Monday, August 31, 2009

Was this manipulative?

This is my third "Dealing with the Public" post this evening. I had several memories tonight and wanted to get them down just for you, kind reader.

Setting: I was a "Management Assistant" at Enterprise on Covington Pike in Memphis. This would have been spring 2000. I was actually at a point where I would be promoted soon, so I was getting the hang of the rental business at this point.

Now let me tell you a few things that will help you understand this story. First, many people in Memphis had an "entitlement" mentality. They felt they deserved something for free. Working in the car rental industry in Memphis was very taxing on a person's mind for this reason. I had fewer renters like this in 18 months of rental in the Nashville area than I dealt with in a week in Memphis.

When dealing with car rental operations, renters with that "entitlement mentality" often requested/demanded/expected things to be different just for them. Many people would ask why they had to show me their drivers license when it was the dealership or insurance company paying for the car. They said, many times "you're renting the car to them, why do I have to show you my license?"

In all fairness, these other companies were paying for a rental car. But law says responsibility for all things, including payment, ultimately falls on the shoulders of the individual who signs for the car. That's contract law for you.

These same people would challenge every bit of information we would ask for (which was limited to seeing their license, verifying the address was correct, two contact phone numbers, and asking who their insurance was with, as well as whether there would be any additional drivers - such as a spouse). They would whine and complain that we were taking so long. They would refuse to provide the information (and get a shocked look when we would say "OK, may I help the next person in line, please?"), and generally make our lives a little more stressful.

Other renters would say "since they are paying for it, I want to get a Lincoln or Caddy!" Most places that pay for your rental car only approve payment of "basic transportation." How many times did I have to tell people that. Then they would expect me to give them the better car in a free upgrade!

OK - So back to the story.

I was at the point where I could tell in advance when a customer was going to be of the "entitlement mentality." If I picked them up from a repair shop, I made small talk on the way back, and the person would usually give some tell-tale signs of being that way. This day, I had one of those people!

He asked "how long will this take?" in a very condescending tone. This was the primary indicator of the "entitlement mentality."

I replied, with full blown sarcasm delivered in a straight face - "as long as you want it to, sir."

He asked "What is that supposed to mean?"

I told him, straight up, "You see, we have some people argue every step of the way, refuse to give me the information I need to rent you the car, and so on. You will see people back at the Branch office doing this. And you will see that it takes them forever to get their car. On the other hand, people who answer my questions can get a car in 90 seconds. So, as you see, it really just depends on you. I'd just as soon rent the car as fast as possible - because there will be more people there waiting in line and it will help me get to them faster."

Surprise of all surprises, he cooperated... as best he could.

At one point, he questioned why I was asking for his phone number. I responded, "90 seconds, sir.) I had the phone number immediately.

He got his car in 90 seconds.

More people...

OK, here is another one dealing with the public. Understand, I am neither bitter nor angry at these people I write about. I have long since forgotten any ill will I might have held against them. I use these memories as sources of humor.

And I know some of the people that follow this blog appreciate them.

So in this instance, you need to know some background. From this story, you can read that we had a body shop that occasionally tried to extort us. Never worked.

I made it a point never to "deliver" rental cars anywhere - that is to say that we always returned to the rental lobby for a brief moment to do paperwork and select a car. This also gave us a moment to advise all renters to return the car to the location. This way, there would never be a question about how long to charge the renter or their insurance company.

So one Friday afternoon, I am there at the lobby, checking some renters into cars for weekend specials, and returning cars from other renters. Most of the other employees were gone, filling an order that one of our large corporate clients had for that weekend. By large, I mean they needed about 30 cars that weekend. It was a bit more than they normally needed.

With limited resources, I had decided to run the counter as I knew where everybody was and could get a hand returning a renter to their car if need be within moments. I was the manager, so I would be there to handle any complaints or special requests - thus speeding up the process for the renters. And finally, I was the quickest person in the branch for doing rentals and returns as the assistant manager was directing the movement of cars to the corporate client, and all the other employees we had there were less than two months in.

As the end of the day unfolds, I realize I will need to take two renters back to differing repair shops to get their respective cars. One renter wants to drop her car at the shop that liked to try to extort us from time to time. Of course, I knew the manager had told her to drop it there and we had told her not to do so.

This renter was really flustered. She could not fathom how she was going to get back to her car. All the while, I was assuring her (over the phone) that either myself or one of my employees would drive her the two miles over to the other shop. She kept insisting that time was of the essence. I assured her that there would be no problem, and she would have the peace of mind knowing she would not get accidentally overbilled or have to pay for damages caused by someone else.

