If you want to rebel, first, smack the losers out of your ranks. “At least a dozen” bar owners in a West Virginia county are engaging in a planned and publicized flouting of the smoking ban. That might sound good enough in itself, but then listen to the most vocal of the feisty “rebels,” bar owner Kerry Ellison, who says of the Health Department’s ban: “Either rescind the order or enforce it … I want a level playing field!"

Do you suppose the hell-bent Health Department, faced with such a “rebel call,” will choose rescission? If, as another ban-flouting bar owner says, “The smoking ban is costing me money. There’s no way we can stay in business like this. If you’re a small business, you have to accommodate your customers”, will the harsh and universal enforcement that blabbermouth Ellison asks for alter that reality? Well, as “History Buff,” a reader of the newspaper report says, “No smoke = No go = I’ll keep my own dough!”

This new event is an old story, quite as old, as the smoker pogrom itself. The “level playing field” is the loser’s graveyard. Hospitality venue owners should choose to defy but they are damned fools in simultaneously inviting thoughtless publicity and eager enforcement as these West Virginians have oafishly managed to do. Throwing oneself on one’s sword is dramatic. It isn’t effective.

Not suicide, but swordplay, is what is required. Kerry Ellison would make a good sales representative for burial plots. Ellison is welcome to be interred on a level playing field. Potentially wiser West Virginians – and all of us – need to learn what strategy is, on what this really is, a battlefield.



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