Man, I wish you wouldn’t.
That’s my unsolicited message to Art Bouvier, the owner of Papa Roux. In case you haven’t heard, Papa Roux was robbed Saturday night. Somebody walked into the restaurant on East 10th St. at around 7:30 in the evening, claimed they had a gun, and, according to reports, made off with cash from the tip jar and an undisclosed amount from the register.
Hannah Watts, the shift leader, was understandably shaken, but admirably cool under pressure. Apparently none of the customers who were eating in the restaurant at the time knew the robbery was taking place. Most important, no one was hurt.
Art Bouvier is understandably upset. His business was violated and his people put in danger. This was just the latest in a string of recent restaurant robberies, yet another “what’s our city coming to?” moment. It’s enough to make you want to holler.
Bouvier’s way of hollering has been to go on Facebook, where he posted a message saying Papa Roux will offer a 25 percent discount to anyone who comes in and shows a concealed carry permit. “If thugs are going to come in and threaten OUR extended family with guns, you’d better believe I will use every trick I know to protect (our family),” he wrote.
The idea, I guess, is that if the restaurant is implicitly full of folks carrying guns, thieves will steer clear. I get it. This echoes what gun industry advocates want us to do to prevent gun violence: arm ourselves.
“I don’t want Papa Roux to turn into the O.K. Corral,” Bouvier told The Indianapolis Star, “but I don’t want to be an easy target.”
Bouvier’s need to protect his business is legitimate. To the extent he is trying something that might serve as a preventive measure, I give him credit.
It’s interesting, though, that he brings up the O.K. Corral. The gunfight there has been immortalized in numerous Hollywood Westerns over the years; movies, it seems, are a common point of reference when it comes to how we think about guns. All that shooting and pretend killing we’ve witnessed has probably led most of us to believe we know more about guns than we actually do. It has certainly made guns appear as cool as they are threatening.
Anyway, you might recall that in the O.K. Corral legend, the Sheriff, Wyatt Earp, begins by posting a rule that, upon entering town, everyone must hand over their guns. It’s an early form of gun control. Earp does this with popular support because the townsfolk consider living without the threat of gunplay the civilized thing to do — a step toward making their community truly livable. The fight, when it finally occurs, pitting lawmen versus outlaws, is seen as marking the end of a violent era.
That era, it seems, is back with a vengeance. And so, in the name of protecting his business, Art Bouvier is turning his restaurant into a gun marketer’s dream come true. This could work for him.
But it won’t make guns any less threatening. It won’t make them cool.
Originally published at Nuvo.net