The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has declared war on a Northwest institution, and in the process perhaps the public will discover the extremes gun prohibitionists will go in an effort to push their radical agenda.
The Brady Bunch has Starbucks squarely in its crosshairs, hoping to browbeat the coffee giant into refusing service to an evidently growing clientele of law-abiding firearms owners. In an e-mail message sent out this week, Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke laments that, “Starbucks is refusing to prohibit open carrying in its stores, despite protests from loyal customers."
Over the past few months, more and more gun owners have been gathering at restaurants and coffee shops like Starbucks with guns strapped to their hips--Paul Helmke
This was after Helmke acknowledged that his campaign of social bigotry against legally-armed citizens was launched because, “Over the past few months, more and more gun owners have been gathering at restaurants and coffee shops like Starbucks with guns strapped to their hips, intimidating fellow patrons.”
So, let me see if I have this straight. Because Starbucks is attracting increasing numbers of gun owners – presumably becoming the kind of loyal customers about whom Helmke writes – he wants the coffee chain to ban these people, in deference to his own ilk of hoplophobes.
In reaction, even more gun owners are declaring a sudden thirst for Starbucks blend and heading to their local coffee stand.
Is this not the same kind of nonsense I wrote about here last Friday, in reporting the angst demonstrated by Washington CeaseFire’s Ralph Fascitelli over the perfectly legal appearance at a public hearing in Olympia by several open carry activists?
The Brady camp has teamed up with CREDO Action, a self-proclaimed progressive activist organization that uses mobile phones to affect social change.
Helmke’s e-mail diatribe further complains that, “The practice of packing heat in places like Starbucks is intimidating and could be potentially dangerous to our families and communities -- and it must be stopped.
“It’s everyone's right to sit in a restaurant or coffee shop with their families without intimidation or fear of guns,” he says, “either concealed or openly carried.”
Intimidating to whom? This may come as a culture shock to Helmke, but it is equally everyone’s right – if they choose to exercise it – to sit in a restaurant with family or friends and not be concerned (because they are prepared) about criminal attack, or an incident on the scale of the Luby’s Massacre in October 1991, in which 23 restaurant patrons, disarmed at the time by Texas statute, were murdered. It might just be that Americans took a lesson from another incident two months later at a Shoney’s restaurant in Anniston, Alabama, in which a legally-armed citizen prevented a massacre by shooting two robbers who were herding people into a food locker.
I wrote about this incident with Alan Gottlieb in America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age.
Thomas Terry, the hero of Anniston, was discreetly but legally carrying a .45 caliber handgun when the robbers took over the restaurant. Facing two armed thugs, Terry shot one dead and severely wounded the other. None of the other patrons was harmed, other than Terry, who sustained a grazing wound to the hip.—Timothy Wheeler, MD
Helmke also argues that “Under the law, Starbucks has the right to adopt a gun-free policy, with an exception for uniformed police officers.”
Guess what, Paul. Starbucks also has the right as a business to allow patronage by anyone it damn well pleases, including legally-armed citizens. Their money is just as good as yours, and so far, there has not been a single reported incident involving any of these gun owners, including the robbery of a Starbucks while an armed citizen happens to be standing at the counter.
Social bigotry against gun owners is just as insidious as bigotry against any other group. What would the public reaction be if someone demanded that a private business refuse service to, say African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Arabs, Native Americans, Samoans, disabled people, overweight people, gays or women? Got a tattoo? Stay out!
Helmke rants about intimidation, yet he has no reservations about trying to intimidate a business over some of the people it serves. His kind of demagoguery has one significant trait: Hypocrisy.
If Helmke and other gun prohibitionists don’t want to be around other citizens because they are legally armed, that is a problem, but it is their problem. Perhaps they should start drinking tea.