Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Starbucks Responds

A few days ago I thanked Starbucks for their continuing to allow carry in their stores.

Today, I got this response:

Dear Lima,
Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.
  Thank you for your feedback regarding Starbucks' policy on open carry laws.

At Starbucks, we deeply respect the views of our customers and recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding the issue of open carry weapons laws. We comply with local laws and statutes in the communities we serve. Our long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged and we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states. Where these laws don't exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is prohibited.

As the public debate around this issue continues, we encourage customers and advocacy groups from both sides to share their input with their public officials. We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society and believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both partners and customers.

If you have any further questions or concerns that I was unable to address, please feel free to let me know. 

Warm Regards,

Kelsey F
Customer Relations
Starbucks Coffee Company
800 STARBUC (782-7282)
Monday through Friday, 5AM to 8PM (PST)

Good on ya, Starbucks!! I especially like the part that says they "believe that supporting local laws is the right way." We do, too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Armed and Nursing

In the overwhelming list of controversial subjects, two of them are guns and breastfeeding.

Of course guns are controversial for their perceived danger. Breastfeeding is controversial because there is still a huge debate on whether or not women should do it in public and how much exposure is too much exposure. Should a woman wear a cover? Should she dismiss herself to the bathroom or vehicle? The opinions are vast.

Breastfeeding and being armed can both individually cause unwanted attention and a mother who chooses to breastfeed and carry a gun puts herself in a place of being doubly scrutinized.

Some mothers choose to carry off body in a bag or purse similar to the tactical diaper bag.

The pros and cons of off body carry are something to be discussed in another post, however, and for the purposes of this post we are going to assume that our young mother has chosen to carry both on body and nurse.

Breastfeeding can be a very wonderful but intimidating thing for a young mother. There's quite a bit of fear of it not working out, being painful, not having enough milk, latch problems, etc.

My recommendation for any mother (armed or not) would be to take a breastfeeding class and get in touch with her local La Leche League. Many hospitals have certified lactation consultants on staff and follow up check ups for brand new mothers to make sure breastfeeding is off to a good start. If given a prescription from your doctor or pediatrician, many health insurance companies will cover the purchase of a quality breast pump. These are resources that should be taken advantage of so that you can maximize the success of your breastfeeding relationship.

But after those first few days or weeks at home snuggling and loving on your baby it may be time to venture out with your baby and your gun. Below are some practices I have adopted to make it as easy as possible.

  • Wear the right kind of clothing
When you first have a baby it's pretty understandable that you aren't going to be jumping back into your pre-pregnancy clothes within the first week or month or even year postpartum. In truth, some women never go back to their pre-pregnancy weight and size and it does nothing for you or your comfort if you lament too long over the loss and refuse to go out and get some good fitting clothing.

Invest in at least one or two pair of pants that fit you comfortably as you transition back into your pre-pregnancy clothing. You might also need a new belt.

Invest in at least two quality nursing bras and tanks. These items will allow you to nurse with the least amount of adjusting of clothing and the less you have to move the clothing around the less likely you are to expose either your gun or skin you don't want exposed.

Other nursing shirts and tops are also good investments to make for variety and style depending on how long it is you intend to nurse.

  • Carry your gun in the most optimal position 
Body Clock
I have found that carry around the waist in the 3 - 6 o'clock position to be the most optimal (or 6 - 9 for lefties).

Carry on the front of the body (9 - 12 and 12 - 3) can also work depending on the method of carry and the way you hold and feed your baby.

Ankle carry is an option though usually reserved for smaller firearms and usually only backup firearms as getting to an ankle gun can be difficult. Especially when you are carrying a child.

For more information on carrying a gun and a baby you can watch my Carrying a Gun and a Baby video:

Shoulder holster carry is also an option but usually best suited for children of very young ages. Babies that have started to discover and explore will try to discover and explore the firearm within their grasp. A proper fitting and well designed shoulder holster will still conceal and protect the trigger and trigger guard so that there is no risk of accidental discharges but it can be hard to keep everything concealed and comfortable with your child tugging and pulling. And for some the mere fact that the child can even touch the firearm is a little too nerve racking.

There are also a number of other holster designs that can be quite viable. Each person must find what works best for them.

  • Cover Garment
Cover garments are invaluable for both carrying a firearm and breastfeeding a baby. A cover garment not only conceals your firearm but can also be used to conceal a breastfeeding baby. The cover garment should be able to open up completely in the chest area without riding up or compromising concealment of the firearm.

Shirts that button up the front, vests, sweaters and the like are ideal for this. For some, a nursing tank with a button up shirt or sweater make for the ideal armed-yet-nursing-mother outfit.

Just don't forget to put an extra cover garment in your car for those moments when your little darling decides to spit up or poop all over you.

Some women are very open nursers and in some states they are protected by laws that make it illegal to interfere with a breastfeeding woman.

