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Have Guns… Will Travel!

To the Editor:

There was a popular TV show, “Have Gun Will Travel,” in which the main character, “Paladin,” was a gun for hire… and he traveled.  The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) evoked “Paladins” to travel from across the State of Connecticut, and neighboring states, and descend upon Starbucks in Newtown on their self-declared “Starbucks Appreciation Day” Friday. The appreciation is for Starbucks corporate policy of allowing guns in their stores. It is beyond the pale to imagine that any gun carrier would have the gall to place Newtown in the cross hairs of their gun carrying pride day. Yet they came, not only to their neighborhood Starbucks, but traveled miles to put their guns in front of Newtown children and adults.

The only reason the Newtown Starbucks closed early Friday was to avoid the conflict sure to happen between gun-toting strangers and the locals. The CCDL had called for a show of gun force at 6 pm on Friday, at the Newtown Starbucks. In fact, the Newtown Starbucks allowed guns during the day, and it was documented nationwide.

 It is difficult to even imagine contemplation of such acts of terror, but they actually occurred. If you think the words “acts of terror” are inappropriate, think again.  In a society that now readily scans people at public venues, we can have a latte ordered by some unknown entity with a gun waiting on either side of us on the line, in a town that has endured a massacre from legally registered weapons. That is terror in my book!  Mr or Ms Gun-toter may have the requisite paperwork to carry a deadly weapon, but that is no guarantee of safe handling.

In Newtown, we support local businesses, especially after 12/14, but this is different! Starbucks must change their corporate policy.  Newtown Middle School students regularly walk to Starbucks after school.  High school students get their coffee there also.  Parents of elementary students bring the kids along when the get their coffee or iced tea. Our schools struggle to create safe environments, free from all non-law enforcement guns.  Children still quake at any sound that can be mistaken for gunfire.  The sight of a gun can unleash deep wounds and trauma in children and adults in our town.  Say N!  No Guns In Starbucks … period

I will never set foot in a Starbucks again, until such time as the corporate policy changes. We must boycott Starbucks nationwide, especially in Newtown, to send a message. Keep this in the news. Protect our community from the “Paladins” who … “Have Guns … and Will Travel.”

Sincerely,

Richard A. English

3 Curry Drive, Newtown August 11, 2013

More stories like this: Connecticut Citizens Defense League, CCDL, Star

Comments

General Response to your letter.

Richard,

I mostly agree with your opinion in the first half of your letter. But then it takes a sharp turn. Let's start with the use of 'act of terror' which is defined as: "the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature". I simply don't see the connection between the open carry of a firearm and an act of terror. To my knowledge, NOBODY threatened or caused any violence during this mess. While I will go as far to say it was in my opinion wrong and showed poor judgment; nobody was being terrorized.

Then you go on to urge Starbucks to change their corporate policy. It's perfectly fine for you to feel that way. And a personal boycott based on your individual views is not only understandable, it's commendable. But you must acknowledge that your individual push to further limit the rights of firearm owners is a contributing factor in situations like this. What I'm saying is, you can't make Newtown the center for gun control debate and then accuse those who disagree with you of terrorism simply because they disagree. If you believe Newtown needs time to heal and people should be respectful toward those who have been traumatized, then you should be equally as respectful and stop making Newtown a center for debate.

I am interested to hear your thought on the other comments here stating that the protesters against Starbucks Appreciation Day were the true antagonizers and that the Newtown Starbucks was not a central meeting place.

