To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Friday, February 29, 2008

John Hemminghaus, This Camel's For You

Earlier today, I found via Hit&Run an interesting debate on civil disobedience. Here's Arnold Kling arguing in favor. Here's Kenneth Silber taking him on. And here's Kling's "Re:Re:" Tonight, ironically, I found a story of a guy from my former home state testing the waters of this civil disobedience thing.

WEST FRANKFORT - A call from authorities hasn't halted one West Frankfort man's plans to host a peaceful protest against the state's recently implemented Smoke-Free laws.

John Hemminghaus has been passing out flyers and making phone calls to invite as many people as he can reach to a March 1 event he is calling a "Smoke In."

"This country was founded on civil disobedience," Hemminghaus said in a previous interview. "It has gotten to where, now, people are afraid to get into trouble. It kind of makes me mad that everybody has turned into cowards."

Monday afternoon, Hemminghaus said he was recently contacted by Williamson County State's Attorney Chuck Garnati in regards to his plans."

Chuck said I would be taken into custody and get a $2,500 fine," he said. "Nobody I know can find where anybody in Illinois has been arrested yet." [...] He said Garnati told him that law enforcement would be present at his event if he couldn't be talked out of hosting the rally.

So if Hemminghaus is correct, nobody has been arrested for violating the Illinois ban to date. But one guy tries to publicize his plans to exercise his property rights and organize some people, and the State's Attorney feels the need to whip it out and swing it around a bit.

As for fines and punishment he might face, Hemminghaus said he will skip vacation to spend his money on the cause he backs, even though he stopped smoking about five years ago.

Hemminghaus said others are also on his side, including several other non-smokers. The man is so determined to have his point heard he has posted a large sign in the front yard of his business, which reads "My Place, My Choice, Smoking Allowed."

Very nice. Although a southern Illinois dissenter isn't likely to make the headlines, I'll keep an eye out for what happens to the guy. I have a feeling that if he's fined $2,500, he won't have a problem getting donations to cover it, even in a sparsely-populated area of Illinois. Best wishes, John Hemminghaus.

My previous post on the Illinois smoking ban here.

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