“It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”
The pictures are funny. The reality – not so much.
Those don’t just make me laugh out loud. They hint at a darker truth about straw bans, a fact these policies’ proponents prefer to ignore: All laws ultimately rest on state violence.
This point is often greeted with eyerolls and snorts from straw ban apologists, who would rather focus on their good intentions than the coercive powers needed to bring their rules into effect.
Indeed, when I reported last week that Santa Barbara’s straw ban included a punishment of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines per straw, a spokesperson for a prominent environmentalist group emailed to inform me that focusing on the penalties was “unprofessional” and “inaccurate” because they would never actually be enforced, even after a third or fourth violation.
Santa Barbara officials have made a similar argument. Asked about the ban by a local ABC affiliate, the city’s environmental services outreach coordinator said that locking people up for straws is only “a last line of defense” and isn’t intended “for first-time offenders.” But he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of jail time…