Monday, September 23, 2013

Some thoughts about Starbucks and Guns

So, by now anyone who is likely to be reading my blog has heard about Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz' Open Letter requesting that we not bring guns " into our stores or outdoor seating areas."

As anyone reading this blog is almost certainly aware, I live in what I sometimes refer to as "the southern frontier of Martin Luther King County"1,so they are probably wondering what my thoughts are.

I'm conflicted.  I'm conflicted because I rarely got anything at Starbucks before Starbucks had announced their nominal neutrality in the debate over gun rights anyway.  I am also conflicted because of the multiple *facepalm* tactics employed by the advocates of Open Carry...

{An aside here.  At least one of the photos that gained wide distribution across the Internet in the midst of this issue was of a man "open carrying" a shotgun in a Starbucks.  I have been told that the subject of this photo is allegedly a US Navy sailor  "open carrying" his issued weapon in a Starbucks on base in the Middle East.  (Kuwait or Qatar.)  If so, I find the use of the photo misleading and irresponsible -- not his posting it to his own page, but the wide dissemination of it in support of a cause, without explanation}

Disclaimer: I have had run ins before with Open Carry advocates.  Too many of them have an in-your-face style that I find offensive.  During one debate on the WA-CCW Yahoo! mailing list several years ago, I suggested that range protection legislation was more important than Open Carry, especially since Open Carry was already legal in WA, if not widely recognized.  You'd have thought I'd proposed renaming the state after Osama Bin Laden; the OC contingent immediately began the ad hominem attacks on myself, my character, and my dedication to Our Cause and Mom, The Flag, and Apple Pie.

Which does nothing to win your cause any Brownie Points with veterans in general, and retired NCOs in particular.

A couple of further points to keep in mind, are that, while Seattle is generally recognized as a polite, courteous city, possibly due to it's Scandinavian influence, it also has a reputation for passive-aggressive behavior.  (Same source?)

Also, while Washington has a rep for Progressive Liberalism, two topics which keep the entire state, including Seattle, from being the most ultra-violet of states are income tax and guns.

We're rather proud, in fact, that Sarah Brady refers to us as "Gun Crazy Washington."  Among other things to keep in mind, Washington had Shall Issue concealed carry permits in the early 1960s, and State Preemption in the 80s.

Anyway.  I don't generally OC.  I regard it as poor tactics for self-defense.  I never enjoyed being the center of attention, or of causing people to freak out.  Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm misguided.  But the fact that the OC contingent tends to over-react is off-putting.

Which does not mean that my dedication to the cause of Gun Rights is diminished!

Now, one thing that is causing confusion in the Gun Rights Community is the fact that Howard Schultz' Open Letter ask us "not to bring firearms" into Starbucks' property, but it talks about OC, and it also says that "this is not a ban, it's a request."  A lot of people are choosing to interpret that as some sort of "wink-and-a-nod" acceptance of concealed carry.  And the Intardt00bz are being torn up with backing-and-forthing and justifications and gnats being strained at...

Anyhoo, as a geek with border-line Aspergers Syndrome2, 3, one thing I think a lot of people are missing in their attempts to parse Mr. Schultz' request is that, under Washington State law -- and the term "Seattle Progressive/Liberal" gets tossed around a lot -- a prohibition of firearms in a place of business has no weight unless every entrance to the facility is posted.  So that Starbucks stand in your Safeway store, or the mall, or whatever, cannot effectively ban firearms.

Also, such a prohibition has no weight under law unless they catch you, ask you to leave, and you either refuse to leave or return, armed. Even then, the most they can do is ask the police to cite you for misdemeanor trespass. 

Obviously, the law in your locality will vary, but I think that Mr. Schultz ran the letter by the legal department and they told him to go with what could realistically be requested.

Meanwhile, some people are all butthurt because the letter addressed Open Carry and Firearms in general, not the Antis.

No shit.  You thought Starbucks was going to announce an Anti-First Amendment Rights Policy?

Yes, a corporate policy addressing political demonstrations/debates on Starbucks controlled property might be prudent.  In fact, I would like to see them publish a policy that "any participants of meetings, conversations, or debates that get heated or confrontational will be ejected."

I would also like to see them try and enforce it, especially when so many of their facilities are inside other businesses, or they are claiming "outside seating areas, which in many cases are simply wide areas on sidewalks.

So, to sum up, my own frequenting of Starbucks is fairly recent, they don't want me or my kind in their stores, they recognize the impossibility of an outright ban, and are engaging in what we locally refer to as stereotypical Seattle passive-aggressiveness on a corporate scale.

I will probably go back to seeking my caffeine fix elsewhere.

Unless I feel like being a rebel, in which case, suck it, Howard Schultz.

A couple of links:

1.  Meaning absolutely no disrespect to Dr. King, I have to wonder what he would have thought about changing the name of King County to Martin Luther King County, not to mention the money spent on the change.  I also wonder how the Chris Rock Rule "If you're looking at a street sign that says 'Martin Luther King Avenue' you're in the bad part of town" applies to the entire county...?
2.  Yes, I know the shrinks de-listed Aspergers Syndrome.  They got all pissy because us non-shrink types were using the term.  They did the same several years ago with "neurosis."   "You can't use our secret codewords!"
3.  I say "borderline" because I assume anyone who types "Do I have Aspergers?" into their Internet Search Engine of Choice and takes the online "Do I Have Aspergers?" Quiz will probably get a positive answer...


NotClauswitz said...

We used-to have *unloaded* open carry here in CA, but the OC advocates pushed it hard and it wasa one of the first things the One-Party the Stupidslature got banned. UNLOADED - now we got nuthin', so thanks huh?

Drang said...

ISTR they pushed it with unloaded open carry at Starbucks, no?

NotClauswitz said...

And at Peete's and...they scared the sheeple and SoCal soccer moms - and the hair-trigger assembly had no problem jumping on that fear and squashing the Right.
IMO in order to alter general perceptions from "Demon Gunn" to a normalized casual everyday rights standpoint, sheeple-people have to first know down-deep it's an actual Right-right, not a Biblical Right or Thumping-nything else, a normal everyday shoelaces and keys right, and that's not what was happening.
IMO first we gotta get CCW regularized, then OC can proceed. We're moving to a county (El Dorado) and Sheriff where CCW is normalized and guns are happy-things, where people are not discomforted to fly the flag even. And I'm liking it...