Well, she gets there to return the car, just as I am returning another renter's car. She loudly proclaims she is there and needs to be served immediately. I look up from dealing with the first man who was right in front of me, saw the second man, who I knew needed to rent a car, and advised her that I would get with every renter in the order that they were in line.

30 seconds and I had processed the return of the first man. I asked him politely if he minded waiting less than five minutes for me to wrap up with the other clients, and then I would give him a ride back to the repair shop. He obliged.

And Ms. Insistent piped up: "Oh, no you won't give him a ride. You promised to give me a ride to my repair shop!"

I began renting a car to the next man in line as people all over the lobby shot looks in her direction. Let me tell you, there were people from the body shop our agency was located in looking at her, as well as some of their customers, not to mention the other renters (the one who had just returned his car as well as the one who was renting at the moment). Everybody looked in the direction of this pushy woman. Then they looked at me, kinda wondering how I might respond.

I looked up, all the while typing the second renter's information into the computer, and said,"Ma'am, I figured since he was going to a shop in the same direction that I would take the two of you at once. It will save both of you time, save me time, and it will be the more 'environmentally friendly' choice."

"I should have just dropped the car off at the repair shop, like that manager said." She retorted.

I smiled and kept at renting the man the car before I dealt with her directly, saying "Mr. Smith here will have his rental car in thirty more seconds. I am terribly sorry if thirty additional seconds will ruin all your plans this evening."


Ms. Insistent hushed real quick with all eyes on her.

As promised, in 30 seconds, "Mr. Smith" (I don't remember his real name) had his car and I began the 60-second check in process on Ms. Insistent's car. She grumbled under her breath a few more times, but every time I would say "I beg your pardon?" She would immediately shut her mouth.

Oh, And she got the repair shop (yes, I drove her and the other fellow, too) and actually said "I'm here faster than I thought I would be!"

The other fellow and I had a good laugh at her as I drove him to his repair shop.

Some people...

I did not know whether to tag this as a repo story, or as a dealing with the public story, so this one is both. Now, I must admit it was not a repo, exactly. In fact, it was just a time when a car that was rented had been dropped off at a repair shop.

Side note:
Folks, I strongly advise you to never leave a rental car anywhere, even if the rental company says it's OK. I have witnessed firsthand all sorts of bad things happen to customers who did this. I would say you have a better than 1 in 5 chance of having the car damaged before the rental agency gets it back, or being way overcharged for your rental.
Side note off.

Often, and for various reasons, body shop managers would tell people to just leave the rental car there at the body shop. This was poor advice. Well, we had a renter do just that. Good news was she called us (5 minutes before close) to tell us what she had just done.

Since there was no way we could get that car then, I told her we would get it tomorrow and I advised that though I would not charge her, she would be responsible for any damages done prior to me retrieving the car. Surprisingly, she was OK with this.

The next day arrives and I get an unusual call at around 9 am - which just so happened to be right before I was planning to hop into a car and pick up the dropped car.

I fielded the call and was told, by a man I know as the assistant manager of the shop where the car has been dropped, that the car was there. Only there was a twist.

Seems he thought I was stupid. He stated that the car has been there for weeks and the storage bill was mounting up.

Oh, really?

He stated we would need to bring $500 for the storage fees to get the car.

I asked when the car was returned, and he replied he did not know exactly when, but it had been over three weeks ago.

I asked why we were never called before now, and he said that by law he did not have to notify us for 21 days. This was not exactly true - the law states that a "stored car's" owner must be notified within the first ten days for any storage and other fees to be legal. To prevent just this type of situation from happening.

I advised the man that there was no way what he was claiming was true, as I had spoken with the renter less than 18 hours prior and she had not even had the car a week at that point.

His words turned into a stumbling mess.

I drove down there, advised the manager of what this man had done. I also advised the manager that what the assistant manager had done was doing could be interpreted as violating several laws. He said he would look into it.

I told him not to have customers drop off the cars there. Because with them running a legal storage lot, that could look like a conflict of interest - or a scam.

Oh, and you should have seen the look on the assistant manager's face when I showed him a copy of the signed rental agreement, from seven days prior, as he was telling me that the car had been there three weeks. Priceless.

Oh, and this story is a good read to prep you for the next one I will post.

