Back in August I posted an article about the “Starbucks Appreciation Day” event which I titled “Slapping an Ally in the Face“. I expressed my disagreement with the event which brought out thousands of open carrying pro-gun activists to Starbucks stores across the nation. Gun owners felt we should show Starbucks our appreciation for their policy of neutrality by flooding them with armed activists and dragging the company into the middle of the national gun rights debate against their wishes.
In my article I pointed out that Starbucks had previously asked activists on both sides of the divisive issue not involve them in the debate. Starbucks issued a press release in 2010 stating that the company was neither pro-gun nor anti-gun and simply sought to honor both federal and state laws when it came to carrying firearms. Not to be dissuaded, pro-gun activists pressed forward pretending Starbucks was one of our staunchest allies and even going so far as to make Guns And Coffee stickers using the Starbucks logo.
In my August article I said “…because of our actions, I wouldn’t be surprised if Starbucks reconsiders their corporate policy.” Well, now they have.
A memo that appears to have been circulated internally to partners (Starbucks employees) that outlines a new corporate policy of “No Weapons in our Stores” has appeared online. The memo explains once again that the company is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun however due to recent events, and the actions of activists on both sides of the issue, they are instituting a new corporate policy of not allowing weapons in their stores. The memo tells the partners not to communicate this new policy to customers and states “external media sources” will be used to make the new policy widely known.
The Starbucks CEO outlined their new corporate policy in a blog post yesterday morning.
Already I’m starting to see angry posts from gun owners on the forums vowing never to buy Starbucks coffee again. Why? We have no one to blame but ourselves for their new policy. Starbucks tried to remain neutral but we, as a community, acted irresponsibly and disregarded their wishes by dragging their business into the middle of our fight — a fight they wanted nothing to do with.
We, as a community, are our own worst enemy at times. Many of us feel entitled and as a result we become militant in our behavior and begin to alienate potential allies. The fact we forced Starbucks into taking this action through our own irresponsible behavior is a black eye to our cause. We should be ashamed of ourselves and we most certainly shouldn’t blame Starbucks. We will only serve to make this worse by organizing demonstrations, writing angry emails and posts on their Facebook page, and by trying to organize some half-baked boycott. If you want to do something constructive, write a polite letter to Starbucks apologizing for dragging them into the middle of this debate and implore them to reconsider their policy.
…but that’s not likely to happen. The angry “IT’S MY RIGHT TO CARRY A GUN IN YOUR STORE!” posts have already began to flood the Starbucks Facebook page. Once again we’re pouring gas on the fire and worsening the situation by acting irresponsibly. Not only that, but we look like complete raving lunatics to the casual observer. Just a few weeks ago gun owners were flooding their Facebook page with laurels and accolades for their policy of neutrality and now that we’ve pushed them the other direction, we’re flooding the page with angry posts and threatening never to step foot in their stores again.
I will continue to patronize my local Starbucks and I will continue to do so while carrying concealed. I will also write a polite letter to Starbucks expressing my remorse for the actions of our community during the “Starbucks Appreciation Day” event and ask that eventually they reconsider their new policy. I wish gun owners took a more pragmatic approach to defending our rights… now isn’t the time for hysterics and burning bridges. We need allies, not more enemies.