Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Open The Damn Window!




A young boy in Connecticut – Justin Kavadas, age 10 – is responsible for a piece of legislation now working its way through the state legislature. The bill in question would ban smoking in cars with children present. The whole story, though, at least as reported in the news, sounds a little weird.

First, it begins to seem as though this young man has simply learned the art of grandstanding at an early age because there is no research supporting the idea that this is even much of a problem. With less than twenty-five percent of Americans even smokers these days, the incidence of children riding in a car with a smoker with the windows closed (Important point: if the smoker keeps a window open the smoking is not a problem) has got to be terribly small. This, of course, doesn’t lessen the presence of stinky, if not unhealthy, air when it does happen. It only suggests that state legislatures ought to be concerned about things that affect lots of people.

Second, the young man states that his bill is necessary because children find it difficult to speak to adults. This is doubly odd, since this particular young man had no hesitation in speaking in support of his bill before the entire Connecticut legislature, most of whom, we would assume, are adults. Too, as any parent well knows, your children will, far more often than not, feel free to criticize your nose, your job, your manner of dress, the fact that you were even born, your hair, your smell, your weight – well, the list can go on and on.

Perhaps it would have been better for young Justin to urge those of his peers saddled with a strange reticence simply to speak up.

By the way, a similar law was recently presented to the Illinois legislature. It was defeated, and one of the main arguments against it suggested that such a law was dipping way too far into people’s private lives.

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