You said: "Mr or Ms Gun-toter may have the requisite paperwork to carry a deadly weapon, but that is no guarantee of safe handling." Now, I know there might be no way to change your opinion on most of this topic. But I will challenge you on this one. Because it sounds to me like either: a) you have a sincere fear of other's causing you harm or b) you are using this intentionally irrational statement to bait people into defending human nature. We all know that humans are flawed, and evil has persisted through out history. There is no escaping it. So how do we find the courage to live our lives? Other people are out there with 3,000+ lb rolling killing machines, nearly everyone has access to a knife or firearm, and there are people who are flat out physically stronger than you or me. That's not even starting to touch on surface of risks we face. The answer is, trust in others. When you really think about it, we constantly place our lives in the hands of strangers. I assume you trust police officer, security personnel, and the military to carry firearms. Yet they are subject to the same human flaws. You trust random strangers to drive on the other side of the road. Nothing is physically forcing them to. So why do you single out firearms and why is it that people can't be trusted to have them? I suspect it's because you have singled out the actions of a minority group that is evil or incompetent. But it all comes back to trust.

I'm am far from a gun-nut. And it doesn't sound to me like you are an anti-gun zealot. I am willing to bet if we got to the core of this topic our opinions would be nearly aligned. Although, I don't think you comprehend the magnitude of what you are demanding. Demanding that a corporation should go beyond the laws set by our officials in order to set precedence is unreasonable and morally wrong. It is also a very slippery slope. I think it is bad for Newtown as a whole to be the center of this nonsense. Letter's like the one you wrote along with groups like Newtown Action Alliance and Sandy Hook Promise make Newtown the center! Especially since CT has already passed some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. That being said, you are absolutely free to express your opinion or thoughts. I am not suggesting otherwise. I am simply saying that I respectfully disagree with you on this topic and that you shouldn't be appalled when others 'display' (such as Starbucks Appreciation Day) their disagreement as well.

Respectfully,
Brian
7 Curry Dr

Responding to You

Dear Brian,

Although we might be able to have dialogue on this issue, we will never be on the same page. I stand by the "act of terror" comment, and will not be swayed by a dictionary definition. The public display of Open Carry guns, sent horrific chills down the spines of residents still recovering from 12/14. Why was there a change from Concealed Carry to Open Carry? Was it for showing constitutional rights? Protecting those waiting for a latte? Prevention of another massacre? Seems to me that there was really no good reason for Open Carry into Starbucks, except to dramatize the right always held, in a way that was traumatic and horrifying to those in the store, and to those in town who were unnerved by the blatant disregard for the healing human condition in Newtown. Those who traveled to Newtown, and those who live in Newtown, who Open Carried in Starbucks that day, did so with the poor judgement you indicated, and the desire to show that they can carry a weapon openly, in a town that is barely surviving a massacre caused by legal weapons.

To other points, I love to drive cars, trucks, motorcycles, almost anything. I always think of the danger posed by someone driving on the same road as I am driving on at any given time. I know not their abilities, physical or mental conditions, or the condition of their vehicle. It is highly unlikely, however, that a vehicle will un-holster its bumper, with the idea that it will defend me if another vehicle attempts to hit mine. It is vital that I obey all rules of the road, even if others do not. I am sure responsible gun owners feel the same way about their guns. But the two cannot be equated, except in the fact that we cannot be assured of the abilities and conditions of the drivers of vehicles, as we cannot be assured of the abilities and conditions of Concealed or Open Carry gun owners. Remember, it was not a pick-up truck ramming into Sandy Hook School that killed 26 human beings.

Starbucks bans weapons in its corporate headquarters, and in all States that do not have specific Open Carry laws. But, remember, the government sets standards that are permissible, but not obligatory. There is no requirement to allow Open Carry weapons in Starbucks, or any venue, in the State of Connecticut. The business sets their policy.

I would hope that responsible gun owners can be trusted. I see no reason for a display of open holstered weapons in a public setting. It serves only as an 'attractive nuisance' to any given situation or potential confrontation. A committee representing various constituencies of the Town of Newtown has requested that Starbucks enact a reasoned policy regarding not allowing Open Carry in Newtown, or any community. The stench of terror has not subsided in Newtown or other areas of this country, suffering the effects of gun violence.

