Smoke this, Arizona!
I don't expect Larriva's touch of legal trickery to stand. In fact, the health nazis, led by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, have already filed suit against the bar owner, seeking nearly $50,000 in fines from the man for the terrible crime of permitting his patrons to smoke on the grounds of his own businesses.
But ill-fated as Larriva's legal strategy undoubtedly is, I admire his spunk. At least he has the nerve to tell the busybodies to go to hell; that's more than many of his fellow businesspeople can boast. Most of them whine and sigh and roll over without even a gesture of resistance.
Yes, the fines are stiff, but not all acts of resistance have to come with a hefty charge. It doesn't cost anything to very publicly ban the health inspectors who enforce the law from dropping by your bar during their off hours.
Of course, it's unfair to ban the government enforcers without making it clear that there are consequences for the drones who went to the polls to inflict their preferences on the state at large. So how about posting a sign at the front door that says something like:
If you support the state ban on smoking
in privately owned businesses, you are unwelcome here.
Please take your business elsewhere.
Posting that sign would have an add-on benefit by sending the most fanatical of the anti-tobacco zealots packing with their smoke-free noses tilted high in the air. Since there aren't enough health inspectors to make a serious enforcement effort, barring anti-smokers would reduce the chances that somebody might drop a dime on an establishment that chooses to let its patrons smoke in defiance of the law.
Such efforts would be even more effective if implemented in an organized way by a large number of Arizona bars at the same time. Here's a campaign that might make the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association a relevant organization.
But for now we have to settle for Alfonso Larriva's gesture of defiance. Doomed it may be, but for now, it's the only sign of open rebellion in Arizona.