Last night, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz published a letter on the company's website politely requesting that people stop bringing guns to Starbucks. Why is this even necessary? Because, in case you haven't been following, gun rights activists have become borderline Westboro Baptist-level assholes.
It seems that, due to its reputation as a corporation with a liberal C-suite, the purveyors of Pumpkin Spice have become targets of conservative protests. To paraphrase Gawker's late great Jeb Lund, it's a way for jerks to feel important by sitting; the ideological opposite of Chik-fil-A. And because conservative activists are terribly uncreative dickbags who prioritize unregulated gun-waving over public safety, their preferred form of Starbucks protest has been to hang out in their local branch with their guns. Here's an excerpt from Schultz's plea,
Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.
For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
There's much more to the letter, but the TL;DR version is, basically: "Please guys. Stop being dicks to our lowly branch employees when you're mad at high-level executives. That's almost as misguided as protesting Wal-Mart's klepto-capitalism by barfing blue Kool Aid all over an elderly greeter earning poverty wages in Omaha. You're not helping."
Schultz has purchased ad space in several major newspapers, where the letter will run tomorrow. A memo to employees has instructed them to refrain from confronting armed protestors. And — call me a cynic — I don't imagine that this will go over well at all.
What Schultz's letter doesn't spell out is the extent of STARBUCKS APPRECIATORS' unbridled fuckery. According to Politico, last month, a Starbucks located just blocks from the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut was to be the site of a "Starbucks Appreciation Day" and rather than dealing with a shop full of garbage people flashing their guns around, management closed the store that day.
And the pointless and hurtful gun trolling doesn't stop at the Frappuccino machine. On CNN just yesterday, the head of Gun Owners of America said that he'd "strongly encourage" guns in kindergartens. Jim Rubens, a Republican challenger to incumbent New Hampshire Senator (and certified badass) Jeanne Shaheen, blamed mass shootings on women in the workplace in a 2009 website post,
The collaborative, flexible, amorphously-hierarchical American economy is shutting out ordinary men who were once the nation’s breadwinners in living-wage labor and manufacturing jobs,” Rubens wrote. “Because status success is more vital to the male psychology, males are falling over the edge in increasing numbers.
And a Michigan pro-gun group has encouraged its members to protest a hearing on the state's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Stand Your Ground law by showing up with their guns. A protest involving a group of people armed with deadly weapons doesn't seem like a protest at all; more like a thuggish threat. Gun rights advocates have obtained Peak Bastard Level. They're employing 4Chan-ish methods to push an agenda that's actually harmful to society. It's jaw-dropping.
Look: I understand the usefulness of guns in certain contexts. I grew up in a part of the country that the Census Bureau classifies as "rural remote" in a house full of guns that my father and brother used to hunt animals to eat (to this day, I'm pretty sure my dad's disappointed that when I was 12, I opted not to take gun safety and join the family venison hunt). Some of my favorite people are responsible, reasonable gun owners, and they're great. I'm not disparaging them.
Gun assholes are people who are so up their own crusty barrel that they find it appropriate to use the tragic deaths of people whose bodies aren't even in the ground yet to make a point about how great guns are. They're people who blame everything but guns on mass shootings — video games, women, abortion, whatthefuckever. They're the clowns buying shirts that declare "I LOVE GUNS AND COFFEE." They're the people celebrating Starbucks Appreciating Day by scaring the shit out of people just trying to enjoy an overpriced latte and some piped in watered down white girl alt-folk in peace.
Image via AP.