I love learning something new. There's a lot of new things every day so I'm always behind.
Today's new thing comes from Australia. I'm just catching up on it. I don't live there so I wasn't paying close attention, so it's new to me.
That happens often as part of my process of discovering new things. I don't live there so I don't pay attention to it. Who cares what crazy laws California, Arkansas, or Michigan is passing? Does it matter to me if Paragould, Arkansas is establishing twenty-four hour patrols of police officers dressed and armed as SWAT members, demanding to see your identification? No, if Paragould is happy with the police state we made fun of back when the Germans were doing it in WWII, and the Soviets were doing it throughout the cold war, why should I care if an American city or state wants to do it, right? I don't live there so I don't care.
They have their reasons. The town of 25,000 have high crime. That gives them the right to stop you. Being outside doing something gives the police probable cause to stop you and demand ID, according to the Police Chief, Mike Todd Stovall, from a Paragould Daily Press article:
"Stovall further elaborated on the stop-and-ID policy Friday morning, claiming the city's crime statistics alone met the threshold of reasonable suspicion required to lawfully accost a citizen.
'To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason," he said. "Well, I've got statistical reasons that say I've got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you're doing out. Then when I add that people are scared...then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area."
Stovall said he did not consult an attorney before announcing his plans to combat crime. He even remained undaunted when comparing his proposed tactics with martial law, explaining that "I don't know that there's ever been a difference" between his proposals and martial law.'
Bold action. Likewise, do I care that Michigan's legislature rushed through a law during a midnight session that ended schools' protection as gun free zones? If the citizens believe that they're safer by arming everyone with concealed weapons, what do I care, over in Oregon? It's a democracy over in Michigan. They can do what they want, right?
This tidbit from Australia interests me though because it's what they decided to do about selling cigarettes. I only learned about it because Rachel Wells wrote an article that was published on TheAge.com.au. The article's title is "Dead man Bryan tells his life's tale to all smokers."
It's about a dead guy, Bryan Curtis. Bryan is an American who died in June, 1999. He was 34.
Here's a picture of him.
Cancer killed Bryan but you could say that it was cigarettes. That's how his photos ended up on that box. That's a box of cigarettes featuring Bryan. It's something called plain packaging.
Being an American, I've not heard of this. We rarely hear about anything outside of America. That's just me, though. ALEC (American Executive Legislative Council), a small group of concerned businesses who oppose ideas that might cost businesses money or curtail their profits or their rights to pay no taxes, has been lobbying against plain packaging around the world.
According to Wikipedia, who I mostly trust, Canada came up with the idea of plain packaging for tobacco products in the 1990. Australia has followed through with it. Manufacturers must remove all colors and markings, and can only put their brand name in one place. The font, size and brand name's location are all mandated by law.
"But wait," you're probably saying, "Why is Bryan's photo on a 'plain package'?" You might also be saying, "Yeah, this is old news to the rest of the world, what's your point?"
You people outside of America need to learn to slow down, like we have in America. We don't rush anywhere, by law.
That's why we have speed limits on our motorways.
Apparently Australia decided to try to curb smoking's appeal by putting graphic images on their plain packaging cigarette packing. Bryan is one of seven featured this year. Seven more are due out next year.
Bryan's image is a hit. Rachel Wells wrote a pretty good article about it, and the effects of the plain packaging on smoking, along with other details. Did you know that smokers report that cigarettes coming from plain packaging don't taste as good? Fascinating.
There you go. I learned something new. Thought I'd share it with you, in case, you know, you're American, and were unaware of this.
Amazing how wonders go on and on and on....
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com