Well, almost no one.
Last Thursday morning, the Purcellville Starbucks had its usual ration of Moms with a well behaved child or two, lines of folk waiting for their small or grande caffeinated drinks, a latte or cappuccino, at least one sweet tasting java chip, some patrons sipping their drinks as they headed out quick step for their daily commute, and an array of others, not so rushed, sitting at various counters and tables pecking away at keyboards, telecommuting or indulging a round of social media, others turning the pages of the Washington Post, a few working their cell phones, and chatting up the latest gossip and personal news.
I was sitting at a table revising a memo for court when a broad-hipped large-bellied man in baggy Cami-shorts with a holstered firearm came by, wearing a loose light-green t- shirt with a full size skull on the back, a backwards flag all in red on his shirt’s short cuff, and the word, “Infidel,” in large red letters on his chest.
Eyes noted and averted.
I took several pictures.
The quarters at Starbucks are somewhat cramped, and patrons navigate the crowded space carefully and respectfully. There is no threatening wildlife or game to hunt. It’s not a target range. Nor was there any threat from another gunman. Nor would I trust a stranger to protect me – if there was a threat of violence – in such tight quarters. No one appeared to be threatening or intimidating anyone else – except for the fact that there was one man dressed – to be charitable – quite “casually,” with certain antagonistic symbol signals on his “outfit,” as described, and quite prominently carrying a gun.
Having since posted the picture, several have responded that they won’t go to Starbucks again because of it.
One response was as follows: “I feel unsafe knowing he is there – what training has he had? How often does he go to the range? How often does he clean the gun? Our law enforcement officers are required to go to the range all the time to stay current in their jobs, and even THEY F – - – up with weapons, kill citizens when they shouldn’t. Not comfortable at all with this . . .”
Starbucks is a private business and Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, said loud and clear and plain enough for anyone to understand years ago, as follows,
“We are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas – even in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.”
Mr. Schultz explained the reason he insisted on this policy was that “the ‘open carry’ debate” had become “increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening.”
The concept of Starbucks, Mr. Schultz said, was, from the beginning, “a ‘third place’ between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community.”
Packing is inconsistent with Starbucks’ mission.
So for those who don’t know Starbucks’ policy, that’s it.
But even if you didn’t know it, why in the world would you go into a closely cramped coffee shop carrying a loaded firearm?
The fact that anyone would raises some serious question about the individual’s judgment and sociability.
Isn’t the person who walks among peaceful places with a hand gun seeking to intimidate others?
In Texas, when they got open carry, the gun owners respected the wishes of proprietors who didn’t want guns in their businesses.
In Charlottesville, Virginia, some mothers actually boycotted a local store until it followed what Whole Foods said was its national policy against guns in their stores.
Nor is Starbucks and Whole Foods the only stores that have said no to guns in their places of business. There’s also Whataburger, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Sonic, Chilis, and Target.
If gun owners are going to press this point, then stores may have to put up signs that make it clear that guns are not welcome in their peaceful businesses.