Saturday: On Brighton Beach Boardwalk, Smokers To Protest Latest Ban

Angry New Yorkers will gather on the Brighton Beach section of the Riegelmann Boardwalk on Saturday, where they’ll send smoke signals to lawmakers and anti-smoking advocates who pushed the latest expansion of anti-smoking laws.

The smoke-in is organized by the New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.), a group formed to “end the discrimination against smokers by exposing the anti-smoking lies.” It will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, on the boardwalk at Brighton 6th Street.

Of course, smoking in that location is now illegal, according to an expanded public smoking ban that went into effect yesterday. Smoking is banned in parks, beaches, public marinas and piers, boardwalks, pedestrian malls, bicycle and greenways, and any other property owned and maintained by the New York City Parks Department.

Local smokers should note that this is a city law pertaining to city parkland, but at federal parkland, such as at Floyd Bennett Field or Plumb Beach, one may still leisurely smoke a stogie. In fact, truly spiteful residents can stand on the federally-owned and -maintained sand at Plumb Beach and blow smoke onto the New York City Parks Department-owned greenway adjacent to the beach and that would be completely legal. No one would like you, but it would be legal. And somewhat funny.

But back to the protest on the boardwalk. It’s not a protest. Or a rally. Here’s C.L.A.S.H.’s explanation:

This is not a “protest” or “rally” per se (Ed. – I just said that.).  It’s not the intent on THIS day to call for repeal or to simply demonstrate that we are angry (and then fall into line).  This is an invitation for friends to get together like any other day at the beach to illustrate that this law will be paid the respect it deserves.
When a law is just so wrong — enacted on the whim of the biased with the power to do so who cannot be reasoned with — there can be only the last resort in order to effect change:  civil disobedience.   There is NO sound scientific basis for this law…  Nor any social basis other than our country’s founders’ frowned upon “mob rule.”  When 75% of the population doesn’t smoke then it would be an abomination to put such a policy to a vote by the people.  It’s then we need to rely on the merits of Representative Government where the people we elect to office are under an obligation not to vote on an emotion or personal preference and to consider equal protection of the minority.  They are expected to weigh all the evidence without bias and base their vote on an intellectually arrived at conclusion.  Yet the majority of the body of the City Council acted no better than “the mob.”

Are you planning on attending?