Police to be equipped with mind-reading helmets to enforce new thought-crime bylaw
VICTORIA – The City of Victoria announced Monday that it will ban thinking about smoking in public next month.
“We have decided to ban thinking about smoking in public places effective
June 1, 2008,” Mayor Alan Lowe told reporters. Nightclubs and bars will have until October 1, 2008, at the latest, to put measures into place to become completely smoke-thought-free, he said.
The ban is seen by many as the logical next step after Victoria imposed Canada‘s most tight-ass anti-smoking law, banning smoking anywhere in the city in 1999.
To enforce the bylaw, Mayor Lowe said the City plans to spend $1.2 million to equip police with state-of-the-art mind-reading helmets. The helmets use magnetic resonance imaging to detect brain chemical activity corresponding to thoughts of cigarettes or smoking.
The technology is still imperfect, however.
“We’re still working out some glitches in the system,” said Kenny Fenson, Chief of Police. “In about 25 percent of cases, peoples’ thoughts of smoking are subliminal or subconscious. So we will expect some arrests and detentions without suspects being aware of the thought crime they have committed.
“On the bright side, we expect this to be no more then a few thousand cases,” he added.
The decision was the outcome of efforts by the powerful anti-tobacco lobby, which had achieved all its prohibition goals with bans firmly in place throughout the country. Facing a scenario where their opponents (smokers) had been decidedly defeated, and fearful of losing their jobs, members of the lobby resolved to inflict their pain-in-the-ass do-gooding with this final assault.
Fines range from $100 to $500 or a night in jail for a first thought-crime, with repeat offenders facing fines of up to $2000 for cigarette-related thought crimes. The bylaw further requires restaurant and bar owners to put up no-thinking-about-smoking signs.
“This is a major victory for the pure of mind,” an anti-tobacco-thought activist commented smugly.
“Thinking about smoking in public, particularly around children, is disgusting,” one anti-tobacco-thought activist commented.