Just after Texas passed its new Open Carry law Whataburger came out with a statement declaring that it would continue to allow conceal carry but it would NOT allow open carry in its establishment. This declaration opened a discussion, in a group I am in, with people that I consider basically like-minded, well intentioned, and rational. As it turned out we totally disagreed with each other on this one.
Now let me start by declaring that I can never see an instance where I will open carry in my lifetime. Personally and tactically I just don’t see it. I also believe that if you own a business you did build that business, and that you should have the right to include or deny anyone or anything that you want. I think that if Whataburger wants to put up a sign banning guns, blacks, women, babies, old white guys, or even just Troy Amason then it is their right.
So why does what Whataburger did make any difference to me? I already said I support their right to do it, and since I don’t open carry it will not affect me at all…. Until it does. People rarely stop to consider the complications of things and how they will unfold down the road. Let’s examine this a bit.
The first red flag is Whataburger made an effort to answer a question that no one was asking. Moms’ weren’t picketing. OCT was not scheduling events. Whataburger chose a side and took a stance benefiting one group over another. They said “we are more concerned with the group that is uncomfortable with guns than the group that is comfortable”. They loudly called everyone out. You can choose to ignore them or you can respond. The trouble is that if you do choose to ignore them then you are, in effect, supporting them. What does that hurt? Well if they do it with no ill effect then Dairy Queen can do it, and In And Out, etc. etc. Again what does that hurt? CEO’s become board members, board members become congressmen, and then their thinking will be “if I did it when I ran Whataburger, and everyone liked it, then they will like it when I make it law”, so around we go again.
Because we only focus on the part that directly affects us we keep fighting the same fight over and over. Gaining and losing only inches. Every person, that I saw, saying they were ok with Whataburger, initially did so based on how it affected them personally. “I don’t open carry so I don’t care.” “I own a business and I don’t want Mom’s Demand Action to effect it.” Now when challenged they mostly fell back to “it’s a private business’s rights” but not one person started there. An argument was also made about it not being the “social norm like it is in Kansas”. Well by supporting Whataburger, and then DQ, and then Wendy’s you will make their stance the social norm, and we will fight for this inch again down the road.
Allow me to make some extreme examples. Let’s say I am going to lunch with a couple of other guys. As we get to the door a manager asks us if our wives are at home or if any of us are a couple? My wife is at home but in fact the other two guys are married. The manager says that is fine they support gay marriage but just not openly. I am free to go in but my friends will have to remove their rings. You still going in? How about if you are going in with a group and one is black? You going to leave him on the curb? I mean he is being openly black.
Look at one more reason to make a stance. Think about how you feel about abortion. Let’s say you are against it, and the Pro-abortion people are willing to compromise with you. No abortions beyond four weeks. A win for you! So are you good with that, or will you now go right back at them to ban all abortions? Most people will take the win and then go right back to fighting for their ultimate goal. Anti-gun people are the same. They are not going to be happy to leave you be if you give them open carry they will regroup and come back for conceal and then all out ban.
Look, I am an old white guy, and some things make me uncomfortable. I don’t like to be around people that eat beets (ugh), but I am not going to shun a good person just because that one issue about them makes me uncomfortable, and I am not going to support a private business that shuns good people, (Even though a no beets policy at Whataburger would make me happy). That is what makes supporting Whataburger’s rights, work. If Whataburger hangs a sign that says “No Blacks” then I would hope that so many people would stop supporting them that they would fail in that market.
I am not actually a member of either group in the Whataburger situation. I am not uncomfortable around guns nor do I open carry, so how/why would I side. Well, what I am, is a believer in the constitution, and the 2nd amendment. It clearly states “shall not infringe”. By making this stance, Whataburger does not support the constitution, and the 2nd amendment. They support some version of you being able to carry a gun, so long as they can put their infringements on it. If that is what everyone wants, then there is a means to change the constitution, but until then, you will continue to fight for the same ground over and over until you are willing to fight for the actual definitive law, and everyone’s rights there in. That means supporting someone that is doing something you would not do. It means supporting them even when it is hard. I am not saying you have to riot and burn down Whataburger. I am just saying that supporting a business that is not willing to support the laws will come back and bite you, down the road.