Things Martial Artists Want you to know

Much like the prior thread:

1. We really, really enjoy Martial Arts. As a consequence, even when we know better, we will talk to you about Martial Arts. Just like someone interested in Photography, or Golf, or a Television Show. Please don’t take it as a threat to your ego. We are not challenging you in any way. Just smile and nod like you do to everyone else’s boring stories about interests you don’t have.

2. Also, please don’t take this as an opportunity to spout out "That’s why I carry a 9mm in my car at all times!" We are perfectly aware that Martial Arts training will not stop a bullet. Are you aware that we are currently between you and your car, and our Martial Arts knowledge is not locked in the glove compartment?

3. While we are on that note, nothing it our code of conduct prevents us from owning firearms, either.

4. No, I don’t have to register my hands with the police. No state law says "black belt = deadly weapon".

5. Also, there really isn’t a technique we call "Judo Chop", and asking us to demonstrate it ceased being funny about a week after the first Austin Powers movie.

6. Before you ask, no, I probably could not beat Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, Steven Segal, Matt Hughes, Royce Gracie, Jet Li, Mike Tyson or Jackie Chan. Safety Tip: Please note that your name is not on this list.

7. While I am at it, I’m sure that your "friend" who is a Navy Seal, 15th Degree Black Belt in seven different Martial Arts, former top secret agent and 6 time state high school wrestling champ would be pretty formidable as well. Of course, in that regard, Harry Potter and Obi Wan Kenobi are equally as formidable and non-existent. (Hint. Just say they were a Navy Seal and leave it at that. Those guys are plenty tough).

8. If someone tells you they practice a martial art that is so secret and so deadly it is banned by the government, illegal to show to anyone, can’t be demonstrated without killing you, etc. be sure to inquire about their ocean view property in Kansas.

9. Yes, I could probably break a cinder block with my hand or head, but I’d rather use a sledge hammer. Heck, I’d rather use your head.

10. I could probably take you down using just two fingers, but since I have all 10 of mine I’ll probably use them all.

11. If you ask me if I can beat you and your two buddies, I honestly don’t know. I might walk away, or your buddies might walk away. I guarantee you that YOU won’t walk away.

12. Yes, if I have been training long enough, I have been beaten. In fact, I have probably been knocked out by a woman, thrown down by a blind man, kicked in the head by a kid, or in some other way beaten by someone that does not compute through your macho thick skull. However, do you really think that improves YOUR chances?

13. When I invite you to come to my class, it is not a threat. It is an invitation to share something that I find very enjoyable with you. Consider it a compliment. (For further information, see number 1 above).

14. Yes, some people train in Martial Arts and do not become great fighters, and some people are great fighters with no martial arts training. However, no matter how good a fighter someone may be, Martial Arts training will make them a better fighter. It will probably make them a better person as well.

15. Also, even in Martial Arts, size does matter. In fact, athletic ability is pretty helpful in Martial Arts just like any physical activity. The starting Left Defensive End for an NFL Football Team is probably going to be a pretty tough fight, even if he hasn’t had any fight training.

16. A Black Belt in one Martial Art does not mean the same thing as a Black belt in other Martial Arts. In many Karate or Tae Kwon Do schools, a Black Belt represents about 2-3 years of training, and can be achieved at age 10 or even younger. In most Judo or Jujitsu schools, a Black Belt may take 7-10 years, and most do not award these ranks to those under 18. If you really want to find out how much experience someone has, ask them how long they have been training.

17. No Martial Art is perfect. Some are better at a distance, some are better close, and some are better versus multiple opponents. Those that try to cover every aspect tend to have much less depth of technique. For example, I would be a lot less worried about the guy who had a year of Jujitsu, a year of Tae Kwon Do and a year of Shotokan than I would about the guy who had three years of any one of these.

18. The reason that I can avoid, block and/or take these strikes, take downs and other attacks so easily is not because of some ancient, mystical secret passed down by a monastic order at the top of a mountain somewhere. It’s because I have been doing this for twenty years.

19. What is the secret of the Martial Arts? Dr. Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, said it best: "Never Miss Practice!"

Things I've learned while shooting.

These can be things I have learned directly, taught others, or I have seen others learn (before I made the same mistake).

