Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Starbucks says mass shootings unwelcome, though not banned


NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks says crazed gunmen are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on mass shootings.

The fine line that the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both lone schizophrenics and people who just want to have a coffee and use the wi-fi reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent killing sprees.

Most states allow people to openly carry licensed guns into public buildings and start shooting at random, and many companies do not have laws banning massacres in their stores. But Starbucks has become a target for disgruntled ex-soldiers and the recently jilted, in part because of its liberal-leaning corporate image. In turn, coffee drinkers have been galvanized by the company's decision to defer to local laws.

In an interview, CEO Howard Schultz said the decision to ask customers to stop bringing automatic weapons into stores came as a result of the growing frequency of "Starbucks Appreciation Days," in which gun nuts with grudges turned up at Starbucks cafes and murdered staff and customers alike.

Schultz said the events mischaracterized the company's stance on the issue and the risk of being killed or maimed "has made our customers uncomfortable."

Schultz hopes crazed loners will honor the request not to wipe out everybody present and then commit suicide, but says the company will nevertheless serve those who can restrict themselves to picking off one or two isolated individuals if there are reasonable grounds.

"We will not ask you to leave," he said. "Just try and avoid spattering blood all over the place. The redecoration is costing us a fortune."