September 13, 2007

When Veggies Attack

Guns don't kill people -- plantains do. At least they drive grocery-store workers to murderous rage, according to the Orange County Register. One worker stabbed another at the end of a fistfight over how to stack vegetables:

Among the piles of plantains and cucumbers at La Carreta Supermarket on Chapman Avenue, the two men stacking produce began bickering about the right way and the wrong way to do their job, police said. The argument became physical and the two men took it outside, throwing punches in the store's parking lot, said Orange police Sgt. Dan Adams.

That's when it got ugly. Abraham Marquez, 24, pulled out a steak knife, stabbed his co-worker in the arm, Adams said. Someone driving down the street saw the brawl and called police. Even with shoppers and workers in the store, it was the only call police received about the fight.

Marquez ran, leaving his injured co-worker in the parking lot, police said. Marquez was arrested at his home a few blocks away. He's being held at Orange County jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Who knew produce could generate such passion?

The most amazing part of the story is the fact that none of the witnesses called the police, not even after the stabbing. Only a passing driver thought to notify the police -- and here in California, using a cell phone while driving is a crime. I haven't lived in Southern California for ten years, so I may be out of the loop, but do grocery workers square off so regularly that bystanders don't feel compelled to report it?

I suspect California will try to get ahead of this new crime wave. Expect vegetable registration legislation in the near future.


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Comments (21)

Posted by Otter | September 13, 2007 10:18 AM

'The most amazing part of the story is the fact that none of the witnesses called the police, not even after the stabbing.'

Hey, it Is the Left Coast. It is all about Freedom, and to Hell with Responsibility. Acting responsibly would likely get one sued.

Posted by MarkT | September 13, 2007 10:19 AM

Good thing it didn't happen in Texas or they'd be preemptively locking up all plantains AND the bananas.

Posted by Jazz | September 13, 2007 10:30 AM

Clearly you haven't spent much time in New York City. Far worse than this goes unreported. The truly sad part is that it becomes so common that it's no longer even that shocking if you live with it.

Posted by STSA | September 13, 2007 10:36 AM

Were the bystanders who didn't report it Somali?

Posted by Richard R | September 13, 2007 10:39 AM

It's not illegal to use a cell phone in a car in California.

After July 1 of next year, you'll have to use a hands free device, like a headset or a speakerphone.

Posted by filistro | September 13, 2007 10:40 AM

Captain, since I have been known to complain about the amount of red meat on the menu here, it's only fair that I commend you for providing vegetables today ;-)

Seriously I hope you are having a wonderful vacation and mightily recharging your batteries (or getting lots of wind in your sails?) I think this is the most substantial and entertaining political blog to be found anywhere.

I know something about how draining it can be to have to sit down and produce a couple thousand words every day, whether inspiration is flowing or not. But I can't imagine performing that feat daily in front of a demanding and critical audience, as you do.

Bask in the sunshine, eat well, drink lots of wine and enjoy your family for these two weeks. You deserve it.

Posted by Rovin | September 13, 2007 10:41 AM

C'mom Ed, I'm glad you're getting a chance to visit family here, but is this the best you can do? Did ya miss this little tid-bit of Cal news:

As expected, Schwarzenegger — just before a midnight deadline — rejected SB 924, which would have allowed voters to call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The bill was authored by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland.

Schwarzenegger called the war a federal issue and also cited his opposition to nonbinding advisory legislation. The measure would have appeared on the Feb. 5 ballot with the presidential primaries.

"Placing a nonbinding resolution on Iraq on the same ballot," Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message, "when it carries no weight or authority, would only further divide voters and shift attention from other critical issues that must be addressed."

Perata is miffed cause he didn't get to have his Cindy Sheehan-leftwing-hate-Bush moment. Boo Hoo!

Of course there are some good ol' conservatives up in Nor Cal that have to put up with the wackos down south. (And I do mean north of SF)

Rov in Eureka

Posted by Anthony (Los Angeles) | September 13, 2007 10:55 AM

Of course there are some good ol' conservatives up in Nor Cal...

You mean the marijuana farmers?

Regarding the fight at the grocery store, obviously these guys were amateurs. Plaintains? Cucumbers? Hah! Everyone knows that brussels sprouts are the deadliest vegetable around.

Posted by NahnCee | September 13, 2007 11:11 AM

Every name mentioned in the story, including the name of the supermarket, is Hispanic. And it's Southern California. My guess is that both men, all the other workers AND all of the customers are all illegals, and the very last thing any of them would ever do under any circumstances is call the policia. Ever so much better to leave a dead body lying in the alley for the next guy to trip over and report.

Posted by flenser | September 13, 2007 11:23 AM

Hey, it Is the Left Coast.

No, it's Mexico.

Posted by Otter | September 13, 2007 11:28 AM

Flensex, NahnCee, you Called it. I'm surprised fillistro didn't bring up the 'red meat' part of the article.

