In response to Mike Kirwan (“Smokers hurting us all,” Letters to the Editor, Oct. 9):
Mr. Kirwan, I‚Äôm sure you would put yourself into the category of what we consider to be “the thinking man.” Let us briefly go over your logic. You say we have the right to breathe. Agreed. But, does a next-door neighbor smoking on their back porch take away your right to breathe? I had the recent experience of walking down Lincoln Boulevard during rush-hour traffic. Cars and trucks, bumper to bumper, idling, accelerating, spewing mountains of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, when suddenly I saw a lady, in disgust, pull out a kerchief and cover her mouth as a lone smoker walked by. She yelled at him and said he was killing her! Now, Mr. Kirwan, what‚Äôs wrong with this scenario?
I believe it is the same thing that is wrong with your logic. I‚Äôm an Oregonian, 60 miles out of Eugene, in the country, and believe me, we do have clean, fresh air. I spend half my time down here in this beautiful weather. There is one problem though. I have this reoccurring condition. I have a hard time taking a full breath every time I come down here. I get a mild cough every single time. Granted, it‚Äôs better than back in the 1970s when I came down here for college, but there are still air quality issues here in this fair city. I can tell, my lungs tell me so every time I come down and spend any length of time. Furthermore, it is not because there are more smokers here in Santa Monica.
Mr. Kirwan, I would have a lot more interest in your “right to breathe” campaign if you directed it toward the real problem; automobiles and the poisons they deposit into the atmosphere. I will join you in a campaign to make it illegal to drive any motor vehicle other than electric. Let‚Äôs put all of those citizens in jail who would deny us the right to breathe. Forget the fines. Federal offense! Hard time for those who deny us the right to breathe. You with me?
Oh, and just a note. Why, Mr. Kirwan, are you not concerned about the citizen who guzzles a bottle of booze? I know you aren‚Äôt consuming it yourself, but haven‚Äôt you heard of the occasional intoxicated citizen murdering your neighbors while driving down these beloved streets intoxicated? You might also consider the “right to live” as a worthy campaign. I‚Äôd be with you on both counts.
Robert M. Rose