In a recent article, it was reported that a biker bar in Horry County is bringing a First Amendment suit against the county for prohibiting “burnouts,” an action that requires the bike rider to rev the engine while using the front brake. This creates very loud noise, noxious and drifting odors, and wears down the tires (thus the name burning) which I’m sure the tire companies love.
The owner claims that it is their constitutional right to act this way to show their manliness. If that’s his view, he has the right to it. However, the rest of us have the right to not hear the ear splitting screams of the tires and smell and breathe the noxious smoke that results from this, in my opinion, moronic and infantile act. I have the right to hold this opinion just like the owner has the right to his.
The question in front of the court that will affect this and other acts that may infringe on the rights of others is just this: When does an individual’s rights end and the rights of others begin? When does a person’s right to not hear, smell and breathe the results of the offender’s act start? This is a broad question that can be applied to many constitutional rights cases. I hope the court will not take this case lightly.
The writer lives in Columbia.
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