"Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
Gun-rights advocates have long aimed that line at efforts to strengthen firearms-control laws.
Regardless of that ongoing debate about firearm access, though, few Americans want background checks for potato possession.
Yet WPRI-TV in Providence, R.I., citing police accounts, recently reported that "a man carrying a potato disguised as a gun unsuccessfully attempted to rob a convenience store and a dry-cleaners" recently.
And: "The store's manager said he chased the suspect off with a baseball bat after he shouted 'give me the money.' "
The suspect, who was arrested last week, allegedly stuck a potato to the end of a grill lighter and brandished it in a threatening manner while making his futile demands for cash.
However, the store manager and dry-cleaner clerk realized that a potato is much less menacing than a gun.
Of course, there is no legal requirement to register potatoes in Rhode Island - or any other state.
Still, when consumed in greasy-french-fry form in massive quantities, as they too often are in our extra-large food-consumption culture, potatoes can be bad for you.
But a baked potato can be good for you - if you don't "load" it with the heavy ammunition of butter, sour cream, cheese and/or bacon bits.
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