by Henry Bowman
Yesterday, our head scribe laid out the reasons why he would continue his caffeine consumption, with a side of high fructose corn syrup muffins, at his friendly neighborhood Starbucks. He made good, pragmatic points highlighting the coffee company’s “request,” the absence of legally binding signage, the natural right of self-defense and the potential political and social benefits of an armed costumer stopping a criminal assault within the now-seemingly unprotected cafes. Additionally, the marginal-to-nonexistent effect a gun-owner’s boycott would have on Starbucks’ bottom line pretty much ensures their policy is unlikely to change based on lost revenue. All valid arguments. However, I present the following two counterpoints why I refuse to patronize any business – Starbucks or otherwise – that demands, requests, or legally requires that I disarm before entering . . .
First, I respect the right to private property. It’s been argued that the right to property is actually the most fundamental natural human right in that each individual owns his own body. When you own yourself, there stems your right to continue your life unmolested, to mix your labor with natural resources and to enjoy the products of your work.
Consequently, each individual exercises complete and sole authority over himself and his property and can refuse entry to whomever he chooses, for whatever reason he chooses, or set whatever conditions he chooses, as long as he does not forcibly violate the natural rights of others. This authority has been usurped and the issue clouded by arbitrary laws creating “protected classes” of people and punishing property owners for “discriminating” against those people.
In a free society, all human interaction should be completely voluntary, and no business owner should be forced by law to associate with others against his will. Additionally, hateful and vile behavior towards people would result in the voluntary disassociation of the more evolved costumers. When business owners indicate that they don’t want me as a customer, I’ll happily give my money to someone else.
Second, gun-free zones are dangerous. We all know it. We harp on it every time there’s a mass shooting. From Luby’s Cafeteria to Virginia Tech, from Aurora to Sandy Hook and even the recent Navy Yard shooting, all of them took place in locations where guns were not allowed. If the first line of defense is avoidance, why deliberately place yourself in a dangerous location?
While I agree that an armed patron at Starbucks could do a lot of good in the event of a violent crime, I don’t go places where violent crimes are more likely to occur. I especially don’t go places where the defenseless victims inside are boldly advertised to the criminal element with a “No Guns” sign on the door. That same “No Guns” sign is the accompanying image to the definition of “stupid places” in the Gun Owner’s Dictionary. When business owners make themselves ripe for crime, I’ll happily go somewhere else.
This is exactly the situation now with Starbucks and with the TGI Friday’s that I recently encountered. At their entryway, the restaurant posted a non-legally binding notice of the prohibition of firearms on their premises. While I could still legally carry concealed, it was obvious that the business desired to disassociate itself with gun-carriers.
I asked for the manager and told him that I respected his right to private property but I was disappointed at his lack of respect for my property and my fundamental right to protect myself and my family. I also pointed out that not only was he demanding his patrons be essentially defenseless, he was advertising their status as potential victims to anyone with no respect for property or the law.
Finally, since he would not allow the greatest tools of self-defense currently available within his restaurant and clearly did not want me as a customer, I would be going elsewhere. While I’m sure he didn’t lose any sleep over it, nor did it affect his till much, I was not going to be a victim nor give my money to someone who didn’t want it.
Finally, there are those who say “concealed means concealed,” implying that if it’s legal and the business owner doesn’t know, then why not just carry anyway? To them I say, if a black man was somehow able to conceal his race, do you think he would still patronize a store that had a “Whites Only” sign?