Recently I blagged about a poor girl who suffered a fatal asthma attack induced by the cigarette smoke at the restaurant she worked at, and that this would surely lead to a state-wide smoking ban in "public" (i.e., private) businesses. While I haven't heard any news about such fascist legislation in the Michigan legislature, I wanted to bring up two more points that I considered mentioning in that post but left out. I refrained from bringing them up in the interest of time (which isn't stopping me from posting this at one in the morning) and because I didn't want to make claims I couldn't reasonably back up. Those points were: the girl was an irresponsible idiot for leaving home without triple-checking that she carried her inhaler with her; and that it was probably illegal for the restaurant to discriminate against her for her asthma (and, furthermore, that this restriction, if it existed, was certain to be part of the heinous Americans With Disabilities Act).
Well, it turns out I was right about both. My girlfriend, a severe asthmatic and nursing student, confirmed that it was entirely her fault for exposing herself to any strong allergens at all, and even more irresponsible for her to do so without her inhaler handy. Additionally, she read that this young woman had a history of severe asthma attacks and should have expected one to occur at any time in the future, and should have expected that the extremely strong allergens in cigarette smoke would cause one (contra my mollifying statement, "I don’t think she ever could have expected to die from it, though, so I can’t really blame her too much." Maybe she could have.)
Secondly, in a rare deviation from my political-discussion cowardice, I tried to bring up the issue of this deceased asthmatic waitress and smoking bans in "public" (i.e., private) establishments with my girlfriend, who of course opined that bans on this voluntary behavior would be just peachy and that it would be abominable to even consider discriminating against job applicants based on disease status. I didn't get much farther than bringing up the topic before I decided to drop it, but that's a good start for me. She agreed with me that it was probably illegal to reject a job applicant to a smoky restaurant because the applicant has severe asthma. It turns out it is.
(Where we disagree wildly is that this illegality also makes it immoral.)
So, in short: People are responsible for their own fatal idiocy; I vehemently oppose coercive legislation that would make my personal pub-going experience tremendously more enjoyable, because I support other people's rights more than my own comfort; and that asthmatic waitress is yet another victim of the revolting Americans With Disabilities Act. I am continually more intrigued by how the facts and the statistics always seem to support libertarianism and expose the State as the initiator and perpetuator of most of the harm and suffering in the world.