Big business, merely by being successful, is a target of those who hate private enterprise. And even though Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Eleven, and McDonalds may sell more cups of coffee every day, Starbucks — with over 16,000 locations worldwide, including over 11,000 in the United States — may well be the signature brand of retail coffee today.

Like WalMart, Starbucks is immediately controversial because its employees are not unionized. That’s okay with me. Starbucks is already known for its premium prices. I can’t imagine what a tall Mocha Frappuccino would cost if blended by union members.

There’s a Facebook Group with over a thousand members named “Fuck Starbucks!” based on an old and refuted urban legend that Starbucks once refused to send its coffee to U.S. Marines deployed in Iraq, telling them, “We don’t support the War or anyone in it.” This group urges those who support the military to boycott Starbucks. It would be ironic if right-wing activists were boycotting Starbucks because of an urban legend started by left-wing union organizers as a way to strong-arm Starbucks.

Contrary to common opinion regarding the Starbucks barista, it’s definitely a job for skilled labor. My daughter worked at Starbucks while in high school, and showed me the procedural manual every employee had to master, detailed to the point of what vocabulary to use while describing coffee flavors to inquiring customers. The word smoky is a charmer. But mastering the full manual of these procedures might daunt a NASA astronaut.

In an age when Tea Party is supposed to describe a political movement, I’ve often wondered at how few actual beverages are involved. I mean, the actual Boston Tea Party was a minor bit of terrorism to protest a tax on tea. It was a one-time deal. Nobody was going out every weekend dumping tea in Boston Harbor. It’s no wonder the focus of a movement that started out with Ron Paul supporters looking for something else to do when the 2008 candidacy of Ron Paul ended quickly lost its focus, then becoming targets for hostile takeovers by establishment Republicans and neocons.

But Starbucks — which does actually sell real cups of tea — now finds itself, willy nilly, at the center of a controversy that would be of interest to many real grassroots Tea Party activists.

It started out when advocates of “open carry” — the wearing of handguns either in a visible holster or belt, as opposed to carrying concealed — took a page from the gay activist procedural manual, and started outing themselves in public. Several at a time, as a way of norming the practice, they’d visit high-visibility places of business — like Starbucks — wearing visible sidearms.

Eventually, of course, this news made its way to the Brady Campaign, who decided to try putting pressure on various businesses — like Starbucks — to declare themselves “Gun Free Zones.”

Now, pressure campaigns like this are usually successful. Corporations loathe controversy. Retail chains with sporting goods departments — such as K-mart and WalMart — quickly caved in to demands, years ago, that they stop selling firearms and ammunition in their stores.

So it must have been a shock to the Brady Campaign when Starbucks — not known for being in the slightest right-wing-oriented — declared that private citizens were welcome to openly carry their firearms into any Starbucks location where local law did not restrict it.

This is more supportive of the Second Amendment than an independent hair-styling kiosk renting space in my local WalMart in Pahrump, Nevada, which has a prominent sign declaring that no weapons are allowed.

I have spent more than a few words writing on the topic of firearms, crime, and self-defense. I’m the author of a book titled Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns, about which Charlton Heston wrote, “Mr. Schulman’s book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read. He presents the assault on the Second Amendment in frighteningly clear terms. Even the extremists who would ban firearms will learn from his lucid prose.”

I’m also webmaster of the World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock, which calculates that “Every 13 seconds an American firearm owner uses a firearm in defense against a criminal.”

Since my birthday in 2007 — the date of the Virginia Tech massacre — I have been giving away free downloads of the PDF edition of Stopping Power, and only the free 30th anniversary edition of my novel Alongside Night has racked up more downloads from my fans. Coming up on three years and Stopping Power is still getting around 500 downloads a month.

G. Gordon Liddy, in his 2002 book When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country, quoted extensively from my September 13, 1991 Gun Week article, “The Unabridged Second Amendment,” in which I interviewed English usage expert, Roy Copperud, on the meaning of the Second Amendment. Liddy didn’t bother attributing the material he quoted from my article, but what would you expect from one of the world’s most famous convicted burglars?