1. A pistol is a pistol and a rifle is a rifle.

2. I don't care what you've heard about shotguns, you still have to aim them.

3. It is cool to catch brass as it is ejected from the gun... but you'll only do it once.

4. Ladies with low cut shirts find out about #3 in places they wish they didn't!

5. When shooting a semi-automatic pistol, one does not wrap one's weak-side thumb over one's wrist.

6. Shooting without hearing protection can hurt.

7. Cleaning up after you have shot is very polite.

8. Pointing a gun at someone will not make the two of you friends.

9. I don't care about caliber debates - I prefer not to get shot with any gun, thank you.

10. The difference between shooting and chess:
Everybody claims to be a decent shooter, but they rarely get out and shoot.
Everybody plays chess, but nobody claims to be an expert.

11. Be wary of the person who says "they shoot a little, but I'm not that good." Same goes for chess players.

12. Shooting is the all-American martial art. There are no belts, few titles, and an armed American can beat an unarmed martial artist of any style any time of day or night!

13. I have never seen a gun go off that was handled properly (ie - as if it were loaded) and where the handler kept his finger off the trigger.

14. Don't drop your gun.

15. Don't reach for your dropped gun until after it lands.

16. Scopes and high-dollar ammo, and high-priced rifles can help accuracy... about 1%. The other 99% is how much you shoot and how much you learn from it.

17. People at gun shops are there to sell you a gun, FIRST. They are not necessarily experts.

18. Some Range Safety Officers (RSO's) think they know much more than they really do know.

19. Persons who have never shot before should still listen to RSO's.

20. Family members will listen to you help them, then completely ignore your suggestions. After that, an RSO can tell them the same thing and they never forget it for life.

21. People who like to shoot are just like everybody else that likes to do something. They will talk to you about it. They will invite you to shoot. They will act just like people who like to go bowling, or like photography, or anything else. Please don't take this as a threat to your ego. We are not challenging you in any way. Just smile and nod like you do to other people who have interests you don't personally care for.

Why do I carry?

A number of people have asked me why I carry. Here a few reasons, in no particular order:

1. Self defense.
I have a black belt in 3 martial arts. I am 6'3" and about 275 pounds. There are few people in this world that I cannot handle 1 on 1. Most are professional fighters. However, throw into the mix the fact that I have a wife and two kids. Add to it that most predatory criminals travel in packs and bring weapons. Now we see that all that training is compromised when there are multiple armed opponents.
Enter my self defense tool - a GLOCK model 22 - and those "advantages" a bad guy (or guys) may have are reduced significantly.

2. Police.
Police have no direct duty to defend you (Supreme Court, 2005 - Castle Rock vs. Gonzalez). They are there to clean up after the fact and gather information for some detective work. Even when they do decide to defend you, they are mere minutes away. As an experienced martial arts instructor, I know that most altercations are over in under 45 seconds. Even less when weapons are involved.

3. It is my right.
A right not exercised is a right lost.

4. It is my duty.
I do not style myself as some "Dirty Harry" wannabe, as many on the liberal side of the fence so often like to portray HCP holders. No, it is not that kind of duty. It is the duty that I feel compelled to protect those that need protection. I will not ever one day look back and say to myself "I wish I had been better prepared."

5. It is the right thing to do.
An armed society is a polite society. I have never been more alive, awake, and aware as when I carry. I am polite to all. I am much more aware of my surroundings.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I am in favor of Gun Control

Yes, I must admit it on this blog. I am in favor of gun control.

You see, gun control is absolutely essential. It is a must have.

Now I see many of you asking if I left my brain at home, or if someone hijacked my blog. I can assure you, this is Usagi speaking and I am completely in favor of gun control.

I define gun control as the ability to accurately hit one's target.

Friday, August 28, 2009

As much as I dislike our "nanny state..."

The UK has got it worse.

It seems that glass mugs were outlawed in Great Britain due to the fact that about 5500 people per year were assaulted with them.

***Insert gun-nut humor here***
I wonder if "high capacity mugs" were banned, as well?
What about glass mugs with "pistol grips?"
Do they even make glass mugs with bayonet attachments or folding stocks?
***end of gun-nut humor***

Bet they never thought about the fact that now people would use the plastic mugs as weapons, and those would hurt just as much.

"No Guns" sign does not work

This establishment in Toledo has been robbed twice. However, it is a known location for posting a "no guns" type of sign.

***sarcasm alert***
Why won't the bad guys obey the sign? I don't get it!
***sarcasm off***

In reality, posting such a sign is a way to let criminals such as these know that this is a danger-free working environment for them. They know that the chances of meeting an armed civilian is slim-to-none - and "slim" just called in sick!

