Yesterday, a Bellingham, Washington man pulled a pistol on a woman for smoking while pregnant. Apparently, the man–24-year-old Justin Dain Palmer–spotted the 28-year-old woman smoking on the side of the road, and pulled up in his pickup to ask “Who the heck smokes when they’re pregnant?” The woman responded “I do,” and after what we imagine was a face-palm inducing exchange of words, he threatened her with a handgun. Failed logic, much?
The woman immediately called the police, who quickly tracked him down and pulled him over. He admitted to the conversation, minus the gun-brandishing, but police discovered two semiautomatic .45-caliber handguns in his vehicle. He’s being held while they investigate, and we hope it’s given him pause to think about the failed logic of his threats.
The case serves as a great cautionary tale for would-be health vigilantes out there (yes, sometimes that includes even us). While government regulations can be welcome when it comes to our health (like legally-required cigarette labels reminding women that they shouldn’t be smoking while pregnant), they can feel downright creepy when it leads to threats and commands. And while the battle is certainly played out in several arenas, women’s bodies are a perennial favorite, especially when it comes to their choices about motherhood and pregnancy.
We don’t think women should smoke while eight months pregant. We don’t think people with diabetes should drink soda, either. But do we want healthy living vigilantes like Palmer to shoot them for making bad choices? Nope.