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Ear to the Ground

Starbucks in Gun Activist Crossfire

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Posted on Mar 3, 2010

Those aspiring screenwriters and novelists clogging up Starbucks may soon have more dramatic material from which to draw inspiration, as the coffee chain has become a reluctant battlefield in the culture wars. Gun enthusiasts and/or nuts have taken to arming themselves before overpaying for coffee.

Gun control advocates responded by pressuring the chain to ban guns across the board.

Starbucks would rather not have to deal with any of this, so the company has decided to stick to the law of the local land. If it’s legal to carry firearms in your town, lock and load up on caffeine. If not, leave the hand cannon at home.

That’s pretty much a straight-up cop-out, because Starbucks, like any private business, has the right to keep deadly weapons out of its stores. Even in Texas.  —PZS

AP via Yahoo:

Coffee chain Starbucks Corp. is sticking to its policy of letting customers carry guns where it’s legal and said it does not want to be put in the middle of a larger gun-control debate.

The company’s statement, issued Wednesday, stems from a recent campaign by some gun owners, who have walked into Starbucks and other businesses to test state laws that allow gun owners to carry weapons openly in public places. Gun control advocates have protested.

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By Airsoft King, January 9, 2011 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

Starbucks are fence sitting. Phew! If I owned a cafe or any business where communities gather, I know my stance would be to leave your firearms at home.

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By Peetawonkus, March 5, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Jeez, dude, what the hell are you talking about? Is it too much to ask that you make one clear point? You don’t even know who the enemy is. You’re just…firing blind.

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By rollzone, March 5, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

hello again.
  listen, ‘pardner’, which o’ yers i aint: meet me out in front of the Starbucks at noon.
  my position on gun control is extremist: no permits until you can hit what you are aiming at while being fired upon.
  my position on personal protection is everyone has a right to self defense.
  my opinion on a coffee controversy: is between macchiatto and cone brewed; i believe in variety. corporate sponsorship of laws is their business.
  my question to you at high noon is: how do you know when you walk into an establishment, it is not occupied by mostly gun carrying off-duty cops?
  my point is: it is time to abolish handguns, for stun/or humane methods of immobilization. i specifically did not write Taser. if we need more research, or funding, that is the answer. my belief is that it already exists, either with sound waves, or some science unawares to public consumption. until we replace handguns, with a more humane approach to unacceptable behavioral problems, we could concentrate on the causes of the behavior. these people sporting shooters do represent a return to the wild west, and there is nothing romantic about the reality of shooting people dead. you do not say “cut” and they get back up off the floor. this behavior of ‘protection from society’ -replacing ‘protection from unnatural elements’(injuns?); is a fact of sympathetic reasoning, and not herd mentality. a group of people can still over-power one or two, and people need to reawaken their group strengths. people befriending their common neighbors ...that alone would eliminate the desire for personal handguns. until then, another cup ‘o Joe (after running to the rest room)- to the Trekkies. set your phasers on stun. 
  i will be looking for you on the sidewalk, to hear what point you have caffeinated yourself into now: at noon, yellow belly.

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By Peetawonkus, March 5, 2010 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Yeah, well, pard, we ain’t in the Wild West no more.

Gun toters always fantasize they’re going to do some good with their pistolas. A store or bank will be held up and there they will be, their hero guns a’blazin’ and the day will be saved.

The reality is that, during armed holdups, some dumfok pulls his piece to be a hero and gets himself shot. Or worse, bullets fly and innocent bystanders pay the price.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If I go to a store or a coffee shop and there are people there with guns, I’ll just assume that is a dangerous place and not go there again. If the establishment is Ok with guns on the premises, fine, let that be their call. But in short order stable citizens and people with children will cease to come there and they’ll be left with a roomful of people with guns as patrons. And what could possibly go wrong with that?

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By rollzone, March 5, 2010 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

hello. do not let me interrupt yer feudin. my issue is the civility of mankind returning to the wild west. certainly when toters used to hang their self protection by the door, upon entering a civilized establishment; the proprietor leveled the responsibility of patron safety at the end of a double barreled shotgun. patrons were safer when the proprietor allowed armed theft, while acting as bystander to public safety (personal creative narrative). encouraging packers amongst caffeine addicts does fertilize many avenues of quick draw protestation to store shortcomings. imagine the first coffee bean shortage calamity. handguns are for permanently shooting people dead. we should be carrying stun phasers by now. cup ‘o Joe to the Trekkies.

