The Boston Smoke Police (BSP) will not only be on the lookout for you if you dare light up in many parts of their city, but they will follow you to the grave -- literally.
In a classic case of government run amok, the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission, in the last days of the Menino administration, unanimously voted to ban smoking in all 251 park properties in the city, which range from the Boston Common and Public Garden to golf courses and cemeteries.
One would have thought that if there was a place a smoker could light up in peace and tranquility, it would be at a cemetery, considering that cigarettes were once known as coffin nails.
Not anymore. Now if you are caught smoking at Mount Hope Cemetery or any other of the city's burial sites by the BSP, you will be fined $250. One might have thought the permanent residents of these cemeteries had complained about secondhand smoke. But there are no such reports.
Perhaps a more far-sighted city agency might have considered simply rounding up all the smokers and transporting them to one of the cemeteries. There, cordoned off from the rest of the public, they could happily blow smoke at each other, cough themselves to death and be done with it.
Some people, smokers or not, may recall that once upon a time "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" was a popular romantic ballad. Now the politicians have turned it into a criminal offense.
This smoking ban, which was approved by outgoing Boston Mayor Tom Menino and the Boston City Council, also applies to such historic tourist attractions as the Granary Burying Grounds and the King's Chapel Burying Grounds, both on Tremont Street.
One wonders what such Revolutionary War patriots like Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and others buried at the Granary, who fought for freedom and individual liberty, would have to say about such heavy-handed government overreach. If they were so upset about taxes on tea to start a revolution, just think how unhappy they would be over taxes on cigarettes -- let alone the ban on smoking them.
"I want a smoke, and that's no joke," could have become a Revolutionary War slogan had the British blokes banned smoking back when these gentlemen were plotting their revolution.
The new anti-smoking ban, which includes pipes, cigars, marijuana and other "lighted or vaporized" substances, which means e-cigarettes, is an expansion of existing law that prohibits smoking in children's park and playground areas.
First the smokers were driven out of public buildings, offices, bars and restaurants. Now they are being driven into the ground.
Since the Parks Department controls all of the Emerald Necklace, this means the ban includes the tree-lined Commonwealth Mall that runs on Commonwealth Avenue from the Public Garden down to Jamaica Pond Park and all of Franklin Park.
No doubt the city will have to beef up the BSP so that the smoke cops can hide behind trees and bushes along Commonwealth Avenue, the Franklin Park Golf Course, and the Mount Hope Cemetery, ready to pounce on law-breaking smokers.
It is reminiscent of the move to ban jaywalking in Boston in the early 1960s. Cops were placed at the busy intersection of Boylston and Tremont streets and elsewhere in order to ticket pedestrians crossing the street against the red light. Boston being Boston, this, of course, meant just about everybody. It was a joke and was soon dropped and forgotten.
People shouldn't smoke; it is bad for you. And the liberal zealots in government, who want to control the way you live your life, want to protect nonsmokers from the criminals who are spreading secondhand smoke around.
But instead of harassing people with foolish rules, regulations and fines that will not be enforced, why not just throw the cigarettes overboard like the patriots did with the tea at the Boston Tea Party. In other words, just come out and ban the sale of cigarettes. Such a ban cannot be any more unconstitutional than prohibiting a man from lighting up in a cemetery.
Besides, banning the sale of cigarettes would free the cops to solve some real crimes, like getting the guy who bit off a woman's little toe during a fight at a raucous New Year's Eve party in Dorchester. The little toeless victim was taken to Boston Medical Center and treated.
The cops nailed the toe-biter, but there was no report of what happened to the toe.
It was some party, though.
Peter Lucas' political column appears Tuesday and Friday. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.