Sunday, 8 July 2012


An unusual retribution was taken by Hell's Angels in a Belgium pub on a smoking inspector who was stripped naked and left in a forest to find his own way to the police. Local police have condemned this 'aggression and intimidation'.

It was probably never in the purview of smoking ban supporters that they would be identified with the oppressor and the jack-boot. They even see themselves as modern 'liberators', hence their dialogue is littered with the word 'free' ('smokefree', 'free from the tyranny of tobacco', etc.). But in the end, at present  they have the backing of the authorities, the police and courts.

The police are correct in characterising the attack on the officer as intimidating and aggressive. It is not their role to consider the intimidation experienced by smokers attempting to associate in a lawful manner, when their chosen milieu is banned by the state. The police recognise the humanity of the officer, but do not comment on the humanity of the communities on the receiving end of the smoking ban, who find themselves criminals if they smoke together in a public place.

Stripping is topical in the middle of 2012 in the light of alarming developments in the US. The Transportation Security Administration (popularly TSA) has been using increasingly invasive techniques to carry out searches at US airports, which are a popular mode of internal travel in the US, including strip searches. This has even been extended beyond airports: as one commentator observes: 'is there a more sinister component to allowing the cops to take your clothes off after you get caught jaywalking'? 

Both this writer, Erin Gloria Ryan, and Naomi Wolf in the Guardian, comment on the use of sexual humiliation as a tool of oppression. Quite how the 'Land of the Free' has morphed into a state where 'humiliation and degrading' treatment is routinely dealt out to petty offenders and suspects is a topic in itself, but it is beyond argument that Homeland Security is increasingly aggressive and happily works to undermine the self respect and dignity of the American public.

I spotted a story a few weeks ago about a passenger retaliating in some way against a TSA officer and being accused of  'sexual assault'. I can't find it now, but if I've remembered it correctly it echoes the treatment handed out to the smoking inspector in Belgium, above, and the authority's reaction. Our poor wee agent has been abused: leave him alone!!


Smoking Hot said...

Villagers? ... these were Hell's Angels. The smoking inspector had obviously let his inflated ego and assumed power make him think he was untouchable. Other smoking inspectors are not so stupid.

Take the MC clubhouse l know of ... they've never imposed the smoking ban and never had any smoking inspector. These inspectors turn a blind eye to such as bikers and gypsies. There's far easier potential victims ... and hell of a lot safer!

Not all in our country succumbed to the smoking ban. Pity the Pubcos didn't heed the lesson that there's strength in numbers.

Belinda said...

so they were!! .. corrected

david said...

I suspect that the 'blind eye' applies to many back street boozers nationwide. ASH know it, but to make a fuss would advertise that it is commonplace. And thus encourage other licensees to take the risk

George Speller said...

Somebody tell me where!