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Stogie Commentary: The Omaha Smoke Police

25 Oct 2006

Think cops have a little too much time on their hands in your neck of the woods? If so, chances are you haven’t heard about the utterly ridiculous policy Omaha officials are enacting to enforce their new anti-smoking ordinance.

In a draconian move that eerily harks back to Orwell’s 1984, the Nebraska city’s bureaucrats and police departments are actually urging citizens who witness smoking ban infractions to call 9-1-1 (that’s right, the emergency call system). The city, which banned all public smoking on October 2, apparently wants anyone caught lighting up to be immediately confronted by its gun-toting men in blue and slapped with a $100 fine for the first offense.

In case you’re wondering, it’s $200 for the second offense and $500 for the third. The fourth? Death by firing squad. (Well, that’s not necessarily true, but would you be surprised?)

The government-imposed, Nazi-backed ban also applies to bars that serve food and those that don’t have so-called “keno” licenses (which are – you guessed it – permits you have to pay the city for). So, in other words, if you bribe the government, you can keep their secret police out of your private bar.

Now, if you’re like me you’re probably asking yourself, “Is there really anything else for Omaha police to do? I mean, c’mon, it’s Nebraska.” If that were the case, the solution would not be to transform the populace into a bunch of whistle-blowing tattle-tales. The city should instead cut the police department’s budget and let taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

A quick look at Omaha’s crime statistics, however, suggests there are plenty of serious offenses for its cops to deal with. The city’s overall crime index ranks well below the national average. In 2004 alone, there were 20 murders, 187 rapes, 824 armed robberies, and over 1,500 aggravated assaults – a lot of crime for a city with less than 400,000 citizens. Clearly, these offenses are a bit more serious than smoking tobacco.

I think columnist Joseph Farah hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “This kind of insanity, this kind of tyranny, this kind of misguided political correctness is going to be the death of our great country if we’re not careful.” Amen to that.

While I never had the urge to visit Omaha before (after all, they ship their steaks by mail), I certainly don’t have one now. But you have to wonder: Given the speed and ferocity with which anti-smoking zealots’ bans are sweeping the nation, is a fellow citizen calling the cops on you for smoking in your hometown really so inconceivable?

Patrick A

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3 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: The Omaha Smoke Police”

  1. Anonymous Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 6:37 am #

    Un fucking believable. I may have to go to Omaha now and light one up on the street.

  2. James Day Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 9:52 am #

    Well what do you expect from a state which only past time is cow tipping? I bet they even passed this law with a straight face. We should all just get a big bus and all the stogie guys readers take a trip to Omaha and everyone just call 911 at various intervals to report "crimes". Just so we are not committing crimes by falsely calling 911, half the group should smoke in various places and the other half just dials and then we all just bounce.

    While we're at it. Why just the police department, why not get the fire department on the case to put out the dangerousily burning smoke?

    Idiots.

  3. Anonymous Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 11:52 am #

    I'm in. When does the bus leave?