We have all heard of the War on Drugs. We also remember the War on Poverty. Of course, we can’t forget the War on Terror. In California, there is a new war – and it tops them all. The Golden State has decided to declare war on… straws.
That’s right folks. Like Seattle, many of California’s major cities have decided to face the dangers of these insidious plastic drinking devices head-on. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz have all adopted a militant stance against straws. As the crusade against these tubular instruments of beverage consumption ramps up, it is likely that several other cities will enlist in this holy war.
Santa Barbara recently took the harshest stance so far. Whereas most other cities have imposed fines on restaurants that provide straws for their customers, Santa Barbara passed an ordinance that authorizes incarceration.
While some are not too happy with this new venture, many Californians eagerly support the anti-straw movement. Liberty Nation spoke with some of these individuals to learn more.
Enter the Straw Man Brigade
We sat down with members of a far-left organization known as the Straw Man Brigade, whose mission is to eliminate the use of straws nationwide. We have changed their names to protect them from the inevitable ridicule, mockery, and disgusted looks that come with this type of activism.
The Straw Man Brigade is an intrepid group of people who are concerned with the rampant proliferation of plastic drinking devices on the streets. “Our government officials have already outlawed straws, but they might have trouble enforcing the bans,” said Luke Swanson, who co-founded the organization, “So we decided to form our own group to make sure these nasty devices aren’t being trafficked in our communities. We’re like the neighborhood watch, but for straws.”
The brigade functions much as one would expect from a group of insufferable busybodies. When one of their members, also known as “Straw Men,” spots a server – or anyone else – giving straws to another person, they hastily jot down a description of the offender and report the incident using the Illegal Straw Trafficking hotline set up by their city. It makes sense, considering the fact that the police might be too busy dealing with real crimes to adequately enforce the ban.
The group also takes steps to detain offenders using the power of citizen’s arrest. “The police usually take a long time to respond to our calls, so we have developed a technique to prevent these individuals from leaving the scene,” Swanson said.
According to the group’s leader, this is a three-step technique that involves one member verbally confronting the offender while another member sneaks up behind them and gets on all fours. When the second member is in position, the first shoves the offender so they trip over the one on hands and knees. “It’s a very effective tactic,” Swanson boasted. He added, “We don’t just monitor these people. We take steps to apprehend them as well. We’re like the Gestapo, but for straws!”
Using these methods, they have already caught two straw traffickers red-handed – one of which was a single mother giving a straw to her five-year-old boy. “These little tubes are the single biggest threat to American society,” Swanson said, “Even an unassuming mother feeding her child could be an instrument of destruction.”
Straw Man Brigade Is More Than Just a Watchdog Group
One might be tempted to think that the Straw Man Brigade is just a collection of people who want to root out straw traffickers on the street – but they are so much more. They are also a political advocacy group that seeks to bring about a nationwide ban on straws.
The group is already taking their cause to other states. “We believe the entire nation should ban straws,” exclaimed Penelope Prince, the Director for Communications for the brigade. “We’re going to hold rallies, distribute our literature, and lobby state and local governments to lead a purge of straws from their communities. We’re like the Tea Party, but for straws!”
To help with the enforcement of the straw bans, the group has taken to placing posters all over the city with the words “The Straw Man Brigade is watching.” But that’s not all. They are also lobbying local and state governments to enact laws that would punish individuals who witness what they call “straw positive behavior” without reporting it.
“Eliminating the scourge of straws requires the participation of every law-abiding citizen,” Prince said, “People must notify the authorities if they see people doing things like using straws at home or saying that the straw ban is useless and unnecessary.”
Combatting Straw Trafficking Is a Worthy Cause
Some people don’t agree with these bans. They argue that it won’t make a difference when it comes to protecting the environment. Indeed, Liberty Nation’s James Fite writes:
“There is a dangerous amount of plastic littering the ocean – and about 1% of it comes from the U.S., of which very little is actually plastic straws. According to the California Coastal Commission, there have been a total of 835,425 straws and stirrers picked up in the 30 years since 1988, which is only about 4% of the debris collected. Banning plastic straws in the U.S. will make absolutely no noticeable difference, other than to inconvenience and irk those who use them.”
But what does Mr. Fite know? The struggle against straws is far too important to focus on facts. Jamie Lansdale, a staffer for the brigade, believes that stopping the proliferation of straws is of the utmost importance – especially for California’s cities. “Yes, we know that there is enough feces on San Francisco’s sidewalks to fertilize thousands of football fields,” he said, adding that “Drugs and homelessness are rampant in many of our communities. But these issues must take a back seat until we can resolve America’s addiction to straws.”
The Straw Man Brigade might be a small group, but they claim that many are clamoring to join their jihad against the small drinking tube. If they have their way, there won’t be a single straw left in the United States. “We will not stop fighting against straw trafficking and those who support it,” Luke Swanson said. “Our mission won’t be complete until we can finally proclaim that ‘this is the last straw.’”
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