I respectfully disagree with your editorial characterizing Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz as having caved to the gun lobby ("Starbucks caves to the radical gun lobby," Sept. 19).
The company recently decided to make their restaurants less welcoming to patrons who are wearing guns — but not to prohibit them outright. While I wish that decision had been different, I completely understand it, and I would suggest that it has less to do with the gun lobby than with practical matters that don't make such good press.
Mr. Schultz has a primary responsibility to protect his investors. If he fails to do that, the viability of the entire corporation is in question. By suggesting that he could have acted otherwise, you are holding a private sector executive to the same moral standard as you would a public servant.
Mr. Schultz is not a public servant and his job is not to make public policy. I am a local employer who frequently takes a public stand on political issues that are not in our immediate corporate best interest, but I do have an ultimate responsibility to my employees not to lose them their jobs. So does Mr. Schultz.
The parties who have failed here are us. We (the public) and the public servants we elect, have failed to lobby for, create and enforce reasonable laws about the right to purchase and bear arms.
Blaming Starbucks is wrong, both because it is based on an expectation that a private company will do the job of derelict public officials, and because it absolves the rest of us of our responsibility to be active citizens and hold our elected officials' feet to the fire with the same intensity that the gun lobby does.
Mark Thistel, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun