The UC Davis pepper spray incident aside, today’s college students appear too distracted to mount memorable protests against the status quo. How can you work up a nice head of righteous indignation while your attention is being pulled every which way by iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Adderall pills from your little brother’s prescription stash? Recent reports of UNT students handing out free cigarettes to protest a campus-wide ban on smoking aren’t likely to revive a ‘60s-style spirit of liberation, either.
Although the pro-smoking UNT protesters won’t win this one, their little demonstration – especially the “eff you” it offers to America’s health puritans – warms my heart. I’m not a tobacco user, so I have nothing to lose in the crusade against smoking. But I do know two things: 1) Life is full of complicated personal decisions about risk vs. benefit, and 2) Death is coming for you too, Mr. and Ms. Snotty Anti-Smoking Advocate. I also suspect that scientific studies about second hand smoke have been fudged to promote the anti-smoking cause. So fire up a coffin nail for me, UNT tobacco rebels.