Saturday, October 25, 2014

Leave the guns at home

Starbucks CEO released statement saying firearms unwelcome in stores

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, has asked gun-carrying customers to keep their weapons out of Starbucks stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.

NEW PoLICY — Although stores will not enforce the request, Schultz’s opinions were met with mixed reactions. Photo credit: Treevis

NEW Policy — Although stores will not enforce the request, Schultz’s opinions were met with mixed reactions. Photo credit: Treevis

As good patrons, responsible gun carriers should be willing to honor the request. Leave the gun locked in the glove compartment, and lock the car. It is that easy.

For some, however, the announcement cast the Starbucks Corporation in a negative light. Schultz clearly did not want to portray his stores as champions of open carry.

Cam Edwards, host of the radio show Cam & Co. on NRA News, made this point clear when he wrote in his editorial that Starbucks is “asking gun owners to go quietly back into the closet.”

“Unless Starbucks wants to declare itself a place where politics is verboten, it shouldn’t run away when the debate leads to its doors,” Edwards wrote.

Some open-carry advocates have now threatened to boycott Starbucks in favor of other, less strict coffee joints. But they have no reason to take their business elsewhere. Unhappy customers must remember that Starbucks did not actually ban guns. The company will still serve people that carry them, Schultz told USA Today.

The new policy is the best way the company knew to alleviate a problem it was facing. Apparently, greater numbers of people toting firearms have been frequenting the coffee chain. Many customers and employees began to feel uncomfortable, according to an article by the Huffington Post.

Starbucks had been trying to decide what to do about the issue for quite some time, so it is only coincidence that the announcement was made after the Washington Navy Yard shootings, Schultz said in an interview with USA Today.

Starbucks had no intention of making a political statement, so people should not interpret it as one. Starbucks stores are private property, and it can request customers to follow the guidelines it sets without fearing political repercussions.

The public’s instant desire to politicize any decision regarding guns reveals, not a problem with gun policy, but a problem with American thinking. We are too quick to draw conclusions that align with our own thoughts, rather than taking facts at face value. The gun debate is just one example.

The coffee company was more frustrated that “groups on both sides (are) using Starbucks as a staging ground for their own positioning, and that resulted in the marketplace mischaracterizing us as being on one side of the issue or the other,” Schultz said in the Wall Street Journal article.

First, people thought that because they were allowed to carry guns into stores, Starbucks supported pro-gun policies. That was not the case.

Now, people act like the company changed its stance by saying that the announcement is a victory or a step in the right direction, according to the Wall Street Journal. Again, they are wrong. Schultz’s request does not indicate a step in any direction.

When it all boils down, there is little difference between before and after the announcement. The option to carry a weapon remains. As a carrier, you might draw unfavorable glances, but that is the price you pay for ignoring Starbucks’ request.

There is a subtle irony worth noting. Starbucks has unashamedly maintained more liberal social policies in the past. Yet, contrary to its nature, the company is hands-off when approaching gun rights.

The people that so loudly support Starbucks for its politics are the same ones most annoyed by its stance — or lack thereof — on guns. Conversely, those that hate its politics love its silence regarding open-carry policy.

Let us please stop trying to make something from nothing. Stand back and honor the company’s wish to avoid the gun debate.

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