Thursday, September 19, 2013

"I Love Guns & Coffee" - A response

I have had the privilege of speaking to the founder and proprietor of  the much-plagiarized "I Love Guns & Coffee" on numerous occasions and he's a decent and down to earth guy who has taken a good idea and run with it - and done mighty well at it. One thing we must all understand is that his public positions must take into account the 2,000lb behemoth that can squish him and his company at any instant should he irritate them rather than make them giggle.

With all that said, he posted the below to Facebook and I add my comments as a relatively gentle fisking:

We have a question for the folks who thought that carrying a long gun into a coffee shop was a good idea... WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!
Agreed. As stated elsewhere,  taking long guns into public spaces in an urban or hipster-burdened environment is a bad tactical choice at both a practical and political level - something that should be obvious to even the slowest dullard.

From the beginning, they have NEVER been pro-2A. They did a good job at being as neutral as possible while still respecting the rights and views of ALL of their customers. As the anti-2A groups stepped up their attacks, they held firm on their position to follow the local laws and regulations surrounding the carrying of firearms.
Agreed, Starbucks has been neutral and not an ally.
The future of I Guns & Coffee has not changed and we will not be changing our iconic parody. We still love our 2A right. We still love our coffee and we still support companies, ALL companies, that support the rule of law when it comes to the 2A. What we cannot support are the actions of a few who thought that it was a good idea to strap on a long gun to make a political statement.
Agreed yet again. Long guns are a bit too scary for the hipsters in the near term.
Firearms are personal protection tools, not props to be used as political statements.
And here we disagree. Simply by existing and being honest about who we are as gun owners we make a political statement. Open Carry of a handgun, while not my preferred mode, serves as a tool for personal protection, as a political statement and (done right) as a valuable conversation opener.

Closets are for clothes, not gun owners - not even if you can get them cut rate as surplus from the LGBT community.

That said, don't show up looking like a lost member of the Battle of Kham Duc Glee Club and Fire Team and at least try to dress as a non-scary person that happens to carry a gun openly - not a scary person who is ALSO carrying a gun.
From day one they have asked that those who wish to make a political statement do so with their elected representatives and to keep the fight out of their stores. Simple right? But some could not resist. They sought attention. They grabbed their soap boxes, called local media and went out of their way to make a scene. Yes, we know you have the right to do it, but businesses also have the right to dictate what type of behavior is acceptable in their businesses. With rights comes responsibility.
 There is a significant and important difference between visiting a coffee shop while armed (or even visibly armed) or wearing declaratory "I carry a gun" attire while profusely thanking staff for their neutrality (and it does suck to have to set the bar for praise that low) and spending money enthusiastically for a generally undesirable product and a protest. Protests, generally, should be mounted on the sidewalks directly outside an offending establishment. Praise generally requires interaction.
In our opinion, carrying a long gun into a coffee shop = responsibility FAIL! If our goal is to increase support for the 2A, civil discourse, empathy, logic and reason will help the most. Trolling with long guns while filming police interactions and posting them YouTube while sitting outside a coffee shop does not help.
Agreed. A long gun is "doing it wrong" in virtually every instance I can imagine (I have in mind a specific exception not long ago in Oak Harbor, WA). Long guns just freak out the patchouli scented hipsters far more intensely than handguns - not so much out of anything remotely resembling logic, but political reality seldom tracks with logic.
Next, we think it is time to address some thoughts about this word that has been floating around this morning: boycott. We think that sends the wrong message. Remember, this is not an outright ban, it is a polite request. If carrying a concealed pistol is part of your daily routine, what has changed? Their position never changed, at least until this last round of anti-2A vs. pro-2A got going.
I must disagree. Given the choices (don't carry, leave a loaded firearm unguarded in a car, or refrain from darkening Starbucks door) it seems obvious that "not visiting Starbucks" is the only ethical and moral option. Howard Schultz, the head of Starbucks, has made a polite request - it would be rude not to honor that request. And there are, after all, other coffee shops - almost all of which have a good chance of serving better coffee at more reasonable prices without that special Starbucks Charcoal Flavor.

If that's a boycott? Well, so be it. I did my best to offset any fiscal harm they took from their neutral position of simply following state law by participating in "buycotts" and showing up at other times  to buy coffee I found merely tolerable at enhanced prices because I wanted to encourage continued good behavior by Starbucks. Lacking that motivation, I'll go someplace cheaper and better...which shouldn't be hard to find.
We never condoned nor encouraged organized groups to invade their stores. Keeping it simple seemed like the best approach: wear your t-shirt, hand out a sticker or two, order your coffee and go on about your day. You could even pay with $2 bills. That passive approach is good strategy to combat the misguided ranting from the anti-2A groups. But some had to take it a step further. Remember when the Newtown, CT store closed early last month? Think about that for a moment. Action = reaction. Can we react better to anti-2A groups? How can we build bridges and come to mutual understanding with those that do not see eye to eye with our views?
This assumes that Starbucks Appreciation Days were anything but what I described. Yes, the twits with long guns drove Starbucks to make a really bad decision and levy veiled threats of worse...but that does not relieve Starbucks of the responsibility for their own decision. They could, purely as an example, simply posted their stores "no long guns on premises" and to the extent that our community failed to build the bridge to communicate that to them, we did err. 
Thank you to everyone who has commented and shared their thoughts through social media. We appreciate the time you take to make your comments. We rarely nuke comments so please keep it classy, civil and avoid name calling. We will continue to support our customers, vendors and non-profits who see value from our growing line of parody brands. Parodies are fun and bringing people joy with I Guns & Coffee is here to stay.
The folks at "I Love Guns & Coffee" are good people, as is their founder/leader. One of the things I cherish about the gentleman in charge is that he *is* a gentleman, able to wrap his head around the notion that others may disagree without being disagreeable or somehow dysfunctional. He is a fervent defender of Second Amendment rights and supports many of the same 2nd Amendment causes that I do, but on a far more grand and glorious scale than I have the resources to manage. In short, be nice to him and send him money - even if I do disagree with him somewhat in his analysis of current events. 

I didn't post this on Facebook because a fisking, no matter how gentle, does not belong in somebodies Facebook comments. It sucks space and fails the brevity test - it's rude. Since I try to restrict myself to only being rude on purpose, I posted this over here.


1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I prefer "coming out of the gun safe"