By Vincent L. DeNiro Editor-In Chief, Prepper & Shooter Magazine and Former Ohio Deputy Sheriff
East Liverpool, OH – -(Ammoland.com)- I just read a story posted on AmmoLand.com about Panera Bread and their decision to tell their patrons that they don’t want them carrying firearms for their protection or for the protection of their families while patronizing their restaurants.
I always enjoyed eating at Panera Bread and searched for their restaurants when traveling. Their bread and fresh sandwiches were (and I mean “were”) awesome.
My favorite breakfast was (and I mean “was”) the Mediterranean Egg White with sundried tomatoes, pesto, Asiago cheese, on Ciabatta bread and their great coffee. We even had many staff meetings for Prepper & Shooter Magazine there, but will not any more since Panera Bread does not want law-abiding gun owners to have the ability to protect themselves against a criminal life-threatening situation.
I know what a mass shooting looks like when the bad guys show up with guns in a business that does not/cannot allow its patrons to have firearms for self-defense – and I know what it looks like up close.
Around 20 years ago, while on patrol as a deputy sheriff, my partner and I responded to one of the deadliest shootings in Ohio history, which is remembered in police circles as the “Newport Inn Massacre.”
We responded by driving over 100 MPH when the call came over the radio. The call came in to back up the city police in Youngstown and we were in Canfield, Ohio, very close to the current location of the Panera Bread restaurant I “used” to frequent, but many miles from the Newport Inn Bar on the city’s south side.
A bunch of gang bangers decided that night to take a van and rob the bar, which was not far from them. They entered the bar with masks on and first demanded money from one of the patrons. When he stated that he did not have any money, they shot and killed him. Then, that same gunman and another gunman shot and killed an elderly man. Then they shot a woman. Another man was also shot and killed while sitting at the bar. From what I remember, he was a Desert Storm Army vet. Then, one of them approached the bar owner and shot him four times in the stomach – despite his wounds, he remained on his feet. The gunman screamed for the owner to turn over the bar money, and the owner gave it to him. The gunman screamed again at the bar owner that he did not turn over all of the money, and the owner remembered the pool league money, so he then turned that over. The gunman screamed yet again that there must be more money. The bar owner urged the gunman to be “cool” and the gunman responded by leveling a gun to his head. Although seriously wounded and in shock, the owner tried to grab for a gun, but was unable to fight back due to his wounds and collapsed. The gunman looked down at him and said something to the effect of, “You ain’t dead yet?!” Then he shot the owner again, this time in both legs.
(So much for modern-day, active-shooter company policies that state that employees are to do whatever the robbers or gunmen say – I wonder what the Panera Bread policy is.)
When we arrived, the “animals” had already fled and I immediately went through the front door to assist in clearing the location. The floor was covered in so much blood that I slipped, and if it weren’t for a bar stool, and for a juke box that the killers shoved against the front door in order to bar it, I would have fallen. It was the elderly man’s blood that I slipped on by the front door. The call then came out over the radio that the Youngstown city police were chasing the van, so my partner and I jumped in the car and headed in the direction given over the radio. When we arrived, the city police were pulling the murderers from the van. Later, one of them with handcuffs on and sitting in the back of a patrol car, began banging his head against the window and screaming at me to loosen the handcuffs – I won’t repeat what I said to him. It was a miracle that the bar owner survived, as did the woman but the other three male patrons were dead.
It was a few years before the Newport Inn Massacre in 1993, that I, along with Larry Pratt from Gun Owners of America, Second Amendment author David Kopel, Dr. Suzanne Gratia-Hupp (a survivor of the Luby’s Cafeteria massacre where patrons were not permitted to be armed) and others testified at the Ohio State House about the importance of having concealed carry in Ohio. Unfortunately, it would not be until 2004, that Ohio would get its concealed carry permit system.
Since Panera Bread has decided to jump on the anti-gun bandwagon, let’s look at one of the Panera Bread Company statements:
Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.
The absolutely ball-less, Peacenik/Hippy-type idiocy of the executive management of Panera Bread is astounding BUT at least they will allow off-duty police to protect THEIR families. To think that a criminal who wants to commit robbery or mass murder will obey a “no-gun” rule borders on mental illness. The Newport Inn had the all of the liquor law signs posted that carrying a firearm in the establishment was illegal; I guess the unfortunate gang banger youths did not have time to read it. Maybe these anti-firearm idiots would argue the gang banger youths did not have the proper role models. Oh, did I forget to mention that at least two of the five Newport Inn murderers had Youngstown city cops as fathers?! In the mid-1990s, it was common that some gang bangers had cops for dads in Youngstown. I don’t know if that is going on today.
I will ask my colleagues of over 30 years in the firearms industry as well as all gun owners out there to boycott Panera Bread restaurants. Sometimes, not being able to carry is unavoidable, like at a school function, government building/office, overseas, or away at a vacation spot – Panera Bread and many of these anti-gun stores and restaurants are not among those exceptions.
Remember the victims of the Newport Inn Massacre, one of whom was an Army vet, and think of them the next time you get a craving for Panera Bread or any other restaurant or store that does not want you to protect yourself, your family or others.
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Prepper & Shooter Magazine is a quarterly publication that covers all the topics vital to those interested in preparing for a variety of scenarios in which they would need to be self-reliant – such as natural or man-made disasters – in an assortment of product reviews, expert columnist pieces, interviews, instructional pieces and feature stories. The magazine, which is published by The Third Page Publishing Inc., is priced at $7.95 per issue and is available on newsstands and from the publisher. For additional information, visit the publication’s website at www.prepperandshootermagazine.com.