Military and Police

The Last Straw – Really California?

“He’s not alone in his absurdity. San Luis Obispo and Davis, California each already have an anti-straw law, and Seattle, Washington’s last straw law will take effect in July. And with Seattle’s newly implemented anti-soda tax, there may not be much need for straws, anyway.”

One of my principal concerns about the future of American law enforcement is how political decisions affect the nation’s patrol officers, especially the left’s penchant for passing soft-tyranny laws that can have hard-tyranny consequences. In particular, my concern is for those expected to enforce the left’s political laws: the cops.

It seems the left never disappoints when you need an example of political overreach to illustrate a point. Consider this article posted at Reason.com: “California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws” (yes, rub your eyes, put on some reading glasses, or put in some eye drops, but it won’t change. You read that correctly).

Apparently, the majority leader of the California Assembly, Ian Calderon (D), is on a crusade to save the world by denying you a straw. Okay, not exactly. You may still ask for a straw (if you’re willing to brave the virtue-signalers glaring at you). But under no circumstances should your server ever offer you a straw or, God forbid, bring one to you if you have not specifically asked for one. And whatever you do, if he hands one to you, don’t take it! You don’t want to chance being charged as a co-conspirator, do you?

And before you schedule your next birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s, you’ll probably want to get the kids together to practice unsolicited plastic straw drills. It might be prudent to teach the little tykes to get under the tables should some reckless server bring an unrequested straw. You don’t want them to be in the line of fire when the local police department’s Anti-Straw Unit arrives on scene. From the Reason.com article, “Under Calderon’s law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.”

On a more serious note, my concern—you know, other than with the psychological well-being of California’s Democrat leader—is how this type of legislation affects California’s cops. Who will investigate and, if probable cause exists, arrest the servers (or restaurant managers or owners) for committing this heinous crime after someone calls 911 to report an illegal strawing? (Couldn’t they at least dial the insanity back a tick and make the offense an infraction with a fine, like jaywalking, and call it something like unnecessary strawing?)

Will the officer be expected to take the dirty scoundrel into custody? As I alluded to, six months in jail and a thousand bucks is not an infraction; it’s at least a misdemeanor crime. Maybe a report to the prosecutor’s office requesting charges be filed would suffice.

And what happens if the server doesn’t make enough tips to pay the fine? I suppose the court will issue a warrant for, what, a violation of the California Sippy Straw Act?

He’s not alone in his absurdity. San Luis Obispo and Davis, California each already have an anti-straw law, and Seattle, Washington’s last straw law will take effect in July. And with Seattle’s newly implemented anti-soda tax, there may not be much need for straws, anyway.

Police officers understand their responsibilities as cops to enforce even laws they may not like. But are officers now expected to become complicit in leftist stupidity? This law would not protect Paul from Peter—as good laws should. It doesn’t even protect Paul from Paul—as nanny laws do. This kind of law simply slathers an imbecilic gel over society that just makes things… icky.

Reason.com is reporting that someone on Calderon’s staff said they intend to amend the bill to remove the fines. But the effort sure gives you a glimpse into the mindset of leftist politicians. America and her states and local jurisdictions are their Monopoly boards, and the people they’re supposed to serve are the game pieces politicians move around to achieve their partisan goals. Collect your $200 (welfare) but also go directly to jail—that is, if you ever dare to give a straw to someone who didn’t ask for one!

Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including Is There a Problem, Officer? and the upcoming De-Policing: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. He served as a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and as a precinct mountain bike coordinator. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys riding his Harley and hiking and cycling with his wife who is also an English major as well as a retired firefighter.

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