone's lives.

Thanks CC. I hear what you are saying. I "eat smoke" for a living, so my death from cancer is pretty much pre-ordained. Even firefighters who do not smoke usually end up dying from it anyway. When I finally quit, it will not be for my sake (for the reason stated above) but for his. And word is we are about to see another hike in the tax around these parts too. That will be the other reason. Thanks again.

Brady H.

Nivvie
03-11-2005, 10:01 PM
I have a three year old son. So I do not smoke in the house, in the car, or at resteraunts. (at least if he is with us) It isnt fair to him. So rain or shine, I go sit on my bench along the fence in the backyard to have my cigarette. Of course, we are allowed to smoke on the job, so that is one good thing I guess.


Ahh, that sounds just like my cousin. He used to go out onto the patio to smoke, to protect his little ones, but then he died of cancer from his 20 a day habit at 32. You can't protect your kids if you're not around.

I don't mean to sound all nasty and bitter, by I can't help but feel that my own father chose smoking over his children, over being there for us, seeing us marry, his grandchildren, etc.

If no one loves you, no one will cry at your funeral, then do what the hell you like, but if there are those that rely on you, you own it to hem to stay alive as long as you can.

I am a nurse and youngest person I have seen die from cancerous tar filled lungs was 26. People need to wake up.

BradyH1861
03-11-2005, 10:36 PM
I know I cannot protect my son if I am not around. I am normally not around. People who say or think that firemen or policemen are heroes have it all wrong. Our wives and children are the heroes. When my wife kisses me goodbye in the morning, she knows that she might not see me again. She's been to the funerals just as I have. The department is my life, for better or worse, and I do put the job ahead of my family already. That is a sacrifice that we have to make.

For the reason stated in my previous post, the idea of dying of cancer is not something that I worry about simply because I know that is probably what I am going to die from as it is. From the job, not necessarily from the nicotine.

It is funny to me how many people are anti-smoking, yet there are so few who are anti-drinking. I can state with certainty that I have never seen a person driving under the influence of tobacco veer into oncoming traffic and kill an entire family. Nor have I seen anyone who has been smoking come home and beat their wife and kids (unless of course, they had been drinking). Alcohol has a profound negative impact on society, yet so many people choose to focus on smoking as the great evil. Don't get me wrong, I think smoking is a nasty habit. I am not proud that I do it. BUT there are worse things out there.

That is also the basis for my not having a problem with certain types of drugs. The pot user rarely hurts anyone but himself. I have never seen a car accident, assault, homicide, etc started by a person who has been smoking a joint. Maybe others have, but I havent. But I have seen people who have come home drunk, gotten angry, and killed the wife. See where I am coming from?

I guess we all have things we do not like. I agree, people do need to wake up. But you can't say it is wrong to do X and not wrong to do Y. You have seen a 26 year old die from cancer. That was his choice (I am assuming he was a smoker) But it wasn't the infant's choice to be killed by the drunk driver. And I have seen a few of those.

Brady H.

Nivvie
03-11-2005, 11:12 PM
I guess we all have things we do not like. I agree, people do need to wake up. But you can't say it is wrong to do X and not wrong to do Y. You have seen a 26 year old die from cancer. That was his choice (I am assuming he was a smoker) But it wasn't the infant's choice to be killed by the drunk driver. And I have seen a few of those.

Brady H.

Oh, I am pretty much a nasty nurse / trainee embalmer who hates all drinking/smoking/drugs and the like. I am the annoying person that reminds everyone what they did whilst drunk.

My problem stems from working in a cash starved NHS, where smokers, drinkers and obese people take all the funding and those who try their best to look after themself are more likely to have to wait for months in pain.

You mentioned the career thing and that also reminded me of my 32 year old dead cousin, who was a policeman in a horrible place, and I think he was well aware that he could be killed at any point. It had to impact his view of death.

I once read that a large propotion of people that skydive/bungee jump all that kind of death sport stuff have careers that are close to death.

In my embalmer world people seem to think nothing of flying off to Iraq to embalm troops, bringing bodies back from all kinds of trouble spots, whereas I'm still a bit freaked by all that.

BradyH1861
03-11-2005, 11:33 PM
I know a guy who runs a funeral home and does embalming and things of that nature. Now I am as "comfortable" as one can get around the recently deceased, but if I were working alone, late at night among the departed, I would be a little scared. I've probably seen Night of the Living Dead too many times.

I think you are right about views on death. I have an "if it happens it happens" kind of outlook. Most people I know in similar professions feel the same or similar.

Also, I have heard the same about the skydivers and bungee folks. Me....I'd never do it. I tempt fate when I'm on the job, so I do not think it wise for me to tempt fate in my free time. But a lot of people who work in jobs that run on adrenaline often do those type things in their off time to experience "the rush."
Brady H.

ChunkyC
03-11-2005, 11:55 PM
You are so right about the drinking and other choices we make that end up causing pain and suffering, Brady. I used to work at a motel front desk, and the boss always said that if we had choose between renting to a bunch of drunks or a group of pot-heads, rent to the pot-heads. Why? The drunks are likely to disturb the neighbors and trash the room, whereas the pot-heads will keep to themselves and spend all their spare change in the candy and drink machines. (An aside: I wouldn't want a pot smoker blowing tokes in my face any more than a cigarette smoker.)

I smoked and drank and did drugs, and have quit all of them. I found alcohol the most difficult to stop using. Alcohol abuse is evil. Drug abuse is evil. The key word is abuse. If drunks could magically have the wherewithal to stay away from cars and guns while drinking, the world would be a better place. Unfortunately, both those severely impair judgement as we all know.

