Re: “Letter to the editor: Bans keep chipping away at our freedoms” (Sept. 21):

Portland’s 5-cent fee on plastic bags is not an infringement on your freedom any more than speed limits or taxes on cigarettes are. Free plastic bags are not a right, they are an entitlement, so calm down and stop being so hyperbolic about it. You can still have your bag – you just need to pay 5 cents for it.

If you don’t want to pay, you can find a reusable bag. So, you see, you still have your freedoms. Perhaps they are slightly more of an inconvenience than before, but that convenience was creating an inconvenience for the rest of us.

Those bags cost us as a society. There is the cost of the proper disposal of the bags (they usually can’t be recycled very efficiently and cause problems with waste collection) and the cleanup of the bags that were not properly disposed of. And then there is the cost of harming the environment.

The only difference is that those of us willing to “inconvenience” ourselves by refusing to use plastic bags were still having to pay for your convenience. And that, sir, was not fair, because that was a choice that we were not making.

So be happy that you have choice, and remember that all freedom is, is the opportunity to make a choice.

Johnny Gagnon