Getting the Message

On Monday, Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich publicly announced that customers should not bring guns into the bakery-cafe chain’s stores.

“Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.”

Two days later, a criminal pulled a gun and fatally shot a police officer inside a Panera restaurant in Abingdon, Maryland. He then fled the store and engaged responding police in a gunfight, killing another before being killed himself.

That’s some “Panera warmth,” right there behind the crime scene tape.
All of this happened in Maryland, a state with some of the strictest “gun safety” laws in the country, in the “safety” of Panera’s newly declared “gun free zone.”

I guess he didn’t get the message.
But here’s my message to you. There is no such thing as a gun free zone, because in a free society, gun free zones operate on the honor system. And in case you hadn’t noticed, murderers are not honorable.

Now if you are a fan of these types of restrictions, you might point out that the victim in the Panera store was a fully armed police officer. Granted. But one might also point out that even for an armed police officer, going and sitting right next to an individual known to be unstable when responding to a call of his disruptive behavior might not have been the best approach.

Carrying a gun is no guarantee that you get to go home safe at the end of the day, and even if there were armed citizens in that store there is no guarantee that the outcome would have been any better. But there are no guarantees in life, and every adult understands that. A seat belt does not guarantee you’ll survive a car crash, but it betters the odds so you put it on. And short of the seat belt failing mechanically, we don’t blame the belt for a fatal car crash…we recognize the crash as being too severe for the seat belt to save the driver.
Having a gun does not guarantee you’ll survive the crash, but it can improve your odds. Panera CEO Ron Shaich wants you to leave your seat belt off. Get the message?

— Dave Cole
UPDATE: When writing this, I did not notice that the original story about Panera CEO Ron Shaich was from September of 2014. Mea culpa. However, it doesn’t really change anything…kind of like “gun free zones.”

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