Readers’ Forum February 6, 2006


    Don’t smoke? Go elsewhere.

    A smoking ban in private clubs and bars in Utah would be a blatant violation of property rights (as are such bans in other cities and states). Business owners have the right to determine whether they want to offer their customers a smoke-free environment.

    No one is forced to patronize a bar, club or restaurant that allows smoking. If some people don’t want to put up with cigarette smoke, they are free to stay away. They are also free to open their own non-smoking bars and clubs. They have no right, however, to force business owners to adopt a non-smoking policy.

    David Holcberg

    Irvine, Calif.

    Eroded property rights

    Kevin Simonson’s letter regarding smokers’ rights demonstrates a common misunderstanding of the issue. Simonson asks, “where in the world do smokers get the right to endanger other people’s lives when smoking at a public restaurant?”

    Restaurants are not public in the sense that a park or elementary school is public. By referring to restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, ad infinitum as public, we lose sight of the true issue. Restaurants are private – they have owners. Property rights are in question here. If the owner of a business wants to allow people to participate in a legal activity (smoking, for example) while upon his property, he should have the right to do so. He must decide whether to possibly alienate non-smokers by allowing smoking, or alienate smokers by not allowing smoking. It is his property, it is his choice. Sadly, property rights are quickly being eroded as we rely increasingly upon courts and legislatures to impose our will upon others.

    David Nance

    Little Rock, Ark.

    Hamas choices

    Israelis chose to withdraw from the Gaza strip. Israelis also chose to move to the center politically by supporting the newly formed Kadima party. Israelis chose peace.

    The Palestinians also had a choice. They chose a terrorist group to lead their people – the same terrorists group that has constantly called for the destruction of their neighboring country; the same terrorist group that ran to the media to “claim” responsibility whenever innocent civilians were blown apart inside the streets of Israel proper.

    The world also had a choice. They once again chose to put the pressure on Israel even after the desire for peace was demonstrated so strongly by one side of the coin and not the other. They chose to push Israel to negotiate with Hamas as the democratically elected representative of the Palestinian people.

    Now, the choice is yours. Do you believe Israel should have to negotiate with an organization that has run a campaign of terrorism? Do you believe there is a moral equivalency between the Israeli military striking at the leadership of Hamas, losing some Palestinian lives to collateral damage and a suicide bomber going into a cafe and wiping out entire families? Would the United States ever negotiate with al-Qaida if it “moderated” its views?

    These are the questions that need to be answered by the people of America before an educated guess can be made as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong. Hopefully, common sense will prevail.

    Kfir Orgad

    Haifa, Israel

    Thanks for band profiles

    Something beautiful is happening. Lisa Ruefenacht is showing an often unreported side of Provo to be alive and artistic. Recently, she has reported on two musical acts in Provo that are taking a new approach to both songwriting and the live performance. I commend The Daily Universe for placing her articles in the publication, and would like to make it known that they are being read by a wide audience. Both The Eden Express and The Weakmen have been featured in the newspaper, and with so many incredible bands playing right now, I’m positive Lisa will have her hands full for the next few months. Congrats Lisa, and thank you to The Daily Universe.

    Matt Wood

    Springfield, Va.

    Cheaper books overseas

    The problem I have with textbook publishers and the prices they charge is that they often offer an international version for a substantially lower cost than the U.S. version. This occurs because of affordability in Third World nations, but lower textbook prices can even be found in the United Kingdom. I myself have bought a cheaper textbook that was $80 less than the price offered in a college bookstore. Professors’ deserve some blame as they do provide ISBN number to the BYU Bookstore, but do not have a central list for students to find there own price. For all students of BYU who are for capitalism, the system the BYU Bookstore and professors employ reeks of price-fixing and trust behavior.

    Jason M. Adkins


    Partisan intentions

    I was left deeply troubled by some of the statements made in William Webster’s Feb. 3 letter. To say that Cindy Sheehan is “promoting hate and intolerance” is simply ignorant. Just because she has a different view than yours or the president’s does not mean she is “promoting hate.”

    Right and wrong has absolutely nothing to do with Democrat and Republican. Many people state that “morals” are what set the two parties apart. The last time I checked, there is a major problem with corruption up and down both parties, and that does not sound moral to me.

    I have no problem with people choosing to be either Republican or Democrat. The problem is when people point out all the flaws of the other party while looking the other way and simply ignoring the gaping flaws that exist in their own. Both parties have good and bad things about them.

    It bothers me that Republicans have convinced themselves that everyone who is against the war is not patriotic. It also bothers me that Democrats have convinced themselves that Republicans are all about money and lining their own pockets. The overwhelming majority of us, whether Republican or Democrat, are patriotic people who want the world to be a better, safer place. So please don’t attack people like Cindy Sheehan just because her view on how to make the world a better place is different than your own. Your words might just make you sound like the one “promoting intolerance.”

    Jarom Ball

    Albuquerque, N.M.

    Young marriage and divorce

    I disagree with Mrs. Forbes’s (“Quick marriage correlations,” Feb. 1) assertion that quick marriages do not contribute to increased divorce rates. To be certain, there are couples that do get married young and who live quite happily throughout their entire lives. However, many of the statistics that have been presented to me regarding marriage (here at BYU) suggest that young marriage strongly correlates with higher divorce rate and decreased marriage satisfaction.

    Of course, the writer does make an important point: Mormons are a unique sociological group and therefore all of the U.S. marriage and divorce data compiled by sociologists may not completely apply. But I’m not sure how accurate any of the statistics that she presented are regarding temple marriages. In any case, I don’t think the church releases actual divorce rates for temple sealings.

    I do believe that temple covenants make LDS couples more willing to go through trials that would make many other couples simply call things quits. And personally, I think young marriages are can be okay as long as the couple is well prepared. But I think that this is rarely the case. Instead, I get the sense that young, LDS couples use the term “spiritual prompting” as a justification for rushing into marriage and not spending the amount of time necessary to build a strong, lasting foundation.

    Jacob Larsen


    The insurance business

    In response to Joe Fuller’s Feb. 1 letter, no one is entitled to cheap health insurance. Insurance companies are businesses and have every right to weigh premium costs with risk of future expenditures. They cannot stay in business if they are loosing money. Since married couples are significantly more likely to have children and incur large expenses that single people would not, it makes perfect sense that their premiums should be higher.

    You are free to shop around for other insurance carriers that are cheaper.

    And when you have that child, be grateful you have insurance to take care of most of the medical costs.

    Brett Bartel


    Print Friendly, PDF & Email