To all of those people out there that think we need more gun laws and more strict gun laws, I say this. The criminals could not agree with you more!


In several previous posts, there were errors with regards to whether citizens on WI can legally carry firearms.

To make it clear: in WI, people can open carry - but LEO's can arrest them for disturbing the peace. WI has no provision for concealed carry.

All posts have been corrected.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some people just don't get it

So I was talking this week with someone about... what else... guns. He made two statements that made me do a double take.

First he said that although he was OK with the "guns in bars" law, he felt it should not have passed because the majority of Tennesseans were against it. He added that he has never heard of there being an armed robbery in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol.

To that I respond:
Nikki Gozer would disagree. Her husband was murdered just outside of a restaurant that served alcohol. Nikki has her HCP and could have acted in self defense. She is convinced she could have saved her husband. FYI - the guy that shot her husband was not carrying legally.

Second comment the man made was in regards to "guns in parks." He said he did not approve, stating, "what if there is a disagreement and the carry-holder pulls out the gun and shoots?"

To that I respond:
How asinine. HCP holders are people and that could possibly happen - but I venture it would probably happen anyways and someone that would act like irresponsibly, permit or not.
A better question would be: "what if there was an argument that turned violent and the HCP holder could protect the innocent?"

But, then, we can't have things like facts get in the way of our feelings. I must say, the most disturbing thing was this man claimed to own several guns. But, no surprise to me, his business was posted.

And no, I did not carry into his establishment. And no, it was no bar or restaurant. I was there strictly on business as my employer requires me to visit him and a few others like him from time to time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unfortunate story

This story has its points of irony and sadness. For some reason, I cannot help but laugh a little.

You see, an executive of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) accidentally locked her dog in the car for half a day. The poor animal died from the heat.

I wonder if the SPCA is going to protest her? Or even do anything to her? Perhaps they will get a big dose of "it's unfortunate, but it does accidentally happen from time to time." In this case, I do not think there should be a criminal punishment.

So why do I laugh at this? Only because that must put the organization as a whole in a really tough spot.

Verbal Smackdown

This clip is the single best verbal smackdown I've seen. A Marine tells his Congressman like it is.

You have probably seen this on most other conservative media outlets, but I thought I'd add it here, too as the man makes many good points.

Thoughts on Good Sales Jobs

Recently, I was asked by a relative to help prep her to get a good sales job. We discussed many difficulties she was seeing in the job market. I gave a verbal smackdown to nearly half of the ads I saw, once we read through them, and she interviewed with them, and we found out what they were really about.

I thought I would compile a list of warning signs for potential jobs in sales:

Red Flag 1:
The company frequently uses the word "Potential"

Fact is, my wife cannot buy shoes with "potential."
It is my experience that companies offer "potential" instead of "money."
Sadly, it is very common that the "potential" doesn't really exist, either.

Red Flag 2:
The operation is known to "churn & burn"

It is well known that keeping employees is far more cost-productive. However, some companies are so short-sighted, that they recycle the low level employees frequently so that they can keep pay low.

Red Flag 3:
The company changes base pay.

Some companies offer a higher base for a while, then reduce it. Why?
If they can offer it for a while, then they can certainly afford it.

What this indicates is that the company is willing to screw people over on pay. This is never a good sign.

Red Flag 4:
The company has a very complex commission plan.

Companies do this so they can have an excuse to get out of paying commissions.
In my experience, this is no different than Red Flag 3, because it's just another way for the company to cheat the salesman out of money due.

Red Flag 5:
The company wants you to prove yourself for a trial period. 

Companies that do this either do not trust their product, or their hiring methods, or both.

Red Flag 6:
Company uses the phrase "potential to earn $xx,xxxx"

Here's how to read this:
1. Base + commission:
Take the lower of the "potential" earnings listed, and multiply by 80% to get realistic payout.
Take the realistic payout and multiply by 2/3 to get an approximate base pay, if there is a base pay.

2. Commission only
If it is a commission-only position, it is safe to assume that total realistic pay is 1/2 to 2/3 of the amount stated, if you are a good salesman.

Example of #1:
Suppose they say "potential to earn $65,000 per year."
Take $65K, and multiply by 80%
The result is $52K. This is your realistic maximum, if you are an excellent salesman.

Now, take the result - $52K in this example, and multiply by 2/3.
This yields the likely base pay (if any). In this example, it is about $35K.
Now, move that into a logical range - say $30K - $40K, and that is likely the base pay range.

