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September 23, 2013 at 6:45 AM
The headline is borrowed from a sign in Dodge City, Kansas in 1878. That community and other frontier towns – Tombstone and Deadwood – knew what passed for “open carry” 135 years ago had nothing to do with public safety.
Check out the picture here via a link to a 2011 Salon article by Saul Cornell, a professor of American History at Fordham University. He is the author of “A Well Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America.”
America needs a bit of historical context in the midst of this latest wave of pro-gun activism. Strapping on a sidearm and going for a cup of coffee was not what the nation’s founders had in mind.
Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of the Starbucks Coffee Company, spoke for lots of queasy customers worried about running into pistol-packing latte sippers. Schultz asked them kindly, in news accounts and full-page newspaper ads, to please stay away.
“The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers,” Schultz said in the ad. Yes, me included. I won’t hang around to watch some armed idiot have some bizarre accident that claims an innocent life.
Years ago, a friend died in front of her children in their family living room, fatally wounded by a stray bullet from a neighboring house. This past summer in Grants Pass, Ore, a man using an assualt rifle as a crutch killed a little girl in an upstairs apartment as he got up from the couch.
The nation is working its way through another shooting tragedy, this time at the Washington Navy Yard. Last December it was 26 lives lost in an elementary school. Read the Cornell piece to understand what steps can be taken that respect gun rights, but introduce a measure of sanity into a mindless environment.
September 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Editor’s note: Osa Hale is an intern in our opinion section. She just graduated from Western Washington University.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the organization Washington CeaseFire have introduced a “Gun-Free Zone” program, encouraging businesses to exercise their rights to ban guns from their private property. This is a quick and easy attempt to stand up to gun violence.
Starbucks said Tuesday it would join the gun-free program in an open letter from Chief Executive Howard Schultz.
Although it makes sense to try to remove guns from the equation, the gun-free program seems like trying to bail out a sinking ship with a leaky bucket. It’s better than nothing, but not by much.
Gun-rights advocates like Alan Gottlieb, who founded the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, see the program as all flash and no substance.
“[The mayor] could do lots of other things to prevent crime,” Gottlieb said. “Punish those people who misuse firearms, not those who own and use them properly.”
Gottlieb went on to say the program could actually endanger customers. (more…)
September 19, 2013 at 6:29 AM
The whole flap about Starbucks and guns strikes me as so much posturing.
In an open letter, Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz has disinvited customers carrying guns from coming into a Starbucks. But he has also said that if they do come in they will be served, because he doesn’t want Starbucks employees having to ask an armed person to leave.
That is about what you’d expect a retailer to say. Starbucks is in the coffee business. It doesn’t want to have to ask customers to leave. And it doesn’t want to set up hostile situations for its employees. Schultz’s job isn’t to change society, or even to be intellectually bold. It’s to sell coffee.
Apparently his letter was written because the rabid gunners, who exercise their right to carry openly, have been having “Starbucks Appreciation Days” in Starbucks stores. And naturally, when some posse comes showing off personal artillery, other customers clear out. But how many gun owners do this?
I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen anyone with a gun at Starbucks, except maybe a cop.
The AP story, out of New York, compares the statement about guns with the company’s ban on smoking within 25 feet of its stores. But a smoking ban is real, because smoking in public is a public act. Carrying a gun is not, unless you choose to pull it out.
All the difference in the world.