Amblin' Alameda: Bag Ban Fallout

Amblin' Alameda: Bag Ban Fallout

Morton Chalfy

We were shopping at Nob Hill, something we do when we only have a few items to buy but also have an item to be mailed, since there is almost never a line at their in-store post office. Because her knee was sore and painful on this day my partner remained in the car while I searched through the store for our needed items, and when I came out she had the following observations:

“Taking a thoroughly unscientific survey of the shoppers coming out of the store I can report that about 70 percent brought their own bags," she reported. "Of those fully half were from Trader Joe’s. Perhaps 15 percent bought paper bags from the store and at least 10 percent were firmly in the ‘I’m not paying for a bag’ camp and exited with items thrust into pockets and cradled in arms.”

We discussed this interesting dynamic for a while and finally opined that Trader Joe’s bags have more cachet than others and suggest that the shopper is progressive and ecologically aware. Bag status is high. Those who purchased paper bags we consigned to the “I forgot my bags,” or “It’s too much trouble to bring my bags and anyway it’s only 10 cents” camps.

The Bag Ban Deniers who stuffed their pockets with frozen foods struck us as belonging to the large group of irrationalists who believe that if they don’t agree with a policy it should not be forced upon them and if it is they will begin cutting at their noses. Hard to do anything but laugh.

This behavior is comical and harmless at the grocery store. After all, no one pays the price but the anti-bag banners and they do provide a humorous spectacle for onlookers when their purchases are larger than their arms can manage. In other areas however, this stubborn refusal to accept and adapt to the judgment of the majority can be very harmful.

Take the proposed ban on automatic weapons. The results of the opposition to common sense control of the weapons of war is bound to be measured in future events of carnage. When “My Rights” trumps everything, even conceding some basis to that argument, the anti-ban folks demonstrate a callous disregard for all the rest of us and our children. Their children as well.

Besides the fact that these weapons of war have no place embedded in a peaceful society and should be kept under someone else’s lock and key the most telling statistic is that the majority of gun-inflicted harm comes to gun owners from their own guns.

The Second Amendment argument comes from people who believe they need their guns for the day resistance to the federal government is necessary. People who feel that way are obviously not fully invested in the concept of peaceful settlement of disputes through debate and elections and as such will always be an impediment to reason.

The solution to the bag ban are fully biodegradable, non-plastic bags that decompose in sunlight. The solution to the assault rifle ban is lots of public debate and public pressure on Congress people who vote straight NRA.


Submitted by Mike on Tue, Feb 5, 2013


The real "impediment to reason" is your side not getting it's facts straight.

You launch into your case against guns with "Take the proposed ban on automatic weapons."

Morton, no one is considering a ban on automatic weapons.


Because it already happened... in 1986!

It's like Emily Littella (Gilda Radner) on the old Saturday Night Live railing against "making Porto Rico a steak," only to find out later that the discussion was about making it a state, not a steak. Her trrademark "never mind" is classic comedy gold.

Too bad your mis-information is not so funny or likely to end with your "never mind."

If you're really against the 2nd amendment, why not play by the rules and get it overturned with a new constitutional amendment? I'll tell you why... because most Americans want to own guns and cherish that constitutional right.

So, instead, you get your facts wrong with an emotional appeal to constantly chip away at other people's rights.


If you'd like to learn a little more about what an "assault weapon" is or isn't, check this out:

Morton, best of luck with your facts.

Michele, can anyone just make up whatever the want fact-wise here? Even if you decided not to tamper with Morton's fine post, you might want to add an Editor's note when your guest blogger is so completely wrong on his central fact.

In any case, keep up the good work Miichele.

Submitted by Morton Chalfy on Tue, Feb 5, 2013

Facts are funny. Perhaps no congressperson or other political office holder is currently proposing a ban on assault weapons but a majority of the rest of the country is. The central fact is that assault weapons have no place in peaceful societies. Where they exist (like here and in Afghanistan and Iraq) mass murders are committed. Where they don't they aren't.

Submitted by Mike on Tue, Feb 5, 2013


You keep using the terms "automatic weapons" and "assault weapons" as though they mean the same thing. Did you follow the link to learn a little more about it?

I can lead you water, Morton, but I can't seem to make you think!

Yes, plenty of Senators would like a redux of the assault weapons ban.

No, our military does not use the assault weapons being proposed for banning.

They use the far more powerful automatic weapons, which are already banned for civilians.

They are two different things

I guess I should thank you for making my point that you just don't care about the facts. Apparently, you care about how some big name gun legislation would make you feel more than what it means or would actually do.

That is quite common.

Check out the info in the link and then lets talk some more!

