Rightbloggers Mad Starbucks Still Lets Them Bring Guns But Isn't Kissing Their Ass Hard Enough
But when the Starbucks' CEO Howard Shultz requested -- not demanded, mind you, but requested -- that people visiting his coffee shops please leave their guns outside, much as saloon-keepers did in the days of Wyatt Earp, rightbloggers threw a fit.
Why Starbucks? Probably because if they let you flash your gun at Cletus' Bait Shop and Chaw Depot, it's not news, but if the hippie-dippy Starbucks lets you, it's man bites dog. (As a commenter to a related story at Breitbart.com grunted approvingly, "Kind of weird. Anti-gun liberals are their main customers, sitting around having their phony, 'intellectual' discussions.")
In some cases, the gun advocates got mild pushback, which they seemed to consider a provocation. As KING5 News reported in October 2010, for instance, one Tom Brewster had been asked by police for ID when he came packing to a Spanaway, Washington Starbucks ("I carry [a gun] in the open because I have nothing to hide"), and though the cops let him alone once he'd shown it, 35 of Brewster's buddies later came back with their own guns, just to show everyone how harmless a bunch of resentful people with weapons can be.
This seems to have been part of a strategy -- get in trouble for your gun in a public place, return with armed backup to show everybody you have right. "Two weeks ago five patrons at a Madison, Wisconsin restaurant were cited for disorderly conduct for openly carrying holstered handguns," gun rightsblogger Jeff Soyer of Alphecca wrote that same month. "...Today, Wisconsin Carry, Inc. is planning a "Meet and Greet" at the Starbuck's in Ashwaubenon, WI..."
Not quite a bitchin' as "Guns & Booze," but you could always get drunk before you bring your gun to Starbucks. They'll all be too scared to hassle you!
The practice attracted attention, as the practitioners apparently had hoped it would, and the chain eventually issued a delicate statement, saying that "while we deeply respect the views of all our customers" on controversial gun issues, "Starbucks' long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged. We comply with local laws and statutes in all the communities we serve. That means we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states."
This cheered the People of the Gun, and they started having "Starbucks Appreciation Days" to further publicize their wonderful new gunman-hostage relationship with the coffee shops. Here, for example, a gun bulletin board poster announces one set for Valentine's Day 2012: "There is no open carry in SC. Which really REALLY REALLY sucks. But, I will be leaving early enough to grab a coffee, and maybe..." Though it sounds like a suicide note, no incidents were reported. (Top rightblogger Instapundit also noted the event, adding later, "Starbucks should be rewarded for refusing to bow to bigots.")
On August 9, 2013, the People of the Gun, perhaps deciding the sheeple were ready to hear their message loud and clear, held a much better publicized "Starbucks Appreciation Day." This one had a big Facebook page, lots of attention from Fox News affiliates, and a great news hook: One of the brandish-ins would be held in Newtown, Connecticut, site of the Newtown massacre -- you know, that gun bloodbath in 2012? Oh, you don't remember? That's okay, there've been so many. Anyway, some of the brethren thought it'd be neat to celebrate and flash guns at the place where 26 people were slaughtered by them.
To normal people this might seem in terrible taste, to say the least, but these are cold-dead-hands types we're talking about, so rightbloggers wished them godspeed: "If you need a Friday afternoon pick-me-up and support your right to carry a firearm, head over to Starbucks," wrote Katie Pavlich at TownHall. "This had the usual crowd of activists up in arms," laffed Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, and isn't that what matters -- not ordinary decorum in a shattered community, but pissing off stupid libtards? And with guns yet! Why, it's almost as good as shooting them.
One fellow videoed himself going to Starbucks with a rifle. "I wanna thank Starbucks for their position supporting the Second Amendment, I appreciate it a lot," the guy told the baristas, who kept their heads down and continued working on his order, hoping their families knew that they loved them. Some cops came in and gently urged the gun guy outside to ask if he's trying to provoke some kind of reaction with his brandishing. "No, sir," said the cowboy, "we do this for educational purposes." This being Texas, an open-carry-and-then-some state, and the gunman being white, there was nothing the cops could do thereafter but wait for the hail of bullets, but thankfully our hero was in educational rather than mass-murder mode, and collected his order without incident.
At this point Starbucks CEO Shultz seemed to want to stay out of the controversy more than ever -- "I'm not a politician," he pleaded to the press. "I run a coffee company and we're trying to abide by the laws in which we do business" -- and when the gun guys showed up in Newtown, that Starbucks branch closed early. Maybe they thought it was a decent compromise, though some of the brethren were pissed, per the Washington Times: "'I came here to support Starbucks for supporting the Constitution,' Dom Basile of Watertown told a local CBS affiliate. 'Now, they're not supporting us.'"
By and large, though, there was no reason for the brethren to consider it anything but a triumph; for, like the Battle of Chick-fil-A -- the 2012 anti-gay demo which only required right-wingers to show up at fast-food restaurants -- there was no way to measure how many gun nuts were among Starbucks' patrons, so it could have been a kabillion for all you know, therefore we win. Plus which, they could be sure they'd made an impression on those folks in the Starbucks who saw them come in, and anyone else within firing range.
Sill, Connecticut's two Democratic Senators, who may have heard from constituents about the gunplay, complained about it. So did other anti-gun groups, and some of them even threatened to boycott Starbucks, but since they didn't have guns drawn no one paid attention to them.
As you may recall, if the NRA hasn't already scrubbed your memory of it, last week there was another big mass shooting at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard. This may have moved Shultz to issue another extremely timid, yet differently shaded, statement on September 17, the day after the shootings, which basically said again that anyone who could legally bear arms could bear them in Starbucks, but that Schultz rather hoped they wouldn't.
"We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America's gun laws," wrote Schultz, "and we recognize the deep passion for and against the 'open carry' laws adopted by many states." But "pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called 'Starbucks Appreciation Days,'" he went on, "that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of 'open carry'..."
Trying even harder to be what we suppose someone like Chuck Todd would call "fair," Schultz also complained that "some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners." See, both sides are equally to blame! But still, Starbucks was "respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas..." He hastened to assure patrons "this is a request and not an outright ban," in part because he was "not comfortable" with a situation that would "potentially require our partners to confront armed customers." (We bet those partners wouldn't be comfortable trying to eject a guy with a gun, either, and not for political reasons.)
So, Shultz had made the most cringing request possible -- in fact, had said that if gun nuts didn't honor his request to behave as he preferred in his own stores, nothing would happen to them.
Nonetheless the brethren were upset at his assault on their liberties.