01 March 2010

A Rant About Guns and Stupidity ~ Coming to a Starbucks Near You!

Last year I read a series of reports in The New York Times [0] [1] [2] [3] about the pastor of an evangelical congregation in Kentucky who was encouraging not just gun ownership, but actively inviting his congregants to wear sidearms to church. And, of course, in Tennessee and Arizona the authorities have passed laws [4] allowing concealed weapons in bars, so long as the bearer of arms refrains from drinking (of course, if a customer has his weapon concealed isn't there some sort of problem identifying who should be refused service?). As a writer for The Times quipped, by imposing that restriction the new laws were successful primarily at "in effect, creating a new category of customer, the designated shooter."

I have written about what I take to be the lunacy of gun ownership here many times before. It is not so much that I am opposed to guns and gun owners. I live in an area where lots of people own guns for hunting. Some people, too, also own guns 'just because' they can or they want to. Sort of like collecting postage stamps or (as I've said before) liking lima beans or not. I'm not worried too much about those folks. I don't hunt and I know that having a gun in the house means it is more likely to be used against a family member or oneself than an intruder. But that is not my problem.

What worries me are people who feel the need to parade their fear and inadequacy in public places where there is no plausible reason to carry a gun. They proclaim 'I don't need a reason, its my right' - but that is not a reason. It is petulance and posturing. We get lots of rhetoric, of course, that there is no need to fear law abiding citizens bringing their guns to political meetings, or church services, or schools, or into bars. But it seems to me a sign of cognitive deficiency to think you need to bring guns into any of those places. Sure you can because in many cases the law allows you to do so. So what? The laws allow you to drive 7-and-a-half-miles per hour in a 45 MPH zone at rush hour too.

If you are going to church to pray, do you think your handgun will protect you from God's wrath? If you are going to a political meeting, do you think your side arm makes people take you more seriously or makes your arguments more cogent. If you don't plan to use it lock it in a drawer someplace safe. If you do plan to use it, don't protest otherwise. It makes you look like an idiot.* What I am worried about is what happens when people with incredibly poor judgment bring guns to places where they are totally out of place. And one pretty good indicator of poor judgment would be bringing guns to any of the places I've mentioned above.

I don't go to church. So I suppose if the faithful want to shoot one another there - or at least be prepared to do so - it is none of my affair. But now, it turns out that a place where I do go pretty regularly is allowing customers to carry sidearms. That place? Starbucks. You can read a report here at The Guardian, where the disdainful writer is not nearly disdainful enough. I need my handgun at the coffee shop because .... why? The barrista hasn't made my decaf, extra-hot, vente, non-fat, soy, mocha to my liking? Or, maybe the kid behind me in line looks dangerous? This is pathetic.

Go here and tell the Starbucks brass that they are catering to idiots and that you won't spend a dime in their stores until they stop doing so.
* Speaking of looking like an idiot, defending your inappropriate behavior by referring to what the founding fathers or the pioneer ancestors did (e.g., bringing guns to church, etc.) is especially dim. Those same forebears treated blacks as slaves and counted them as 3/5 of a person. They denied women the vote. It is a sign of progress that we no longer do those things, among many others. Make the analogy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you notice all the pro-gun comments that accompanied the Guardian piece? Very fishy! I find it hard to believe that so many American gun-nuts read The Guardian. It looks like the NRA has an "internet propaganda wing"!

02 March, 2010 02:30  
Blogger Stan B. said...

My god, Jim- you get your coffee from... The Evil Empire!?!

Don't let me catch ya in there while I drive by -cause I'll be packin' and I may just go in there and set things right! 'Cause I can.

Then I'll go to church and confess- and get congratulated. Hallelujah!

02 March, 2010 19:12  
Blogger Alice said...

Hey! If someone ordering a single nonfat decaf latte is a threat to your safety, how about all those odd (potentially felonious) squirrela and chipmunks in federal parks? Must need protection from those "folks", too. Otherwise, why allow carrying there?

23 March, 2010 19:26  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Well "Gcat" I don't actually think there is much reason to allow carry permits in national parks either. I've spent lots of time in them and never felt the need. As you say, the critters are about as dangerous as a spilled latte. The problem is that most people who feel the need to "carry" seem to me to be trying to prove something to somebody ... Mostly they make everything more dangerous for everyone ... and if you don't plan to use it, there is no need to "Carry" it. Seems pretty simple to me. What's your problem?

23 March, 2010 19:56  

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