Submitted by Morton Chalfy on Tue, Feb 5, 2013

Mike, thanks for your input. I'm really not interested in the definitions of assault weapons or automatic weapons. I'm interested in the lives of innocent people, very often children. So I'll ask directly, do you think the current state of our laws and practices with respect to firearms are healthy? Do you think there is a legitimate use for weapons that fire dozens of bullets a minute in peaceful societies? Do you think we just have to suck it up and bear outbreaks of massacres every so often? I don't.

Submitted by Mike on Tue, Feb 5, 2013

Hi Morton,

Okay, so you’re not interested in the details of the guns or the legislation affecting them.


What if I told you that the assault weapons ban would only affect guns that are grey in color… only the grey color guns – would you still be all for it?

No, probably not.

In terms of details (and I know you’re not interested, but maybe someone else is), the definition of an assault weapon is really about some fairly cosmetic differences… muzzle flash suppression, clip size, pistol grips, stock type. These are all things that have about as much bearing on the lethality of the weapon as do its color.

But, hey, you’re not interested in details. That’s cool.

But can you see how if you’re not interested in the details, then it starts to seem like you’re not interested in the likely outcome either?

Honestly, it sounds like you’re interested in how legislation makes you feel, more than you are its various likely results. Think about that for a minute.

If I were promoting legislation to limit your constitutional rights in some way, wouldn’t you want me to know the facts? Or, if invoked the sacred “children” claim, then let’s just do whatever feels good, right?

Earlier you kind of made fun of distrusting the federal government. Can you really look at the cavalcade of government history and declare, “wow, incredibly powerful governments have a great record of treating a defenseless population fairly!”

Further, you never did respond to why you don’t just go ahead and put up a constitutional amendment and be done with that pesky 2nd Amendment. Could it be that, after all of the judicial attacks on it, the 2nd amendment is still found to be constitutional and maybe you don’t want to play by the rules? Fact is, you’re against the second amendment. So, why not just say so and fight that?

Like it or not, the second amendment says, and has been ruled on to mean time and again exactly what it says; “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

By the way, had you followed that link you could have learned more about what a complete waste of time the first assault weapons ban was. But, okay, you’re not interested in details. Sorry to bring up some instructive bit of historical experience that may have an affect on the outcome.

Submitted by Morton Chalfy on Wed, Feb 6, 2013

True, I am not interested in many of the details you want to lure me into argument (useless) with. I am interested in a situation that continually supplies atrocities at the hands of probably deranged people with weapons of fairly mass destruction in their hands. I do not dismiss the concept of unfair government at all but the guns have not changed that in America, and it could be argued that they perpetuate the erosion of our important rights, that of freedom of speech and from religious tyranny. The second amendment speaks to the need of a militia in a time when militias were still a conceptual necessity and when rifles were muzzle loaded. This government is amenable to political pressure from either side (though the monied interests have more access) and increased freedoms come through the ballot box. I reiterate my main point, weapons of war have no place in a civilized society. And don't cavil about the meaning of "weapons of war" as the 26 dead in Connecticut can't hear you.

Submitted by Mike on Wed, Feb 6, 2013

Okay, so you prefer a fact free discussion, with no interest in the details and where they lead in your lust to disarm American citizens. Got it.

Why not get rid of all alcohol? That kills many time more people than guns. Oh, that's right. we tried that and only outlaws had liquor.

Huh. I wonder if outlawing guns would result in only outlaws... no sorry, that would be bringing facts into it. Close one. Phew. From here on, I'm keeping it fact free as you requested.

You can argue the militia part of the second amendment, but that's already been done in court. So, why not a new constitutional amendment?

Oh darn, there I go again with facts. Sorry.

What about people who successfully defend themselves from attack or prevent attacks from occurring by having a gun? Do all of them deserve to die? There are loads of children in that group too.

Would you like some links to those stories? No, probably not. Again with the facts. Sorry. Give me another chance, please.

You never did answer why your emotional appeal should get ushered past the constitution that protects everyone's rights. I guess that won't be forthcoming or if it is it will be "what about the children??????!!!!!"


I guess with your absurdly high level of trust for absolute power enjoyed by the federal government, you in effect don't really think we need a constitution.

I mean, our government and governments everywhere have such a long and noble history of always doing the right thing.... why have a document protecting rights, correct?

Or, is it that you alone get to choose which rights enjoyed by whom are protected.

If not, then you really should consider getting it amended.

Good luck!

Submitted by Morton Chalfy on Fri, Feb 8, 2013

Your arguments so confused me that I had to go back and re-read my original post. As I thought I never advocated a ban on any weapons, only common sense controls. As usual the arguments from the right disregard what is said to set up the straw-men arguments they believe they have effective answers for (even if their answers are specious.) As long as violence is used to settle differences we will not get rid of guns or any other weapons. Not to keep armaments under intelligent control is counter-productive in our current civilization. We don't live in a movie or the old wild west we live here with our children. I'd elect Wyatt Earp sheriff. "Don't bring your guns to town."