Sincerely,
Rich
3 Curry Drive

Another Reply

Richard,

Well, you are free to call it what you want. I am merely trying to point out that an extremist stance will attract extremist opposition. I am willing to bet it will not the last time 'outsiders' invade Newtown Starbucks now that Newtown Action Alliance and others are demanding Starbucks to change their policy. In that respect I consider gun control advocates terrorists as well. Because they refuse to give our community the time it needs to heal either. They need to stop using the pain in Newtown to push political agenda... period! And you are certainly calling all police officers who risk their lives for us terrorists. That couldn't be further from the truth.

As for open carry, I think most gun owners have been very respectful while in Newtown and surrounding areas. I have seen a number of people switch to concealed carry for the very reasons you mentioned. And even though I personally do not think open carry is best, there are very legitimate reasons behind it. It can deter a situation without having to unholster it. Over time the outward exposure can make people around you more comfortable with the fact that they carry a firearm... ect. Again, i am not advocating open carry. And I know I won't convince you to support it. I am simply saying it generally is not a display of power or aggression.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but residents have armed themselves in record numbers since 12/14. So many people refuse to remain a victim. That is a significant aspect to this issue.

One last side note: your statement that the "massacre caused by legal weapons" is completely false. The weapons became illegal firearms the second he stole them. Never mind every other law he broke.

I hope you find resolution to the anger or however you feel. Please don't hold my opinions against me, I certainly won't hold any of it against you.

Best Regards,
Brian

Your Analysis ...

Brian,

I am not sure of your background or of your ability to make far reaching judgements of me personally, or of any other individual. To put words in my mouth is inappropriate. I certainly believe there is a major difference between active police officers carrying exposed weapons, and the general public at-large. For you to indicate that I am "... certainly calling all police officers who risk their lives for us terrorists", is inaccurate and slanderous towards me. You have a right to your opinion, but your opinion cannot make false assumptions about my personal beliefs. If you read my communications, you will find that I support uniformed and armed officers in schools as well as around town (including Starbucks).

I seek no resolution to my dismay over open carry and weapons in a public venue. For you to hope I find resolution to my anger is disingenuous, at best. Residents arming themselves is far different from open carry in a public venue, and in a town still reeling for the effects of 12/14. Those legal weapons, can be kept at home, and still pose a risk to citizens young and old. Lanza stole legal weapons from his mother in his own house. His mother encouraged his use of guns. They were legal weapons. To call the weapons he used illegal, the moment he took them from the house, excuses the broader point and sounds like an NRA rationale. They were legal weapons, stored in the house where he lived.

My comments surrounding "Starbucks" and "Open Carry" have been centered on the event, policies, and my opinion of the impact. I have never referenced a specific individual or made assumptions about an individual. I suggest you do the same. Making assumptions about me is an inappropriate game. I would never hold your opinions against you, our chasm on this issue is too broad to cross.

Richard, My comment came off

Richard,

My comment came off harshly. I'm sorry about that. And you are right, I shouldn't put words in your mouth. But the point I was trying to make still seems valid to me. You said: "In a society that now readily scans people at public venues, we can have a latte ordered by some unknown entity with a gun waiting on either side of us on the line, in a town that has endured a massacre from legally registered weapons. That is terror in my book!" I have seen police officers in and out of uniform carrying a pistol openly on their hip in public while 'ordering latte's'. Do you consider it an act of terror when a plain clothed official openly carries a piston? If you don't consider that an act of terror, then I would question whether you are judging people hypocritically. I sincerely don't understand the difference. Why would anyone be less traumatized by the sight of a gun simply because the person might happen to be a law enforcement agent or member of the military? And when you say "I see no reason for a display of open holstered weapons in a public setting" are you excluding government officials? If so, why?

I didn't mean to make assumptions about you. That was wrong. I will ask from now on :) But obviously I was going to 'reference a specific individual' when I was speaking directly to you. How else can 2 people communicate?

As for the legality of the guns... we are saying the same thing from different angles. It sounds to me like you were pointing out that current laws weren't enough to prevent it. And I was saying that there are tons of laws and there isn't a single practical gun law that would have prevented it. That more gun laws are ineffective and couldn't have changed anything.