Generally, it is very rare that a company will have a compensation structure such that the employee can double the base pay. As in, so rare, I can name the handful of exceptions. No, you probably are not talking about one of them.

Red Flag 7:
Company uses a recruiter to find you, then rejects you, then contacts you after a time. 

Recruiters generally have a 6-month or 1-year term under which if they find you, they are to be paid a fee if the company hires you. This is designed to prevent just this red flag. What often happens with unscrupulous companies is that they will wait until after the  6-months or 1-year, and then contact you so they don't have to pay the recruiter's fee.

This is highly unethical. 

If the company is lacking in ethics in this side of things, what other sides are they unethical in?

Verbal Smackdown

This clip is the single best verbal smackdown I've seen. A Marine tells his Congressman like it is.

You have probably seen this on most other conservative media outlets, but I thought I'd add it here, too as the man makes many good points.

Verbal Smackdown

This clip is the single best verbal smackdown I've seen. A Marine tells his Congressman like it is.

You have probably seen this on most other conservative media outlets, but I thought I'd add it here, too as the man makes many good points.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Black Belts in Martial Arts

Let me talk a moment about another pet peeve I have in the martial arts. High ranking Black Belts. I feel not everybody will deserve one. But I feel they should have a component of being achievable by outstanding individuals.

The organization I have been appointed President of seems to hand out 9th and 10th Dan pretty regularly to just about anybody over the age of 50 in the martial arts. I do not like this in my organization or in others.

I feel there should be one of the following criteria for attaining high ranks: service to the art, ability, and longevity. The last component, longevity within the art, I feel is a pre-requisite. I do not feel there should be a 9th or 10th Dan who has been in the arts for less than 40 years or so. Maybe longer.

For persons who have enough time in the art, not all should get to the highest levels. I think these highest levels should be reserved for those showing outstanding ability, or outstanding service to the art.

For example, if one has had many competitive victories, or multiple tournament wins and national or international success, then this is someone who has outstanding ability. Likewise, coaches and teachers who consistently train champions should be deserving.

As an example with regards to service to the art, someone who makes the art more well known should qualify. Someone who makes other significant contributions allowing for the growth, expansion, or advancement of the art should also be eligible.

As an example, Chuck Norris. He was extremely successful in tournament competition. He has longevity. Additionally, he has made karate famous the world over due to his film work. This is a man deserving a 9th and 10th Dan.

On the flip side, Jimmy Pedro. He has had a tremendous record in tournament Judo. However, he is still in his 40's, so he does not yet have the longevity. However, in his 50's and 60's he should be a lock for 9th and, later, 10th Dan.

More on Belts in Martial Arts

Overall, I would say I am a traditionalist. That being said, let me clarify some things - specifically in my opinion, when traditions are better and when they are not with respect to the martial arts.

Originally, the concept of the black belt was developed by Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, in the early 1900's. He wanted a quick reference guide to tell between new persons and experienced persons. Being an educator, he borrowed the idea from Japanese swim teams, who divided contestants in a similar manner.

So, in the beginning, there was a white belt (novice) and a black belt (experienced). There was never any concept of mastery deemed to the black belts. They simply knew the basics and could be given more detailed instruction.

Later, more belts were added. Then, kyu (under black belt) and Dan (black belt) ranks were added and the belt ranks matched up to the kyu/Dan system. Higher Dan ranks indicated degrees of mastery in the art. Colored belts for different Kyu ranks increased participation and personl levels of feelings of acheivement.

These days many things have changed. A black belt does not always mean somebody well versed in the basics. Sometimes, in some arts, a black belt means so much more. I see problems with both schools of thought.

To sum up, I feel a black belt is originally intended to be about the same as a bachelor's degree. Not entirely new to the art, but not a great expert, either.

Some arts - many taekwondo and karate schoold to be specific - have members that reach black belt while still young (grade school and sometimes younger), or in less than a couple of years with great regularity. Obviously, the drawback here is financially motivated - the idea of "selling belts." This is a disservice to the idea of the black belt.

Some arts - Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and Aikido to be specific - have strict guidelines and folks rarely obtain black belt in less than 10 years. In BJJ (Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu), students rarely get a black belt until or unless they are a world-class athlete. Obviously the drawback here is financially motivated - keep students paying longer and say that they are getting "better than others" when in reality one is "selling ability." This is a disservice to the idea of a black belt.

