Monday, 7 July 2014



Oddly, Loaded Rifles and Targets Don’t Seem to Go Together


Is it me? Or does half of everything that suggests humanity is absurd, insane and doomed emanate from the United States? Suffice to say, the lunatic fringe is armed. And they’re hunting for bargains at Target and everywhere else in any state that has enacted “open carry” laws.


Only in America will you encounter this on a corporate retail website:




While we continue to follow local laws regarding “open carry” policies, we also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target, even in communities where it’s permitted. Your cooperation helps us fulfill our goal to create an atmosphere of family-friendly shopping that’s safe and inviting for our guests and team members.


Said Target spokesperson Molly Snyder to The Wall Street Journal last week: “Our leadership team has been weighing this complex issue and been listening carefully to the nuances.” The paper also quotes Target CEO John Mulligan from a memo which begins: “This is a complicated issue…”


Molly, John, the situations in Iraq and Ukraine are complicated. Hell, even the billion-dollar fiasco of Target’s expansion into Canada may be described as complex. Writing from the perspective of a Canadian tourist shopping, say, in a Dallas, TX Target, if I were to see a fellow with a loaded assault rifle on the grocery aisle, I would think armed robbery or rampage; a misguided exercise of a misinterpreted constitutional right would be the farthest thing on my mind. And if I was a policeman sworn to protect and serve in an “open carry” state, I’m certain it wouldn’t take more than a single shift to develop a 1000-yard stare.


Activists on both sides of the U.S. gun debate have forced Target to reluctantly take something of a limp stand as each one, enabled by social media, can call for a boycott. Awkward. It’s an artificially imposed public relations nightmare (as opposed to General Motors having to recall some eight million faulty vehicles) for a simple chain of middling department stores with an unfortunate name. Target can’t just order gun nuts to bugger off and go shop at Walmart because gun nuts have wallets filled with credit cards – and feelings of alienation and persecution too. I suspect this is one of the “nuances” to which Molly referred.


The exclamation point to The Wall Street Journal’s story was provided by, naturally, the National Rifle Association. The powerful lobby group at first allowed that carrying loaded rifles into stores was “not neighbourly.” This admonishment proved too controversial even for the NRA, so it apologized for the content of its statement and withdrew it.

And we can only pity the poor souls manning customer service counters in “open carry” states: “This is a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle. It’ll cut you clean in half. Now, the sign said buy one designer queen size sheet set and get the other free. But I only want one set at half price, see? So you’ve got to ask yourself one question…”

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