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[FloppingAces.net]

September 24, 2013

“It is far better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”
–Proverb

Our saviour:  The soldier, whose gun is circled, helps two women to safety. His identity has been protected for security reasonsI love coffee. But I don’t drink it everyday. Nor do I need the caffeine-fix. I simply like the taste. When I was growing up, I used to love going to Japan and having bottled coffee milk. It was like chocolate milk; but coffee flavored, and sweet. They no longer sell those. Just watered down iced coffee beverages.

Starbucks Frappuccinos are somewhat reminiscent of my favorite childhood drink in Japan. But it leaves a bad aftertaste in my mouth. And frankly, I prefer Coffee Bean’s pure vanilla ice-blended.

Well, 6 days ago Starbucks left another bad taste in my mouth:

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

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.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Starbucks is free to not only make such a request of its patrons; but to ban firearms on its own premises, if so desired.

Peggy Noonan in an interview with the CEO:

The company, which has some 10,000 stores and 160,000 employees in the U.S., is asking customers who carry handguns in open-carry states to please not bring their guns into the store. It’s hard to believe this will be taken as controversial or as anything other than reasonable, fair and sane, but we are an interesting country.

I spoke to Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz this afternoon, by phone.

Why did you do this? Why does Starbucks have to have a position on people bringing guns in for coffee?

“We are not a policy maker and we’re not on any level anti-gun. But over the past four months there’s been episodes in and around our stores that alarmed us. Advocates on both sides [of the gun debate] began to stage events in and around Starbucks stores that mischaracterized Starbucks’ brand and position. That was not in the interests of our company, our shareholders and employees. So open-carry comes, and we abide by the law. But it began to disturb us, the number of customers and children who became alarmed at seeing people in the store carrying guns. . . . We had a couple situations the past few weeks where some people walked in with rifles! [Some local Starbucks stores] became a staging area for the argument over Second Amendment rights. We’re not pro-gun or anti-gun, and we decided to respectfully ask gun owners to leave their guns out of Starbucks.”

And yet by this request not to bring firearms on their premises is indeed taking a position; one on the side of the anti-gun advocates. They are not taking a neutral position. Think of the reverse reasoning if it read: ….it began to disturb us, the number of customers and children who became alarmed at seeing people in the store not carrying guns. . . . We had a couple situations the past few weeks where some people walked in without rifles!

Why did Starbucks become a theater of the gun debate?

“Our stores are a meeting place, coffee’s been part of conversation for hundreds of years” he said. This fact “became a natural opportunity for people to use us as a staging ground.”

How do you imagine this working—how do people who carry guns in open-carry states disarm themselves to get a cup of coffee?

“This decision was made through the lens of our values. . . . It’s not a ban. We’ll serve customers and not ask them to leave. . . . I personally have spent endless hours on this issue. I’ve spoken to passionate advocates on both sides.” He notes that two members of the Starbucks board are former Defense Secretary Bob Gates and former Sen. Bill Bradley. The board voted in support of the request. “We viewed this through the lens of bipartisanship.”

~~~Everyone probably asks you if you have guns. Do you have guns?

“I’m not gonna answer it because I don’t think it’s about me.”

Frankly, I feel safer when good citizens are trained and armed.

And in light of the Nairobi Mall terror attack, there is heightened concerns about the possibility of our own malls being staging grounds for future terror attacks.

Would you rather be among sheep or among sheepdog when the wolves come to play?

The Daily Mail has a possible answer:

A former marine emerged as a hero of the Nairobi siege yesterday after he was credited with saving up to 100 lives.

The ex soldier was having coffee at the Westgate mall when it was attacked by Islamists on Saturday.

With a gun tucked into his waistband, he was pictured helping two women from the complex.

His story emerged as sporadic gunfire continued to ring out from inside the mall early today as Kenyan security forces battled Al Qaeda-linked terrorists into a fourth day.

The former soldier is said to have returned to the building on a dozen occasions, despite intense gunfire.

A friend in Nairobi said: ‘What he did was so heroic. He was having coffee with friends when it happened.

‘He went back in 12 times and saved 100 people. Imagine going back in when you knew what was going on inside.’

I wonder what coffee shop he was hanging out in? [/snicker]

Homegrown Islamic terror is a problem. How many radicalized youths come from Somali descent? In the Nairobi attack, 3 of the terrorists might be Americans, with one a British female:

A photo of fake South African passport of Samantha Lewthwaite released by Kenyan police in December 2011. Samantha Lewthwaite, nicknamed 'The white widow', widow of suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people, may be among the members of the terrorist cell behind the Nairobi mall massacre.

A photo of fake South African passport of Samantha Lewthwaite released by Kenyan police in December 2011. Samantha Lewthwaite, nicknamed ‘The white widow’, widow of suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people, may be among the members of the terrorist cell behind the Nairobi mall massacre.

The attacker from Britain was a woman who has ‘done this many times before,’ Mohamed said which lends weight to speculation that the so-called ‘White Widow’, Samantha Lewhwaite may have taken part in the raid.

U.S. officials said they were looking into whether any Americans were involved. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the department had ‘no definitive evidence of the nationalities or the identities’ of the attackers.

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