To be bluntly honest, I detected anger in your writing. But I was careful not to assume how you felt in this case. I was not being disingenuous by any means. I truly wish this was never an issue in the first place. But since we are, I hope it is not something that troubles going forward. I hope it get's resolved.

::How bout them Mets::

-Brian

History

Watch this gun history documentary ..... http://video.pbs.org/video/2336640229/

Just one examp0le ... of many .....

PLAINWELL, Mich. — A conversation recorded and posted on YouTube last fall shows a suspect — thought to have killed his girlfriend and then himself this week — and a public safety officer discussing open carry laws after police had received several calls about a man walking his dog while carrying a shotgun.
Cassaundra Pell, 23, and Rob Pratt, 24, were found dead Tuesday in her home when police arrived responding to a domestic violence call, according to MLive.
Investigators believe Pratt, Pell’s boyfriend, used a shotgun to kill Pell and then turned the gun on himself.

http://www.policeone.com/Gun-Legislation-Law-Enforcement/articles/628348...

No Surprises

There are no surprises in the responses posted here. The anonymity selected by responders is understood, as they want not to be identified as having guns, I guess. I am not an anti-gun zealot, but do not believe in carrying in all everyday circumstances. To suggest that the massacre at Sandy Hook could have been averted by an administrator with a gun is just asinine. It is just another NRA rationale for guns on every belt or in every purse.

To equate denying firearms on private property to denying service based on religion, race and sexual orientation is another tactic used by gun enthusiasts, but guns are not part and parcel of the human condition. The issue is that Newtown was highlighted by gun carrying residents and non-residents from out of state and from places like Meriden, Watertown, Waterbury before 4:30pm ... not just neighbors coming in for coffee while holstering a weapon openly in a community still in shock from gun violence.

I believe in law enforcement placed in our schools, and the secondary schools have, in fact, had such a presence for years. Now, so will the elementary schools! Are you protecting against tyranny, as is the want of the Constitution? I think not!

People

Having a gun does not ensure appropriate usage! To insinuate that eliminating gun free zones cures all ills because the gun carriers will act appropriately, with good judgement, and no personal bias, is as crazy as everyone carrying weapons in all local venues! The man or woman packing and standing next to me may not be one to trust with a weapon. Having a gun does not make one the panacea for all ills surrounding them at any given time. The issue here was the blatant carrying in visible holsters, deadly weapons into Starbucks to celebrate the right to carry, with no regard to the sensitivity of those who buried children next door.

Ridiculous

RAE, you are entitled to carry or not carry a firearm whenever you choose, but your trying to impose that view on either people is unacceptable. People have a basic, fundamental right to lawful self defense, and in the modern age of gangs that means that a firearms are vital to being self-reliant when it comes to ones own defense. You can choose to rely on the police department, and wait the average 8 minutes that they take to respond during an emergency, life or death situation, but please do not try to take that choice away from other people who simply want to protect themselves and their families. The situation is 100% parallel to the examples that I gave, particularly with respect to one's religion. Both the free exercise of religion and the right to keep and bare arms (notice the bare part - that means we can carry them with us) are protected under the Constitution, the highest law under which is government operates.

You can say that people can choose not to own a firearm, and many people do make that choice, but would you tell a Muslim they can choose to convert to Christianity, or else not be allowed in a particular establishment? Both groups of people are protected under the Constitution to freely exercise their rights under the law without impediment or harassment from special interest groups who oppose them. In that respect, the anti-gun agenda actually bears a striking resemblance to those who are against one particular religion or another. Except in this case, their zealotry and bigotry is against gun ownership, and frankly I am a little more than tired of having to defend the 2nd Amendment as if it is up for deliberation for legislators or some simple majority of the public to decide whether or not we will keep it. It is a natural right, its protected by the Constitution, and the Constitution is designed particular to protect people's rights from the dissent of the majority. In the same sense, if a majority of people still believed slavery should be legal, the Constitution would similarly protect the minority opinion from having their rights violated by the majority.