Writing about a private citizen carrying a firearm for self defense — and using it successfully — also got me blacklisted.

As recounted by former CNN correspondent Dan Gifford in an email he sent out on March 23, 2006:

Neil Schulman is a talented man who has been screwed by Hollywood liberals. The “LA Law” gang was in love with him until he wrote an “LA Times” piece about the way the media ignores incidents where armed citizens stop crimes in progress. There was a local example he used to make his point. That contradicted the liberal politics of the writers. They dropped him and, according to what I heard, put his name on the whisper blackball grapevine. I first heard about the incident from my fellow ACLU board members during a meeting. He wrote one of the more poignant “Twilight Zone” episodes (JFK is alive and teaching at Harvard) and is an example of the very liberal McCarthyesque bias we are all trying to expose and end.

So I actually do know something about the utility of private citizens carrying guns openly for self-defense.

Which is why I started a Facebook group of my own — RKBA Supporters for Starbucks — and yesterday launched an event encouraging all supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to make a visit to their local Starbucks this coming week.

I wrote,

Buy a cup of Tea (or Coffee) at Starbucks to thank them for supporting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms!

Starbucks has taken the rare step for a major corporation of refusing to buckle under to pressure from the pro-gun-control Brady Campaign in its decision not to ban open-carry of handguns in those of its locations where it is legal to do so. In refusing to make Starbucks a “Gun Free Zone” Starbucks is recognizing the protective value of private citizens carrying firearms for defense in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal takeover of the store.

Simply by refusing to be more restrictive in its locations than local law permits, Starbucks is recognizing that “Gun control increases violent crime by shifting the balance of power to favor criminals while it disarms helpless victims.”

If Starbucks policy had been in effect in locations ranging from Luby’s Cafeteria in Waco, Texas, to Virginia Tech, to Fort Hood, mass-victim massacres by unopposed illegally-armed criminals, crazies, and terrorists might have been stopped on the spot.

Supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms need to show their support of Starbucks for their sensible and caring approach to the safety of their customers by frequenting Starbucks, displaying Starbucks logos and merchandise in their cars, homes, and workplaces, and thanking Starbucks employees and managers for their continuing support of the Bill of Rights which protects us all.

As soon as I created this group and posted my event, I got a message from my Facebook friend, Bruce Sommer, who wrote me, “While I applaud Starbuck’s respect for open carry on its premises, I can’t respect their opposition of the entire concept if self-ownership as reflected in their view of the war on the American people that is the war on some drugs.”

I replied to Bruce, “If we don’t reward corporations with extra business when they do something right, they won’t give a damn about us when we decline doing business with them when they do something wrong. A carrot and stick approach requires occasional carrots.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only guy who thought Starbucks needed carrots.

Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Founder and Director of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute headquartered in Aptos, California, wrote on their website today,

To thank the Starbuck’s organization for setting a stellar example of proper corporate policy, I will provide a $2,000 bonus to every Starbucks’ employee in the form of a Front Sight Four Day Defensive Handgun Course. All a Starbuck’s employee has to do is select a Four Day Defensive Handgun Course date in 2010 from our website course schedule at and complete the Course Application. (We run the courses almost every weekend except during July and August.) After completing the Course Application, attach a copy of a current Starbucks paystub to the application instead of the $2,000 course fee and mail the completed application so we receive it at least two weeks before the course date. We will then place you in the course and e-mail your course confirmation materials. I look forward to training the entire Starbucks organization to a level of skill with a handgun that exceeds law enforcement and military standards. (Then Starbucks really could change their logo to an armed Mermaid!)”

So, please, do something this coming week to drive up Starbucks’ sales, and politely let them know that these extra sales are coming from gun owners and supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

This could turn out to be the most powerful cup of coffee in the world, and would blow your cappuccino head clean off.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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