This is an interesting development in light of some skepticism being expressed yesterday concerning rural New England’s revolutionary nature:
WESTMINSTER, Mass. — The fury — and make no mistake, it is white-hot fury — went way beyond the ordinary wrath of offended citizenry. A plan here to ban the sale of tobacco has ignited a call to arms.
The outrage is aimed at a proposal by the local Board of Health that could make Westminster the first town in the country where no one could buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.
The uproar stems not from a desire by people here to smoke — only 17 percent do (a smidge higher than the statewide average). Many say they have never touched tobacco and find the habit disgusting. Rather, they perceive the ban as a frontal assault on their individual liberties. And they say it would cripple the eight retailers in town who sell tobacco products.
The ban is the major topic at Vincent’s Country Store, where a petition against it sits on the front counter and attracts more signatures every day; at last count, 1,200 people had signed, in a town of 7,400….“They’re
just taking away everyday freedoms, little by little,” said Nate
Johnson, 32, an egg farmer who also works in an auto body shop, as he
stood outside the store last week. “This isn’t about tobacco, it’s about
control,” he said.“It’s un-American,” put in Rick Sparrow, 48, a house painter.As
Wayne and Deborah Hancock grabbed a shopping cart, they joined in. All
quickly agreed that the next freedoms at risk would be guns and
Don’t be too quick to count the Saxon out. There may be no shortage of Puritan busybodies and pagan Episcopalians, but it’s not an accident that the Shot Heard Round the World was fired in New England. And don’t forget, prior to the Civil War, it was the New England states that were threatening to secede from the Union.