Others are more like me; not ashamed of nursing, but not all fired up about shoving it in peoples' faces either. While I will nurse in restaurant booths and refuse to nurse in a bathroom stall, I will also try to nurse my baby in the car before I go in to a store or will use a provided nursing room (especially the one in the mall because they have really comfortable rocking chairs!). Other places where you can retreat (if you so desire) to nurse are dressing rooms and some family restrooms will have a separate location with a comfortable place to nurse.

Unfortunately, because publicly breastfeeding a baby can still be seen as inappropriate, it's important to know your rights considering breastfeeding your child in public in your particular state.

If confronted about breastfeeding in public it is up to you on whether or not you will protest being asked to cover up, leave or retreat to a more private area. Just remember that you are armed and cooler heads prevail. Often times letters to management or corporate headquarters accompanied by copies of favorable state breastfeeding laws can get policy changed a lot easier than hashing it out on the spot with some minimum-wage employee.

If, however, you know for sure you're going out somewhere where you'll be gone a long time and just don't want to bother with it all, you may want to try to pump a bottle a head of time and leave it at that (though my daughter doesn't seem too thrilled about bottle feeding yet).

A little bit of discretion, a non-confrontational attitude and good-fitting, suitable clothing, are pretty much all you need to have a successful breastfeeding relationship with your child while also being armed.

It's Not The Government's Job

Every now and then I get comments or emails from people who, I believe, really do mean well. These people are not stupid or ignorant. A bit misinformed or disillusioned, maybe, but that doesn't make them idiots. We all have things we misunderstand.

Yesterday, I got this one:
I think USA govt has failed in its task, if the citizents feel a need to carry a gun with em everyday and be prepared to use it any time.
To put it rather bluntly; it's not the government's job to protect its citizens. At least not in the US. We are big boys and girls. We are responsible for protecting ourselves. Now, there are citizens who volunteer to assist in our protection (when able) and to enforce laws and punish those who break them, but the idea of government protection for every and all average citizens is rather quite absurd.


Because it's an impossible job.

We are citizens of our government, not subjects. We are not children and we are not slaves. The government should not have to protect us and, if we knew what was good for us, we shouldn't want them to.

As Benjamin Franklin put it:
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
 And that's exactly what would happen if we allowed our government to try to protect us vs us protecting ourselves. Some would say (and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with them) that we've already given up too much liberty under the guise of safety (TSA restrictions for flying ring any bells?). The laws "for our safety" keep getting more and more restrictive yet, everywhere, we hear of people getting around them or breaking them and completely nullifying the "safety" promised us by their enactment. Therefore we are stuck with exactly what Franklin warned us about, neither liberty nor safety.

So, no, the US government has not failed in its task if its citizens feel the need to carry a gun. First, because it is not the US government's task and second, because it would be failing in its task if it tried to be our safety.

We, the people, have the liberty to defend ourselves and the safety that comes with that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Starbucks: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

So the anti-gun folks are mad at Starbucks.

Why? Because Starbucks allows carrying of firearms in their stores.

WHY STARBUCKS?  Currently, Starbucks allows guns and assault weapons to be openly carried in its stores (in 43 states) and concealed and carried in its stores (in 49 states) (See Photos). Starbucks' compliance with the National Rifle Association's Pro-Gun Agenda was exposed in 2010 when members of the "open carry" movement began meeting in popular chains, such as California Pizza Kitchen, Peets, IKEA, Disney and Starbucks openly carrying their handguns and assault rifles. (Types of Guns)

To protect their customers and employees, all of the retail chains—except for Starbucks— banned guns from being carried in their stores.
And in an attempt to teach Starbucks a lesson, the anti-gun folks are trying to organize a Starbucks boycott starting on February 14, 2012.

They want people to email Starbucks and tell them not to allow guns in their stores. They want you to stop buying their products wherever they are sold and spread the word on social networking sights like Facebook and Twitter.

There have been some pro-gun people who have tried to organize boycotts of particular anti-gun stores and for some reason we never hear of those boycotts being successful because--let's face it--some of those corporations don't care about a small blip in their sales do to a minority group boycott. There are a lot of antis out there who can be pretty vociferous and let's not let them win. This time, however, I would love to see us do something positive and support a business that supports the legal rights of those of us who carry firearms legally.

What can we do?

We can contact Starbucks (Really, contact them!) and thank them for supporting our Second Amendment rights and not being intimidated by the threats of the anti-crowd.

We can buy their products! I know not everyone likes to spend so much money on a cup of coffee or even have a Starbucks near them but there are a lot of Starbucks products out there. Coffee creamer, a gift card for your wife, mom, girlfriend, random stranger, put aside a couple dollars a week to support a company that supports us.

Finally, we can show our support! There are a lot of pro-gun blogs spreading the word but keep the good word going. Spread the word through those same social networking sites and keep the good word spreading.

Also, for fun, my dear husband is attempting to organize a Starbucks and guns photo shoot visual. Take a photo with your carry firearm (or any firearm) with a Starbucks product and post it. Post it anywhere! Facebook, here, on pro-gun forums or websites. Keep the support going!