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By nubeewon, March 5, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

I own several guns, too.  I don’t like being around people who pack guns in public because people who do that are demonstrating the same kind of instability that people who drink a lot or engage in any other activity that is potentially dangerous suffer from.

I just don’t trust them. 

That is MY prerogative.

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By WykydRed, March 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze,

No, you didn’t hit any nerve. I wasn’t trying to “nail you” on your post or your beliefs. Really, not the intention.  I was just using your wording as an example of how wording shows the mentality of the thought process of people (all people) in arguments. It was more an anthropological and psychological observation on how people in general use words to validate their beliefs while hiding deep prejudices and anger. I’m very sorry if you read it as some sort of attack or that I was taking a side. It was never intended to be that at all. Just an observation on “hidden” psychology beneath words that we ALL use.

From your statements, it’s clear you take the same stand of “let other people do what they want” that I do, and that gives me some kind of hope that people CAN live that way here. But we still haven’t gotten over having to ... validate? ourselves and our individual beliefs without having to justify those outlooks and beliefs by using labels like “Liberal” or “pro-choice” or any other politically-aligned-sounding words. Why do Americans have to justify their beliefs in order to validate the others they have? Other people don’t.

Personally, I don’t like guns around everywhere, but, like you, I’m not going to do anything to take someone else’s right away to carry one. What disturbs me about everyone in general is the psychological imagery even the “liberal” uses to define other people. Example from your post: “Once they quit receiving attention, they will go home and clutch their guns in the privacy of their own loneliness.”

Every human being in America is up against people defining them by one belief. I was just pointing out that using the words “Liberal” and “progressive” to define yourself doesn’t jive with mental imagery you purposely try to invoke in others to minimalize gun owners as inferior people.

Most of us do it at one time or another, and it’s just an attack. Your open outlook on leaving other people alone to live their lives how they want is great! But why, under the open words, stir up mental imagery of how people who “love” guns cradle them in the dark and croon to them sweetly like some weird World War II poster about “Japs” and “Nazis”? When I think “gun owner”, I just see someone with a gun. Could be a man, could be a woman, but I don’t make assumptions about what they do in the dark. The gun owners I know just clean them and put them where they think they’ll need them, or take them out to a range and practice with them and they’re hot on gun safety. I feel perfectly fine around them and I like talking to them about their guns, sure, but about all the other stuff they like too. Like knitting!

I guess if I am “selling” anything, (and this is to everyone), it’s simply don’t say one thing while invoking your prejudice about how you see labeled people in your own mind. People label me, and they put the same justifications of how I must drool over pictures of aborted fetuses in the dark because I’m pro-choice. They demand that I see “drug addicts” the way they do, and I don’t. They demand that I take a stance against gay people and gay marriage because some imaginary “god” wants it that way and that my house is probably filled with didoes and oils and I film child rapes because I won’t do it “their” way. I don’t see gay men and mind-flash that they’re screaming drag queens, and they do, under the “open and accepting” wording they use to hide their dislike. Hunters don’t sit in trees all day getting drunk and shooting any animal they can see. Whack jobs pretending they’re hunting do, but not actual hunters.

I’m just suggesting to people, hey, it’s okay to come out and say you don’t like people who carry guns, but you aren’t willing to demand they stop. That’s liberal! Or at least, liberating.

Anyone wanna start the Constitutionally Chaotic party? Throw a BIG monkey wrench into politics! hehehe

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By Peetawonkus, March 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Ah, here it comes. Playing the Hitler card. Well, you see, Pookie, you’re exactly the kind of person who shouldn’t have a gun. And especially be allowed to carry it into stores, shops or anywhere, really, except a shooting range. Your post is just seething with foam-flying-off-the-lips rage, lashing out with barely concealed threats against anyone you think might be coming to take your precious frickin’ guns. Obviously, dude, you are about ready to pop and you should seriously consider therapy before really do shoot somebody for crimes real or imagined. If you actually are an “indigenous radical pro choice queer elder with a cane” then you should by now understand that your public safety in this society is not guaranteed by a gun but by laws, education and tolerance.

