Freedom of choice

Dear Editor:

The Hancock County Health Department and the county commissioners met again to discuss a proposed countywide ban on smoking. We’ve already heard from those who wish to see the habit banned on the grounds of health, and from those who want to maintain the status quo in fear of economic harm to their business.

The one thing I haven’t heard mentioned yet is this: What, exactly, is and should be, the role of any governing body in our private lives? At what point does responsibility for public health end, and personal intrusion begin?

It would seem reasonable for a public, governing, law-making entity to pass and enforce whatever laws they see fit in regards to public buildings schools, courthouses, etc. But in a land originally founded on the principle of freedom of choice, to impose those laws on others – on people who have worked hard to build a business, people who go to work every day, pay their taxes, help their neighbors to impose public law on private lives seems the very antithesis of our founding principles.

As it stands now, there are both smoking and non-smoking facilities in this county and everyone has the right to choose which ones they frequent. That’s not good enough for the non-smoking faction they want it all. Apparently they don’t believe in freedom of choice, unless, perhaps, they are the ones doing the choosing.

To tell a person who owns such a facility, a person who has put in long hours, who may have put their entire life’s savings on the line to start a business, who spends far too much time away from their family because businesses don’t run themselves and the family has to be provided for to tell such a person that they have no right to run their business as they deem fit, demeans them. It says they, and their business, are not worthy of your consideration.

This ban will effectively remove the right of freedom of choice from an entire segment of the population and, in America, ladies and gentlemen, that is wrong.

Becky Wiegers