Originally posted July 28, 2011
According to one Alan Dee from the Herald & Post smokers are not just killing themselves and killing those around them, they are also engaging in a habit that is “antisocial” and a “blessed nuisance to all”. Dee asserts that the plan to make Stony Stratford smokefree is “laudable” but that further legislation will not work for the same reason people still litter the streets despite it being punishable with a fine.
Sure, we can all agree that smokers could help their case a bit by disposing of their cigarette ends properly – but at the same time, if there are no bins around (as is often the case in London, for instance) and portable ashtrays are rarely spotted in a shop, then there must be a degree of understanding regarding litter. If the council won’t provide the means to discard of used items then the council cannot complain they are not disposed of properly. To make matters worse, it’s never mentioned by these individuals or groups that a huge part of the problem is they made it illegal to smoke indoors, yet at most there may be one small ashtray stuck to the front of a building – and that’s just the pub, forget about it on any high street buildings. So the chain of events is: kick smokers out of buildings thus forcing them to smoke on the street, refuse to provide a way for them to dispose of their butts, complain that there are cigarette butts on the floor.
But one would think a discussion about litter could be handled diplomatically and effectively. Beyond the issue of litter, what could there be to say about smoking? It doesn’t harm others indoors let alone outdoors, and surely in a town centre those car fumes would be more worrisome. “Antisocial” can’t be applied because walking past someone without saying a word isn’t exactly a social activity, and even if it is a “nuisance”, well, we all must tolerate things we do not like from time to time. Dee, however, sees things differently. Remember the blog post some time ago about the game where you have to use a sniper rifle to kill smokers? Alan Dee took it to heart, it seems:
My only suggestion for effective action is to be a bit literal around it.
Anyone who buys a packet of fags emblazoned in huge letters with that no nonsense warning that smoking kills is tacitly accepting the possibility.
So let’s set a squad of licensed snipers on the streets, with permission to pick off smokers whenever there’s a clear shot.
I confidently predict that the prospect of having your head blown off while enjoying what you didn’t realise would be your last cigarette would give smokers up and down the country an extra incentive to kick the habit.
And if they defiantly carry on puffing, when they are popped between the eyes it will save the health service all the costs of caring for them in their declining years.
We know bans don’t work if they’re not enforced. My way is simpler, and a lot more effective.
Hmm. The really worrying thing about this is the overt tone of inciting violence, there is no attempt to decorate this as ironic, humorous or satirical. In fact, lest someone take it that way Dee made pains to ensure his message was clear: “My only suggestion for effective action is to be a bit literal… My way is simpler, and a lot more effective.”
How can it be that in 2011 a newspaper will be reluctant to run a piece regarding smoke not being as dangerous as stated by zealots but it will happily run a propaganda piece literally advocating mass murder? Apparently this suggestion is “effective” and will save money – how much would a nationwide team of snipers cost? Not to mention the army of street cleaners that would be needed to wipe up all the blood and brains. Besides, if we’re going after saving the NHS money (because it’s the fashionable thing to do today to overlook the fact that we all already pay for the NHS, smokers more than anybody) why not just advocate killing anyone over 65? It is, after all, the elderly that are the biggest drain on the NHS, with their insistence on suffering from various illnesses and requiring a concoction of drugs. If we kill all the smokers the NHS might save £2billion, but the economy would lose a net £9billion, which isn’t cost effective – maybe Dee writes hate-pieces as a result of his failed accountancy course.
The only real possible implication of this piece is that someone really will go and try to kill a smoker. The question then is, will Dee and his editor take the responsibility for it?
Anyway, you can send your angry emails to the editor who ran this garbage by clicking here