Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bigotry and Hatred in Action

And so, the witch hunt continues and begins anew.

Open Market reports:

. . . spurred by the release of the Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke a couple of weeks ago, the chief of police in North Platte, Nebraska has decided that he wants to instruct his officers to arrest parents who smoke in cars when children are present under Nebraska’s child abuse statute. According to Chief Martin Gutschenritter, he and the county attorney’s office are “researching to determine whether law enforcement has probable cause to arrest anyone exposing children to second-hand smoke inside a vehicle.”

In a particularly sad bit of irony, given Nebraska’s child abuse statute—which defines child abuse as “placing a minor child in a situation that endangers his or her life or physical or mental health”—I’d say arresting parents and locking them up for a year is far more abusive to a child’s mental health than smoking in a car is to a child’s physical health.

I’m afraid to ask whether or not smoking in your own home when children are present is next on the list of insidious child abuses to stamp out in North Platte, because with cops like Gutschenritter in charge, it almost certainly is.

Let it sink in: Smoking as probable cause for arrest on child abuse charges. Smoking as probable cause for warrantless entry into your home. Smoking as probably cause to separate you from your child for up to a year. Smoking as probable cause to put you in handcuffs and take you away in front of your children.
On the bright side, if the parent(s) are not imprisoned, but instead fined for $1000, they will have less money to purchase pop and chips for their children, which will help compensate for the expected 5-100 pounds the likely already overweight children are expected to gain once their environment is second hand smoke free. And the activists will have more money for social engineering research.

Comade Gutschenritter, quoted in the North Platte Telegraph:
"If you look at the state statute regarding child abuse, and if you look at the Surgeon General's report, we believe that it's a clear violation," Gutschenritter said. "The fact that the injury isn't immediate, we feel is irrelevant."

Child abuse is a Class I misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. This would be considerably harsher than failing to buckle up a child in a vehicle - an offense punishable by a $25 fine.

"We decided to take this action simply because we feel it's the right thing to do," Gutschenritter said. "If law enforcement doesn't come to the rescue and intervene, who will?"

HT: Billy Beck

Sharing the fog over at Dust my Broom