About a year ago, the Brady Campaign warned that “gun rights” activists were converging on Washington, D.C., seething with threats of right-wing violence.
Of course, the Brady Campaign rejected the “bumper sticker logic” of the gun lobby. The gun control group called for a new reality-based discussion of guns and violence.
Someone at the Brady Center wrote a book titled “Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy.” The author dissected the superficial appeal of bumper sticker logic (e.g., when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns).
While I don’t normally display bumper stickers, I am convinced that the stickers provide profound sociological data. Which brings us to the question posed in today’s column: What does it mean that the Starbucks lady is now on a bumper sticker carrying a handgun?
In California a few years ago, some folks were offended by fellow coffee drinkers in Starbucks (and other spots) with pistols and revolvers visibly hanging from their hips. Organizations like the Brady Center, which wants to take guns away from the rest of us, demanded that armed customers be prohibited from such publicly “lethal” expressions of free speech.
Some retailers reacted by announcing a “no guns” policy. Starbucks, on the other hand, allowed guns in its stores. The anti-gun groups held demonstrations around the U.S. to try and coerce Starbucks into changing its policy. The demonstrations spread to Seattle and resulted in swarms of reporters, demonstrators and armed caffeine addicts intermingling in an exchange of viewpoint that could have become lethal to Starbucks’ profit and loss statement.
Did the Brady Campaign encourage the bumper stickers in order to shame the coffee chain? Or did the open-carry crowd adopt the image as a means of trumpeting their victory over the progressing forces of tyranny?
There has always been a certain mystery surrounding the Starbucks lady with the star above her head. Her mermaid-like mien is normally encompassed by porpoise tails. Thus, the image of her brandishing a gun could be a shout of indignation against environmentalism — or even a new breed of environmental radicalism?
Maybe she is just a symbol of Seattle rising amid the splendors of an Emerald Sea. The Starbucks logo certainly offers something for everyone.
The next time you visit a Starbucks, thank your favorite barista for keeping us caffeinated and for protecting our First and Second Amendment rights. And give the Starbucks lady the respect she deserves for sticking to her guns!