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Starbucks and Guns

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Let’s be clear: I’m not a real Starbucks fan in the first place. The coffee is horribly expensive and, frankly, you can get a better cup for a quarter of the price at a Quick Trip. Interestingly enough, even McDonald’s has stepped up their coffee quality lately. Dunkin’ Donuts is good also, but I prefer to sweeten my own coffee, thank you, so don’t ask me how many Sweet ‘n Lows I want.


Another thing …. I stopped going to Starbucks when they came out and openly supported Obama for a second term. I guess it goes with the territory … Seattle and all that … but I prefer not to support businesses that actively participate in the destruction of our country … and supporting Obama fits that bill. That’s why Boortz appearances have been rare around such places as Starbucks, Costco, Kohl’s, and Atlanta Falcon Football games. (Can you believe Falcons owner Arthur Blank throwing a fundraiser for Obama?)

Now … the big coffee news yesterday was the CEO of Starbucks sending a letter – and Tweets – to Starbucks customers asking them not to bring weapons into Starbucks even if they happen to have a valid concealed carry permit. Fine … that’s his privilege. To be perfectly honest, though, it was the gun owners themselves that goaded him into this. It seems that some Starbucks locations have been targeted by permit holders to flaunt their weapons. They would gather at a particular Starbucks with their pistols visible in holsters – and sometimes carrying rifles.


Frankly, I find it hard to fault the Starbucks CEO for his actions. Some customers are just not going to be comfortable with a bunch of show-offs brandishing their guns in a coffee shop.


Yes … I have a permit to carry a weapon. And yes … I have received some pretty extensive training in the use of that weapon (An Uselton 1911) and appropriate safety measures. And yes … I do carry that weapon—CONCEALED—when I think the situation warrants it … and that means pretty much everywhere I go in Atlanta. The key word, though, is “concealed.” I believe that to flaunt your weapon is to invite trouble. I don’t need some thug deciding to test just how tough I am. If you walk through life in a fighting pose with your fists balled up and ready to strike, someone, someday, somewhere, is going to want to test your mettle. I can think of only one time where I wanted it to be clear that I was armed … and that was gassing up in Atlanta at a station that, shall we say, was not in one of Atlanta’s finest neighborhoods. One guy at another pump looked at me, looked down at my holster, and then gave me a big thumbs up. “Smart move,” he said. “Especially here.” If the clerk inside is behind a bulletproof barrier … well, there’s your clue.

But guess what? Starbucks is not an inherently dangerous place --- unless you spill a latte on Big Al and the Boys, that is. There is nothing to be gained by a group of Second Amendment defenders marching into a Starbucks with guns on their hips and scaring the poor, weak, trembling Democrats sipping grande somethingorothers. If the armed self-defense advocates had kept their guns in their pants there never would have been a problem.


Now … the other side.

Starbucks was a unique situation. They had been targeted by people I guess we can call “demonstrators” who wanted to display their weapons. Almost all of the permit holders that I know --- and you would be surprised to know who some of them are --- would never do that. The statistics clearly show that people with carry permits are some of the least likely, if not THE least likely people to ever use a gun in the commission of a crime. The very fact that these people obtained a permit to carry the firearm shows that they are and consider themselves to be law-abiding. Now I’m not going to say it hasn’t happened, but I cannot remember ONE single instance where a person with a concealed weapons permit walked into any retail establishment anywhere, pulled the gun out and robbed the joint … or shot an innocent person during the commission of a crime.

Let me share two stories of gunplay in restaurants.

First, Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. This happened in 1991. A man names George Hennard crashed his truck through a window of the cafeteria and began shooting. He shot about 50 people, and killed 23. He had to pause and reload a few times. There was not one person in that restaurant with a gun that could have made an attempt to stop the massacre. One patron, Suzanna Hupp, was having lunch with her parents. She left her gun in the car because Texas did not, at that time, allow concealed carry. She sat there in a booth while Hennard shot and killed both of her parents. Her gun was 100 feet away. As a result of this massacre the Texas legislature passed a concealed carry law that was signed by then Governor George W. Bush.


Now, the second restaurant. This time it’s a Shoney’s restaurant in Anniston, Alabama. It’s December of 1991, just a few months after the Luby’s shooting in Texas. Two robbers entered the restaurant with stolen pistols. Note, please, that they did not have permits, did not buy the guns legally, and didn’t give a damn about magazine capacity. The two thugs rounded up 20 Shoney’s customers and herded them to the back of the store and started robbing the place. Thomas Perry was in that restaurant at that time with a .45 caliber pistol. He had a valid concealed carry permit. He hid under a table while the others were being shoved into the back of the restaurant. One of the robbers noticed Perry and pulled his gun on him. Perry immediately put five bullets into the robber, killing him instantly. The second robber shot at and grazed Terry. He fired back and critically wounded the robber. Threat over. Customers freed. One bad guy dead, the other wounded, and not one innocent person hurt. Why? Because Terry had a concealed weapon and Shoney’s had not asked him not to bring it into the restaurant.

Now I have a simple question for Starbucks CEO Schultz. If you were sitting in one of your coffee shops sipping your overpriced cup of burnt coffee, and a thug walked in with a gun and started robbing the customers – you included – at gunpoint, would you sit there and pray that nobody else in your shop has a gun and knows how to use it?


I would truly love to hear your answer to that.

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