Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snitches in your own home

AP reports:
Lighting up a cigarette at home could bring a visit from Honduran police if a family member or even a visitor complains about secondhand smoke.

A new law that took effect Monday banning smoking in most public and private spaces doesn't actually outlaw cigarettes inside homes, but it does have a provision allowing people to file complaints about secondhand smoke in homes.

Violations would bring a verbal warning on the first offense. After that could come arrest and a $311 fine — the equivalent of the monthly minimum wage in this Central American country.
I would like to say that only some Third World backwater like Honduras would be silly enough to pass such an invasive and unnecessary law, to pretend that it does not infringe your rights to behave as you please at your own home, and yet accept police complaints about such behavior anyway.

But, alas, in the USA it is completely legal to spank your kids, yell at your kids, feed them broccoli, set their alarm clock, make them do homework, etc., and that does not stop govt agents from taking and investigating complaints about such matters. If those agents disapprove of your personal behavior at home, then they can use the family and juvenile dependency courts to make life miserable for you.

I don't smoke, and I am glad that my parents did not smoke. But the idea of encouraging family members to make police complaints against each other for smoking in their own homes is outrageous. We should resist any such policies that serve to bust up families.


Anonymous said...

There was an article in our local paper today about the truancy court. Apparently, their MO is to haul the kid in for truancy (which isn't criminal), court-order them to go to school, then throw them in jail for contempt if they don't. Nifty way to criminalize behavior.

Anonymous said...

Same poster as above. They also allow anyone over ten to file a "Family in Need of Services" petition, a euphemism if I ever heard one.