Category Archives: Coffeehouses

1000 Words: Guns, God, America… and Coffee

I suppose I’m not alone in this but I have several “friends” whom I know only through social media. And, by the way, that doesn’t include Twitter, which I’ve never, ever directly posted on or read; I only have an autopost feature connecting this blog to it. The very idea of Twitter never made any goddamned sense to me, even before the ex-world’s richest archvillain took the company over.

One of those social media friends is a fellow named Simon who lives in Evansville, Indiana. He’s a musician and a house painter, so he appeals to both the artist and the blue-collar worker in me. I do know his brother, Jackson, also a musician and a carpenter. Clearly, both come from good, creative, down-to-earth stock.

But, as I say, I’ve never laid eyes on Simon, the human being. Yet he’s quite expressive on Facebook and so I’ve come to know him, more maybe than any ten of my friends I see on, say, a monthly basis.

Simon seems not terribly infatuated with Evansville, but he remains there, I’d guess, for the same reasons many of us remain in locales or jobs or relationships: comfort, familiarity, connections, and inertia. He likes to point out the less than savory aspects of the town. Evansville, situated along the wide Ohio River at almost the farthest southwest reach of Indiana, a long bridge ride across from Henderson, Kentucky, is not Paris or New York, or even Indianapolis. It’s certainly not Bloomington, even though it has its own college campuses. It’s the kind of place where people imagine they’re dining in Rome when they visit the Olive Garden.

Simon, smart-ass that he is (another reason I dig him), the other day put up a post reading, “Evansville is truly on the cutting edge of urban development.” Underneath that line, he posted pix of a new business opening up in the town. It’s called LawMan Tactical Coffee Lab.

I’d never heard of the outfit before so, naturally, I was curious. Here’s one of the pix Simon posted:

Note, at the bottom of the image, the firearms on display on the wall. Note, too, the business’s logo: a man (of course, a man) aiming what appears to be a semi-automatic weapon.

Looks like the kind of operation somebody like Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert might love.

Again, I had to find out about LawMan. That’s easy enough. The people who run the soon-to-be opening coffeehouse aren’t hiding anything. They love guns. And god. And America *. And, natch, coffee.

[ * Well, their version of America. ]

Coffeehouses, everyone on Earth (including mystics cloistered in Indian ashrams), knows coffeehouses have been the rage for decades now. Hell, Jerry Seinfeld years ago made the joke that Starbucks is opening everywhere, in malls, in department stores, in groceries; in fact, he’d heard of a Starbucks opening up in a Starbucks.

Me? I’ve been a coffeehouse habitué since the early ’90s when I started hanging out in Tom Handley’s Urbus Orbis in the then-iffy neighborhood of Wicker Park/Bucktown in Chicago. At the time, the neighborhood was ju-u-ust beginning to be gentrified. It was still a locus of gangbangers and starving artists. Rents were dirt cheap but anybody with eyes or ears knew they’d be zooming upward in two ticks. As young, white, childless, professional suburbanites and advertising creatives started moving in, Urbus Orbis’s business boomed. Then, as rents soared, poor Tom Handley found he couldn’t afford to stay there. That’s the way of the big city, and has been for as long as anyone can remember.

Anyway, coffeehouses to me always have brought to mind young painters, sculptors, writers, dancers, musicians, hangers-on, intellectuals, chess players, anarchists, professional contrarians, studied poseurs — in short, my kind of folk. As long as I hadn’t been around when the coffeehouses of the beatnik era were all the rage, places like Chicago’s Urbus Orbis and Caffe Pergolesi, Evanston’s Kafein, and Bloomington’s Soma and Hopscotch would do just fine.

Allen Ginsburg (bearded, in glasses) with other Beat poets at Café Trieste in New York City.

I’d never expect MAGA cap wearers to be big patrons of such places. Yet, here we have LawMan. And if there aren’t any MAGA caps for sale in its gift shop or online that doesn’t mean the owners or its intended customers are too busy reading Cornell West or Noam Chomsky to want to bother with them.

Evansville’s newest coffeehouse is an offshoot of the LawMan Tactical Guntry Club. See what they did there? Not country club for softie duffers but guntry club, for real men and their women. LawMan’s website crows the four pillars of its — and its adherents’ — beliefs: Faith, Family, Country, Courage.

LawMan gift shop offers mugs and apparel.

I’ll guess Family doesn’t include any such aggregation comprised of trans people or others of the LGBTQI ilk, no matter how close or loving said aggregants are. Nor does Faith encompass, for instance, a trust in human goodness and kindness and the rigors of scientific inquiry. But that’s just me.

The Guntry Club offers firearms sales, tactical gear, ammo, shooting ranges, tactical training, a fitness center, “reality based” physical training including martial arts, active threat response, tourniquet usage, CPR, tactical communications, as well as a private cigar and bourbon bar. It’s a testosterone blast.

“We will provide the means for you to gain the proper education and training for protection along with the fellowship to last a lifetime,” the website promises.

Owner Bryan Bishop, a Vanderburgh County deputy sheriff, writes:

I want to provide an establishment that is not ashamed to say, God, Bless you, Merry Christmas, and pro-America rights.

America is great, acc’d’g to one section of LawMan’s website, mainly because of the 2nd Amendment. As I read through the site, I might guess Bryan Bishop and friends truly believe this holy land is great almost solely because of the 2nd Amendment. That and god’s good grace, of course. The creator of the universe, apparently, isn’t as fond of other countries.

The times, they are a’changin’. So are coffeehouses.


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