I don't know what the answer is, except perhaps education. By that I mean making sure that the true nature of all these beasts are made widely known, so that a culture of abstinance might slowly arise. Kids might grow up not looking forward to being able to drink or smoke or do drugs like many of us did, but would decide well before they start that they want no part of them.

Brady, amen to what you said about the loved ones who wait at home for you and your compatriots. I salute them as well as you for the sacrifices you make to keep the rest of us safe.

BradyH1861
03-12-2005, 12:05 AM
CC,

I'm the opposite. I had my last drink on September 10, 2001. I worked the next day and saw the events unfold on the TV. I swore that I would never drink again. Why? I have absolutely no idea. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. But I had no problems with it whatsoever. I haven't so much as even wished for a drink since then. But being married to a recovering alocholic may have something to do with that. She turned to alcohol to cope with worrying about me. (I was already doing what I do when we got married) Then when I got hurt and spent a couple of months in the hospital, she got worse. She's been sober for six months now. So that might have made it easier for me. Of course, that also partially explains my feelings on alcohol.

Its the smokes that I cannot give up. And the funny thing is, I know I have the will to do it. I guess I lack the desire. One day though. One day.

Guess we all have our little differences. The doc told me once that he thought that nicotine was more addictive than cocaine or heroin. I'm starting to think that perhaps he was right.

Brady H.

paprikapink
03-12-2005, 12:31 AM
Just one little more thing about smokes and kids, which is also about everything and kids, and which I know you already know, but it's so true it bears repeating. They are watching you. Words don't matter, actions do. We all know that we can talk till we're blue in the face and they might try to do what we say for a day or two, or maybe a minute. But watching you silently for 5 minutes, they've picked up behaviors they'll have for the rest of their lives.

Who says "Be the change you want to see in the world"? It maps directly to parents and kids. :heart:

-pkpk

ChunkyC
03-12-2005, 12:37 AM
The doc told me once that he thought that nicotine was more addictive than cocaine or heroin.
How true! I did find quitting smoking very difficult, but fortunately I was 21 and had only been smoking for six years, though I was already up to a pack and a half a day when I quit.

With me, the alcohol was the killer drug. My dad was an alcoholic and died from it. I became one and it looked for a while like it might get me too. I would sit down to watch a hockey game by myself and by the time it was over, a dozen or more beer bottles would be sitting empty on the coffeetable. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife of 13+ years) said she was amazed at how not-drunk I would appear even after scarfing down that much booze. Thing is, I drank like that every day, and when I actually partied ... lets just say I have the scars to remind me, both physical and mental.

The last time I took a drink was May 7, 1987 and even now as I type this, the thought of a nice cold foamy beer is making me salivate. It's a battle I will fight until my dying day. I'm just grateful to be alive to fight that battle, and that dying day is a lot further in the future than it might have been.

BradyH1861
03-12-2005, 12:38 AM
Very true. I'll never forget the time my mother called and asked where my son learned the "f" word. Had to start watching my mouth after that.

Brady H.

WVWriterGirl
03-12-2005, 06:53 AM
I appreciate the wide range of opinions, and I do feel for all of you who have lost loved ones to cancer due to smoking. A very dear friend of mine is on the cusp of losing that battle (his started with leukemia, although smoking has caused the spread of it to his lungs). As I said, I would never do any of the things any of you have illustrated - granted, I don't eat out as much as I used to (restrictions + cash flow issues) but I go by the rules. My only point, through all of this, is that I don't think it's fair. But hey, life ain't fair, either, is it?

In our state, Brady, there's no law that says they can not hire you because you smoke - although I'm sure there are businesses that have that rule in place, but privately.

It's been a great discussion; I always enjoy seeing what the "other side" has to say about the issue.

Something funny I heard on a local talk radio station about smoking/smokers the other day:

Announcer 1: "When it's the wintertime, and cold outside, and your breath makes steam, how does a smoker know when to stop breathing out?"

Person in the car with me: "Yeah, well, when it's summertime, and you can't see your breath, how does a non-smoker know when to stop breathing out?"

Not really all that funny now...nearly wrecked the car from laughter at the time...

WVWG

AncientEagle
03-12-2005, 08:28 AM
I would never go so far as to defend the abuse of alcohol. But I think the key word is "abuse." There is a theoretically safe level of alcohol use, though I know this is not really true for those who are alcoholics or inclined through chemistry or whatever to become alcoholics. But there is at least presumed to be a safe level of use. There is, on the other hand, no safe level of use for tobacco. If alcohol is used moderately, you can live a long, healthy life. If tobacco is put to its intended use, it will kill.

I realize I am speaking as someone who is fortunate to be able to use alcohol moderately without becoming addicted to it. There was a time, in my youth, when I regularly drank to excess. Eventually that became too painful to tolerate and I learned not to do it. Thank God I was able to cut back with no problem, and I now have one or two drinks occasionally, a cold beer maybe once every two or three months, and can enjoy it as an extra pleasure that makes life slightly more enjoyable but the absence of which is no big thing. That was not true with tobacco. I was more addicted to it than I could ever have imagined becoming.

I second those comments as to the value of this discussion. I have benefited by reading the different viewpoints, none of which have offended me. I hope nothing I have said has offended anyone else.

paprikapink
03-12-2005, 08:33 AM
Bring on the group hug! :Hug2:

-pkpk

BradyH1861
03-12-2005, 09:24 PM
:Hug2: BLH

ChunkyC
03-12-2005, 09:39 PM
Indeed, great discussion, everyone.