We Need to Talk

Everybody in the firearm community has heard about Starbucks’ request. Whether that open letter persuades you to stop frequenting Starbucks is your business and I fully respect whatever decision you make. But we need to talk about overreaction for a minute.

Us gun owners are used to dealing with gun control advocates who, regardless of their claims, have an end goal of abolishing non-government ownership of firearms. It’s natural for us to get angry when we hear somebody like Dianne Feinstein demanding Congress pass a law prohibiting the most popular rifle in the United States. We don’t like people trying to take our shit. But we must also realize that just because a person or organization isn’t on our side doesn’t mean they’re on the other side.

The reaction from both the gun rights and gun control sides regarding this Starbucks request has been completely overblown. I’m not going to spend much time addressing the gun control community because, from my point of view, their reactions are commonly overblown. But those of us in the gun rights community should hold ourselves to a higher standard than our intellectual opponents. That means stating facts, not fabrications.

I can’t even count how many members of the gun rights community have said Starbucks is banning guns in its stores. That’s a flat out lie. In fact the letter clearly states that guns aren’t being banned and that the request that gun owners not bring their firearms into Starbucks’ stores will not be enforced. There’s a huge difference between requesting gun owners not bring guns into a store and prohibiting gun owners from bringing guns into stores. If you’ve been telling people that Starbucks’ is banning firearms knock it off. You’re not helping anybody by making gun owners look like liars.

I would also like to specifically address the gun owners who have taken this opportunity to continue their personal crusades against open carry. To you I have only this to say: fuck off. OK, I actually have more to say. You guys have been sitting on your high horse prophesying doom and gloom for gun owners because some have the audacity to not conceal their firearms. I’ve got news for you sunshine, most of us who do open carry, whether it be all the time or periodically, have had no negative interactions. I open carry whenever I’m on a bicycle because concealing my firearm is almost impossible. When I stop at intersections or take a break I often have very pleasant conversations with other bikers. Not once has a fellow trail rider freaked out or otherwise acted in a negative way towards me. I’m not hurting any cause. A vast majority of people who open carry are in the same boat. The problem isn’t open carry activists, it’s assholes.

Every community has its set of assholes. These people usually take the form of attention whores. They want people to pay attention to them and perform outlandish deeds in order to get the attention they so desperately crave. If you walk into a store openly carrying a gun, make your purchase, and go about your business you aren’t hurting anybody or any cause. If you walk into a store openly carrying a rifle, yell “Hey everybody, I have a big ass rifle! Look at me!”, make your purchase, and go about seeking attention from everybody by marching around with your rifle for no reason whatsoever then you are an asshole. The line between not asshole and asshole isn’t even that thin. It’s almost 100 fucking yards thick! 99 percent of the time you can determine whether or not you’re going to cross that line by asking a simple question: will doing this make me an asshole? If you have to ask if something will make you an asshole it almost certainly will.

My point is it doesn’t matter if you’re openly carrying a gun or not; if you’re an asshole people are going to reactive negatively. I’ve seen plenty of gun rights activists who oppose open carry act like completely douche bags when questioned by somebody who is either anti-gun or neutral in the gun debate. Being rude doesn’t help anybody, period. If you want to bitch about a group of gun owners bitch about the ones being jerk-offs. That reminds me, I also have something I want to say to the asshole in the shooting community: fuck off. You’re the reason so many people outside of the shooting community view us as uneducated attention seeking rednecks.

That’s really all the critical things I have to say (for now). On a non-critical note, if you feel as though Starbucks no longer wants your business then feel free to stop going there. Just as Starbucks has every right to deny business to people you have every right to not frequent businesses. Vote with your feet and tell anybody who is curious why you’re voting that way. I’ve never been a frequent Starbucks customer. While I do like Starbucks’ coffee I can’t justify the cost when making my own is so much cheaper. But I won’t boycott Starbucks over its recent requests. My reading of the letter leads me to believe Starbucks isn’t coming out against gun owners but against being used as a political pawn. I understand that position; I don’t like being used as a political pawn either. Starbucks never said I couldn’t bring my gun into its stores. It simply asked nicely that I don’t, unless I want to.