Sandy Hook and the shooting there ABSOLUTELY could have been impeded by an armed person in the school who was trained to use their firearm - whether it be an administrator, an armed guard, a visitor, a school resource officer, or whomever else. That does not mean that every little old lady needs to rush out and buy a gun to keep in their purse, but when you have an entire school full of defenseless children, a few responsible adults who can safely protect them with a firearm seems like the minimum level of adequate protection in today's world. As for the Starbucks situation, anti-gun protestors came nearly 100 miles from New York City and notified the media to create an event out of the fact that some gun owners were at the Newtown Starbucks, safely enjoying some coffee. A shocking sight for those with such an irrational fear of guns as these groups clearly have, I am sure.

There was no intention to harass or cause any disturbance whatsoever, but the protestors were antagonizing the gun owners, getting in their faces during interviews with the news media, etc. The gun owners remained calm and continued with their business. A few people came from Fairfield, Waterbury, etc. - a colossal 10 miles away - to stick up for their fellow gun owners who were then being harassed by a small group of the usual anti-gun protestors. The fact of the matter is that there are many people who are part of the Newtown "community", work in the town, have friends and family there, who do not necessarily live within the town's confined borders. They are, none the less, greatly effected by the tragedy of 12/14 both in terms of the terrible effect on the community and in terms of the gun laws which were subsequently passed to restrict their 2nd Amendment rights, out of a completely misguided effort to blame "someone" for what happened that day.

So now we have a situation where an innocent group of people are being punished for the acts of an insane coward and his irresponsible mother, and instead of working on real solutions, anti-gun zealots are working to expand the completely flawed "gun free zones" to all private businesses as well as all publicly owned land such as parks, and blocking armed guards that could actually make a difference if something similar were to happen again. That is the reality that responsible gun owners and members of the Newtown community who support the 2nd Amendment are now dealing with. It is really a true perversion of liberty when safe, legal gun owners who are doing nothing more than protecting themselves and their families are portrayed as the bad guys.

Get a life and an education

Richard, or may I call you Dick? You are obviously an anti gun zealot, from the start. You also seem to have some difficulty with the truth. CCDL had nothing to do with this event, as gun guy pointed out, much less coordinating some sort of "show of force".

To equate the lawful activity of law abiding citizens with the actions of one evil mad man is irrational. It would be like banning the Daytona 500 because of an auto accident.

Your "schools (sic) struggle to create safe environments, free from all non-law enforcement guns" is obviously a failure. Had a teacher or administrator been in possession of a firearm on 12/14, I dare say the outcome would have been much different.

Gun Guy and Stopruiningmycountry summit up so well, nothing further need be said.

Stop Blaming Guns

Richard,

I think the problem is that you have an irrational fear of guns. If you look at the statistics, the chances of you falling victim to an accident at the hands of a legal, permitted gun holder are slim to none, certainly much less than the chance of you falling victim to a violent predator with an illegal weapon. The fact is that permit holders carry their guns into Starbucks and everywhere else in town all day, every day since the Sandy Hook tragedy, and there is rarely if ever a problem.

As the above commenter said, gun owners showed up at Starbucks all around the country to show their support for the company, including at the Newtown location. There was no rally, no parade, nothing - just a few friends that live locally who decided to go to their local Starbucks and get some coffee to show their support. Once the anti-gun groups caught wind of this, they took screenshots of a few members talking about their plans to meet at the Newtown Starbucks, and created this scenario of some massive gun rally in Newtown. The anti-gun protestors drove in mostly from out of state to get on the news and create media coverage of what they deemed "an event" relating to guns in Newtown. They, the anti-gun protestors, planned a rally for 6PM, which is why the store decided to close.

The fact of the matter is that gun free zones are one of the stupidest ideas to come around in a long time. Stores, schools, movie theaters, or any other public place posting a "gun free zone" sign is doing nothing but advertising that a building full of defenseless victims are waiting inside for any criminal or madman to do harm to them, completely unopposed.

