I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


So, Starbucks has taken back their previously decidedly neutral stance on firearms in their stores. This has sparked not insignificant controversy in the gun world. Not being one to back down from a fight, I've got a few things to say here.

First off, my stake in this is limited. Being under 21 still, I am not legally allowed to carry in most places. Furthermore, I am both a Mormon and poor, meaning Starbucks is generally not part of my life in any case.

Disclaimers aside, this has had me pulling a Piccardian facepalm since the letter came out.

To sum up my opinion in brief. Starbucks has every right to put dictates on the behaviors of their customers. We in turn have every right to try to hurt them as best we can through boycott and publicity. I have doubt that Starbucks is the right venue for this fight.

This discussion has brought up some interesting questions about the notion of protected classes though. That's sorta what I want to talk about here.

First off, I think protected classes are important. Discrimination based on qualities of birth is problematic because, frankly, people suck. If you must rely on the weight of public opinion to validate your inherent nature, the tyranny of the majority is going to screw you. Preventing this is why we have a government in the first place.

It becomes a different case when it's a chosen trait.

I've heard lots of people talk about putting 'black' or 'Irish' or 'gay' in place of 'ccw holder' in stuff like this. I think this a brilliant way of testing for bigotry, prejudice and discrimination. I worry that it leads people to think the solutions are the same.

Here's another thing you can put in for consider. 'No shirt no shoes no service.' Frankly, it's exactly the same. A business places a qualification on their customers.

I think that a private business on private land has every right to place whatever qualifications on their patrons they want, so long as those qualifications can be met by anyone.

If a business wants to require all their customers to be pantsless and wear beanies, more power to them, but I will not be giving them my business, and I will be openly critical of them. If a company requires you to use a Maserati to go grocery shopping and wear a python like a feather boa, that's fine by me. Yes I will make fun of them.

Noncompliance with these terms in turn can only possibly result in a trespass charge at worst. (Ideally.) Legally binding posting against xyz is problematic.

Coming back to Starbucks specifically, I think we are without any form of legal recourse, which is just the way it should be.

We need to be careful in our advocacy to not be guilty of the same things we accuse the antis of. Starbucks is a frustrating case overall, because we just wanted to go get coffee, and they wanted to give it to us, but then people got upset and the entire thing blew up. I see this as a loss in the larger culture war. If we bring this into the legal war though, we're just asking for trouble.


  1. I don't have a problem with Starbucks putting dictates on behavior.

    It is the fact they only put the dictates on ONE side of the issue that bothers me. Had they said "Hey, leave us out of the fight. EVERYONE take your advocacy, demonstrations, protests, etc OFF our property and we'll be happy to have you as customers for our product." -- I would have supported them 100% and urged gun owners to still buy their product, just not OC as an advocacy.

    They chose to tell me that I'm not welcome because I carry a weapon -- never mind the fact that their mugs are weapons. Or the fact that MacBooks, iPhones, etc are all weapons. Notice also knives aren't requested to stay away?

    I'm not sure it is a loss in the culture war. They still weasel worded the release -- trying to please both crowd and doing so for neither.

    I do think there needs to be a time when folks and corporations start deciding where they stand on our rights.

  2. Have you actually READ the Starbucks'?

    They are not banning guns!

    1. Anon,

      What part of my comments or Scribblers lead you to believe we haven't read the memo?

      No one here is mentioning banning guns but you.

      However if someone asks me not to bring a firearm into their property; I'm likely to respect it. Especially when they appear to be banning behavior/actions by only one side of the fracas.

    2. I read it several times over. Firstly, (and this is largely irrelevant) that request has legal weight in some jurisdictions that could carry jail time. Second, I never said they were banning guns. They made a request, and that's what I'm talking about. To say 'we don't want you carrying here' and 'you are not allowed to carry here' are not always well delineated. After all, in non-binding signage areas, they are precisely the same.

      Bob, your complaints about the imbalance of response are entirely valid. I have no disagreement, and hope I didn't say anything that seemed in opposition to that. That is one of the most frustrating things about all this. The conflict over gun rights in this country cannot have been started by the gun advocates, since, well, we used to have it all. What cause to fight could there possibly be? Being told 'just don't, it's bothering people' tells those people all they need to do is make a stink to slowly chip away at our rights.


Please comment, but please be respectful. I reserve the right to delete any comment at any time for any reason, but I don't anticipate having to do that. Let's try to have real discussions?