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By Pookie, March 4, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am an armed indigenous radical pro choice queer elder with a cane.

All of you who ridicule law abiding open and concealed carry Americans are in
my mind the same as those who have bashed me all my life for my race, my
gender, my sexual preferences, my disability, and my atheism.

I’ve had it with so-called radicals who sound more like Hitler Youth.

My right to self protection and method of pursuing that is NOT for you to
question, nor me to have to explain to any fascistic little boy who crosses my
path. Especially one who hasn’t had the experience of being stalked, harassed,
raped, bashed, burned, lynched, or hung on a fence to die.

Never again! Stop using your hatred of Starbucks as a way of disempowering
the only equalizer that victims of corporate and right wing oppression have!

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By Squeeky, March 4, 2010 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

obtw, “we still reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” (to those who carry weapons and to those who do not)

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By Peetawonkus, March 4, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Miko
“If they have the ‘right’ to prevent customers from bringing in guns, then they also have the ‘right’ to allow people to protect themselves while within the store.”

Really? Protect themselves? From what? Over priced Mochaccinos? I assume that if any coffee shop needs to have people in it who bear guns at their hips or in a shoulder holster, that is a neighborhood I don’t want to be in. And anybody who is in that neighborhood with a gun at their hip is looking for trouble.

I’ll also say this. The first time a gun battle erupts in a Starbucks, you can bet there will be hell to pay on every conceivable level. If Starbucks had an sense at all they’d squash this Wild West crap before they get hit (and they will) with lawsuits and so much negative publicity their “bottomline” will be able to crawl under a snake’s belly.

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By mrfreeze, March 4, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

WykydRed - Hit a nerve with you did I? Perhaps you were trying to make a point through all your “bigot” talk. As is usually the case, when folks like you don’t have any real justification for your arguments, you resort to name-calling and innuendo.

What did I write? Go ahead and carry your guns in public. Knock yourselves out. End of that portion of the discussion.

My other point is: It’s a myth that Americans need some sort of “education” about guns by gun carrying patrons of any business (or the NRA or any other gun group). You act as if we are ignorant of our “rights.” You yourself emphasize my point by going on about winners and losers. Can you read? The gun lobby has won. Big deal. Really, how many other ways do you want me to write it?

You seem to want to oversell your point as do all bad salesmen. You prove my point that the NRA and gun advocates love to keep this controversy alive because it’s big money. You can go on and on and on about the “rightness” or “wrongness” of gun ownership, carrying etc. and ultimately it still boils down to money. You win. So what?

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By loneagle, March 4, 2010 at 8:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s an eating establishment here in the town I live
that has a sign in the window, a gun with a red circle
and cross slash over it. Always makes me laugh when I
go in there, but I doubt anyone carrying a concealed
weapon ever stops and goes and leaves the gun in the
car because of it. There’s people packing guns
everywhere all over the world and rules don’t change a
thing. Starbucks could put such a sign up, send a
message, not lose a thing.

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By Poly, March 4, 2010 at 12:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do you guys not get it. Your second amendment says you can wear short sleeved shirts and somehow you guys think it means wearing a gun on your hip. The founding fathers were just lightening up on the Puritans dress code.

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By WykydRed, March 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Yes, but you are prejudiced by your own statements, and bigoted as well.

You typed, “Once they quit receiving attention, they will go home and clutch their guns in the privacy of their own loneliness.

Oh, by the way, I’m liberal, I’m not afraid of guns, I’m a good shot; however, I don’t have a fetish about guns. “

On one line, you snidely use a bigoted remark about how “these people” act in the privacy of their homes when no one will pay attention to them anymore, and then you have to throw in a final comment about how you yourself are so much better because you don’t have a “fetish” like “they” do.

Please understand I’m not calling you names or anything, but this is what everything breaks down to about anything in any country. “I want THIS.” “Frack you. I want THIS.” And one side is always going to claim they’re morally, intellectually and “progressively” better than the other side. We ALL have our prejudices and are bigots by nature, like it or not. These are the differences (but not the only ones) between people who call themselves “liberal” and people who are “libertarians”. And it’s always going to be an ongoing battle no matter which side makes how many good, solid points. But the fights will always be biased and there can be only one winner.