My feeling - a black belt should take about 3-5 years of dedicated study. It should have a component of minimum time in the art, a minimum amount of knowledge, and some proficiency. None of the three parts is less important than the others. None of the three parts is more important than the others.

Now - higher ranking black belts? That will be a different post!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh, boy.

Those that know me well also know that I was appointed President of a Martial Arts Organization about three years ago. Over the past couple of days, a widespread email was sent out, linking to an article about the topic of McDojo's. And today, one instructor, whose operation might be viewed by some as being a McDojo, lashed out at the article.

A McDojo is a place where anybody with cash may purchase whatever combo they want, including black belt. It is martial arts schools like this that give the entire industry a bad name.

Make no mistake, there are several reasons people practice the martial arts - self-defense, health & fitness, fun, sport, etc. The problem is too many folks have a studio that has its focus, then sell prospective students on these other benefits without providing them.

For example, sport Taekwondo, which my son takes, is very good for fun and sport. There are some self defense aspcts to it, but a seasoned fighter will easily beat most sport taekwondo folks in a real altercation. My son's instructor makes no bones about it, he teaches an Olympic sport first and foremost. More instructors should be like this.

Now if you will excuse me, I must go send some emails and try to unhurt some feelings...

Unlikely shot

In a story that proves shot placement is everything, a college student in Washington State killed a 200 pound cougar at 100 yards with a broken .22 rifle.

Those "in the know" will often suggest that a .223 (same caliber as is used by the US Military) is inadequate against game that large. The .223 is the same diameter, twice the weight, and travels about three times the speed of the lowly .22 LR cartridge.

This time David beats Goliath. And does so while proving something my dad taught me long ago - what size gun you use is important, but it is most important where you shoot.

Modern Discrimination

I think all level-headed people agree that in most places, racial discrimination is nearly extinct. In a few places, it is on its last leg. So is gender-based discrimination as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But there is one more area we as a society need work, according to this article. We, as a country, tend to discriminate based on obesity.

Normally I do not agree with things written or aired on MSNBC. They get a bunch of stuff wrong. But, just like a broken clock (which has the right time twice a day!), MSNBC can get things right, too.

I really would like to see your comments on this topic. I know, as a fat man, I have been discriminated against based on my size. Unlike some other groups, I never let that get me down or become a focal point. Instead, I simply found work elsewhere or otherwise made things go the way I wanted them to go.

No more need to study!

Memphis schools have decided to institute a "no-fail" policy.

Let me make sure I got this straight - we take one of the poorest performing school systems in the nation, and institute a policy that will guarantee worse results. Not a smart move.

With such a policy, teachers will be de-motivated to teach, and students will be de-motivated to learn. You see, the only guaranteed, tied-and-true method for obtaining results when trying to motivate human beings is a "risk / reward" structure.

Reward what you want.
Punish what you don't want.

It really is that simple.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great Day!

Today, I got to watch my brother-in-law get married.

Beautiful wedding, beautiful bride, great food, excellent singing entertainment at the reception.

And the people at the tux rental place didn't even freak out when I open-carried into their store!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A mind changed

Last night, my wife and I dined out on our last night this week without the kids (the kids are at Mrs. Usagi's parents' house this week).

At the end of dinner, I asked our waitress - who had indicated earlier in the evening that she had been a server for several years - what she thought about "the whole guns in bars thing." The response was fascinating.

She said she felt guns and alcohol do not mix - and I agree.
She said she wished there was some sort of control put on it.
She said she wished restaurant workers and owners had been granted a vote in the matter.
She said that it would "freak her out." (please note, at this point, I decided not to show her my GLOCK).
She said that she wished she knew who was carrying, so she could "choose not to serve them alcohol." Much like they will "cut off" a drunk who has had too much that night.

After all of this, I told her "I was going to suggest some changes to the law," and I asked her opinion on my proposed changes. These are the "changes" I proposed to her:
- Require only Handgun Carry Permit holders be allowed to carry.
- To get a permit, the holder must submit to a criminal background check.
- Also to get a permit, a person must show themselves proficient with a pistol.
- The HCP holder would not be allowed to drink while carrying.
- Any business that still did not want HCP holders to carry could put up a sign that carried the weight of law.

She agreed to these conditions, and said that would be a good idea! I politely informed her that despite the media's attempts to portray it otherwise, that's exactly how the law is now.

Our server turned to me, surprised, and made a statement that to me at the time made sense, though I don't fully agree with the principle. She said she wished then that HCP holders had to open-carry so servers would know whom not to serve alcohol to. Pretty slick thinking on the spot for someone who admits she has never seen a real gun.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

FOX Sports gets it dead wrong.

