This week’s furor over the treatment of a 9-year-old Staten Island, NY student who got in trouble for having a tiny LEGO figure with a rubber gun can be ultimately credited to the same hysteria that prompted the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence into declaring war on Starbucks.
Why do pro-gun folks love these comparisons so much? In almost every case they don't really work. In this example, I agree totally that the school principal who insisted on suspending the boy was in the wrong and acting "hysterically." But the "guns in Starbucks" issue is something else.
Many intelligent educated and reasonable people feel that the presence of openly-displayed guns in a coffee shop like Starbucks is disturbing. Some of them may feel the gun owners are not to be trusted. Others may feel that guns in a crowded public place are too easily within reach of kids and criminals. Some may feel a tacit threat from those carrying weapons, which gets back to the trust issue. But, whatever they're thinking, aren't they free to think it? Don't they have a right to feel any way they want? Aren't they entitled to request Starbucks to institute a no-gun policy?
In fact, in most places the majority of customers probably prefer the no-gun policy. Why do the gun owners feel their rights are more important than the rights of others? Who are the hysterical ones here? Who uses phrases like "declaring war" to describe a simple petition to Starbucks?
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