And what's wrong with brussel sprouts? ...except for what is sprouting in Brussels these days...

Posted by treehugger | September 13, 2007 11:30 AM

'The most amazing part of the story is the fact that none of the witnesses called the police, not even after the stabbing.'

What Nahncee said.

It's common practice here in what was formerly California, now Mexico's northernmost state.

The same thing happened to a family member, they had to be the ones to call in an illegal who had been stabbed and left bleeding by a dumpster.

Plenty of people around to see what happened, but no one wanted to call it in.

There's a reason that neighborhood is known as "Little Tiajuana".

It used to be a part of a nice, peaceful little California ag town.

Not anymore.

Posted by mrobvious | September 13, 2007 11:36 AM

I thought the problem was with TOMATOES and cucumbers. Now the whole plant kingdom is getting in on the act.

Posted by rbj | September 13, 2007 11:41 AM

If you outlaw vegetables only outlaws will have vegetables.

You can take my vegetables when you pry them from my, aw heck, take them right now.

Posted by Gray | September 13, 2007 12:41 PM


If that behavior "amazed" you, you have not been paying attention. I would remind you that a commander may be forgiven for losing a battle, but is never excused for being surprised.

Posted by XWL | September 13, 2007 1:18 PM

Rovin, sounds like you're ready to back my little partition plan for California.

Just have to get about ten million California voters to agree, and 3/5 of the Senate, shouldn't be too hard . . .

As far as not reporting this crime, this is an example of why the whole 'sanctuary city' designations in urban areas is such a dangerous fallacy. No matter how often cities and counties like Orange and Los Angeles force police and other agencies to turn a blind eye to immigration status, the vast majority of illegals fear getting any official attention or help. The only ones who will are the ones who trust their fake IDs, and are probably more adept at other types of identity fraud.

Sanctuary status is supposed to protect victims and allow them to report crimes, but instead it does more to protect criminals as their immigration status isn't forwarded to federal agencies.

The OC Register goes along with it, too, they don't raise any questions as to the immigration status of the attacker or the victim, even though finding this out would be relevant in explaining this story.

Posted by Only One Cannoli | September 13, 2007 2:04 PM

The solution should be obvious -- Veggie Sensitivity Training for all. A hefty fine for the supermarket owner and, if the owner's a U.S. citizen, we should see about deporting him to his ancestral home unless he's here illegally then we drop the fine.

Of course, we'll need a new state agency and we'll have to raise an army of Sensitivity Trainers fluent in different languages to mandate the proper cuke-stacking method but it's a small sacrifice when a wholesome foodgroup is on the line.

I believe these men can be reformed -- emphatic gesturing with a steak knife shows at least one of them has the necessary passion for veggies. The shlub with the knife hole in his arm might not have what it takes but we shouldn't give up on anyone. Leave no produce worker behind!

Welcome back to socal, Cap'n. A week earlier and you would have been baking in a nasty heat wave. Gorgeous weather now.

Posted by LilTrixter | September 13, 2007 5:55 PM

Hey Rov in N. CA. most of California is RED. It's just those pesky coastal parts that are heavily populated and blue.

Maybe the San Andreas will cooperate and create the Blue Isle of California as a new socialist republic (shame our state capital is located inland)

I am a native S. Cal gal of Japanese/German descent who grew up in John Bircher Society of OC. my sibs and i were definitely the rare children of "colour" through out our school years at the time. I attended college inland and never returned to reside in OC. My return visits to OC always amazed me how balkanized it was becoming in the '90's and how extreme it is now.

mrobvious :) i also thought it was TOMATOS and CUCUMBERS in the same bag that are so deadly!


Posted by NahnCee | September 13, 2007 11:43 PM

Can you imagine a Real American fighting over a plantain? How many Americans outside of SoCal even know what a stupid plantain is?

Posted by Californio | September 14, 2007 2:52 AM

Well, I have you all beat. First of all I live close enough to La Carreta market to actually shop there - and yes, I do shop there. Coming from the San Gabriel valley - Orange County was a bit of an adjustment. Very few hispanics I observed here seemed to be more than peasants. Mostly nice, pleasant people, but peasants. It is not their race - it is that they were likely their race's version of red-necks/white trash. I would refrain from using the spanish words my grandmother would use on such persons as such terms are usually too harsh for delicate ears. (not curse words, but powerful enough that if white-looking me were to bark them at the brawlers they would likely stop and be too stunned to attack me)(When I was stupid enough to say something to stop an altercation years ago, that was the response then - of course I would think better of intervening now...)

P.S. La Carreta has great produce - I had no idea the employees were so passionate about it! [ Hey! Don't bleed on the produce! Ewwwww! Maybe I'll wash it twice.]

Posted by onlineanalyst | September 14, 2007 5:30 AM

Is is insensitive to ask if the celery of these disputing employees was off the books?

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