The rational solution to the Newtown shootings would have been to have armed guards protect our children just like they protect banks, politicians, celebrities, and everything else we value in life. The people of Newtown even voted for such a proposal, only to have it shot down by zealots who's irrational fear of guns overtakes even the most basic common sense. Gun owners are also parents, many of whom have children that attend Newtown schools and schools around the state, and it is sad that an anti-gun agenda could block such a rational and effective solution to the problem we would all like to solve (gun violence).

The fact of the matter is that anti-gun protestors would like to see a state and a country in which guns were illegal to carry, anywhere. When they can't get their way through political lobbying, they blackmail and pressure companies to try to use private property rights to infringe on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens who have done nothing wrong, and are not hurting anyone. I wonder if you would take the same position if a company used private property rights to deny service to a particular religion, or race, or sexual orientation?

People need to look past the emotions of the tragic shootings and think through the anti-gun proposals. Will criminals follow this law, or only law abiding citizens (who almost never commit violence) obey it? If a criminal sees a gun free sign at the Starbucks, will they turn around and leave, or will they feel more comfortable robbing the place? We cannot allow the emotions of a terrible tragedy to cloud logical thinking when it comes to these debates.

Safety guaranteed?

Mmmmmm! Not so much ... in spite of an instructor!

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/14/2465201/gun-safety-instructo...

When is your safety ever

When is your safety ever "Guaranteed"? You can go around the world unarmed, thinking that bad things won't happen, but you are in far greater danger being in a "gun free zone" than one with legal, permitted gun owners.

http://bearingarms.com/harvard-gun-control-doesnt-work/

“Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence” in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is the stuff of gun grabber’s nightmares. Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser have compiled a heavily foot-noted academic report that is nonetheless very compelling and relatively easy to digest.

Small Government Times offers a summary:

The Harvard study attempts to answer the question of whether or not banning firearms would reduce murders and suicides. Researchers looked at crime data from several European countries and found that countries with HIGHER gun ownership often had LOWER murder rates.

Russia, for example, enforces very strict gun control on its people, but its murder rate remains quite high. In fact, the murder rate in Russia is four times higher tahn in the “gun-ridden” United States, cites the study. ”Homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings.” In other words, the elimination of guns does not eliminate murder, and in the case of gun-controlled Russia, murder rates are quite high.

The study revealed several European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France – had remarkably low murder rates. Contrast that with Luxembourg, “where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002.

The study found no evidence to suggest that the availability of guns contributes to higher murder rates anywhere in the world. ”Of course, it may be speculated that murder rates around the world would be higher if guns were more available. But there is simply no evidence to support this.”

Grow a SET

Richard,
Everyday there are responsible legal gun owners all around you!
The couple sitting next to you at the Breakfast counter of your local Newtown Diner,... yes they both have CT permits and carry a gun EVERYWHERE they go.

That friendly fellow that held the door for you as you entered the service station to pay for your gas....Yes he has a CT permit and carries a gun EVERYWHERE. Even the guy that you paid behind the counter...Yes he has a CT permit and carries a gun EVERYWHERE, especially while he is on duty! In case he ever gets robbed, we wants at least a chance to go home alive after his shift.

Since the slaughter of those innocent children in Newtown, the number of your neighbors legally carrying guns EVERYWHERE has skyrocketed!!! Don't believe me check it out for yourself.

Now that I have let you know that people carrying guns are everywhere, everyday, I will now correct your LIES.
CCDL NEVER had their members show up in Newtown and there was NO SHOW OF FORCE scheduled for 6pm
The members of CCDL acted on their own accord showing up at Starbucks across the entire state. It was "NATIONAL Starbucks Appreciation Day"...please notice that the word gun does not appear in the title of the day.

Most showing up at "Your" Satrbucks were you own neighbors or people from neighboring towns. Now the protesters that showed up to cause trouble were another story. From what I was told they were mostly from NY.

Again CCDL did not arrange this event, but on behalf of them I say thank you for helping spread the word of such a great organization!

Gun Guy

A se t of what????

A se
t of what????

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