Starbucks, and every other company that gets in the middle of these raging wars might get some free advertisement from it, but no one is going to put a dent in their business by just not going to Starbucks. YOU won’t go, but others will and you’ll stew about it. But if you’re actually for the rights of every individual in this country and are “progressive” enough to demand we all have freedom under the Constitution, then someone ain’t gonna get what they want. That actually is what freedom is about. “I was raised not to believe in abortion, so it should be against the law!” “Well I don’t care about your religious convictions, and I want abortion to stay the law!” Funny thing is, the Constitution protects both. If it isn’t a thing you want, don’t have one. But you can’t make laws based on what YOU want, no matter how many of you gather up to give your base the “majority”. If ONE woman wants to have one for whatever her reasons are, she can and should and she doesn’t have to explain it to anyone because it wouldn’t do any good anyway. Someone will disagree with her right to live her life the way she sees fit, and will hurry out to demand laws with their gang behind them. What it comes down to is a simple question: Am I baby sitting other people because “I” don’t like it? Am I demanding other people behave “my” way because I don’t like how “they” are behaving? If the answer is yes, then you are neither liberal, progressive or Constitutional.

I wonder if next elections (on whatever level) everyone send a clear message to this entire country that no one is going to babysit anyone anymore. We elect nothing but atheist Libertarians to every, single office. Okay, they will screw up the country, refuse to enact laws that demand people behave however other people demand and just generally cockup everything. But then each one of us will have to choose how to behave and think for ourselves. Ourselves. Without bribery, media spin or “fitting in”. The only difference between that fantasy and the reality of now is, we will all have to choose for ourselves. Each and every one. Wouldn’t that be something?

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By mrfreeze, March 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

At the heart of this pseudo story is the ever present notion that liberals and progressives “don’t understand guns” so gun enthusiasts feel compelled to “educate” them about how mundane and ubiquitous guns are.They carrying them in the open so we can all know how wonderful our 2nd Amendment rights are.

The real issue though is money. Money in the coffers of the NRA who loves to stir up controversy around these types of stories. Unfortunately, the anti-gun people take the bait and make things worse by whining and complaining that guns “make them uncomfortable.” This just makes the gun lobby more powerful and arrogant.

My friends, I’m as liberal and progressive as it gets and, frankly, I say, let them carry their guns. Let them have all the guns they want. You’re fighting a losing battle and you only help to put money in the pockets of the gun lobby and gun manufacturers the more you rail against gun owners.

I happen to live in Seattle and listening to the debate here at ground zero convinces me that Starbucks will discover that it will lose money when fewer people patronize their stores. Gun owners will also quit carrying their guns when they discover that we really don’t care. After all, the gun enthusiasts want the attention like the class clowns you knew in school. Once they quit receiving attention, they will go home and clutch their guns in the privacy of their own loneliness.

Oh, by the way, I’m liberal, I’m not afraid of guns, I’m a good shot; however, I don’t have a fetish about guns.

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By Snollygoster86, March 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A business it just doesn’t want any part of a quagmire like this.

But a self-described progressive company like Starbucks might benefit from the
controversy.

Moreover, as a trendsetting company -like the Google of the food world-
Starbucks could potentially influence policy on this.  If they start the bandwagon
rolling and enough companies joined in with them, the zeitgeist might be swayed,
even in arsenal-in-every-basement-USA.

Granted, Starbucks pays lip-service to almost everything but it’s bottom line, just
like any other Inc. Co. but a guy can dream, huh?

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By WykydRed, March 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

I have to stand with Starbucks on this one.

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By Miko, March 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not a copout.  If they have the ‘right’ to prevent
customers from bringing in guns, then they also have
the ‘right’ to allow people to protect themselves while
within the store.  So, they said that they weren’t
going to be paternalistic nitwits and weren’t going to
interfere with the rights of their customers, except to
the extent required by law.  Good for them.  I’d rather
that they take a more principled stand and say that
they’ll ignore unjust laws no matter what the
consequences, but this is about the best outcome we
could have expected.

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