This article by Alex Marvez is an absolute disgrace. Mr. Marvez obviously takes his anti-gun sentiment too far in condemning Plaxico Burress - who just got two years in jail for violating New York's gun laws.

I never advocate anybody violate any law, but it seems the city of New York has done so. How, you ask? Thanks for asking!

"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
- Second Amendment, US Constitution.

Notice the Constitution does not apply this law only to the Federal government, but as an all-encompassing law: "... the right of the people... shall not be infringed."

I think this law in New York is unconstitutional. I think the article referenced at the top is atrocious. And I think anybody reading this blog knew I was going to say so.

MSNBC Gets it dead wrong

I know, it is not at all unusual for MSNBC to get a "news report" wrong. They slant everything to the far left or otherwise to meet their agenda.

This time, it has to do with Obama protesters that open-carried their guns. MSNBC tries to portray these protesters as racist and white.

Their problem? This time, they edit the footage of a black man who open-carried the Ar-15. One can only presume they do this to try to give the indication that the man is white so they can rant about the race card - which is absolutely not why so many Americans disagree with Mr. Obama.

Here's the footage.

And here is a link to a more unbiased clip showing Chris carrying his AR-15 and GLOCK. Whatever the consensus, I think we can all agree Chris does not sound racist and is certainly not white.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tennessee goes national

Well, it was bound to happen. The mainstream media picked up on Tennessee's new law that brings us up to date with 41 other states, and allows for Handgun Carry Permit Holders to carry into establishments that serve alcohol, provided they do not drink.

Here is the ABC clip.

I dislike the title, but if it bleeds, it leads!

Charles Gibson messes up and says that "Licensed Gun Owners" may carry concealed.
- Tennessee does not license guns, nor owners.
- We may also open-carry, if we want.

Randy Rayburn, Nashville restaurant owner, argues that it allows for 1-2% of the HCP population to misbehave with their weapons.
- I argue that these folks would do that anyways, permit or not. But what the law allows is the rest of us law-abiding citizens, to protect our families and friends.

ABC does as good a job as it can of showing both sides (not nearly enough, though) and has points made by a gun range owner and a woman whose husband was murdered in a restaurant that serves alcohol by a man that illegally carried a gun (no permit, of course) into the restaurant. The woman had a HCP, but had to leave her weapon in the car because of our old (now defunct, thank God!), archaic law.

They also miss the point entirely that a HCP owner may not drink while carrying. Conveniently (or ignorantly?) left out.

To sum up:
- Liberals still wring their hands and wet their pants at the sight of a gun.
- Some liberals like to say they are gun owners, but what they do is very anti-2nd amendment.
- Even the liberal media can occasionally feign an amount of fairness in a report.
- 42 states have laws like ours. 2 states do not allow any carry. 6 states have archaic laws.
- The fight to keep our freedoms - all of them - is a continuous fight. It is the good fight.

The 2nd amendment is not about sport shooting, hunting, or self defense; though those are all protected under it. The 2nd amendment is about the ability to remove a tyrannical government. It is, therefore, the amendment most feared by tyrants. If a legislator/politician/judge/tyrant will disregard this right, what other rights will they disregard?

Open Carry 2

We are month since I open-carried at Red Robin. I got the urge to once more try to open carry. Again, I just wanted to judge people's reactions. So, with the wife in tow, and fully aware of my intentions, off we went to do some errands.

First stop - Wal-Mart. There were perhaps 300-500 people in the whole of the store. It just so happened that the merchandise I needed to purchase was located all over. So we went all over, picking things up here and there.

I actually paid for the merchandise at the guns & ammo counter. They had a pretty good price on a box of 550 rounds of .22 LR. The clerk at the counter made some small talk of being raised around guns immediately after looking at my hip.

Other than that, NOBODY noticed. It was actually almost disappointing. But I came to the following conclusion:
Those that would care that I am open-carrying a firearm rarely notice.
Those that would notice the firearm rarely care enough to make a scene.

I will report back with more information, once gathered.

Open Carry 1

If you had asked me a year ago, I might have said I do not favor open-carrying my pistol, opting instead to concealed-carry for the element of surprise against a "bad-guy."

After the Blockbuster incident, I got to thinking. My mind tried to wrap itself around that series of events. And I wondered if things would always be that way - having people always notice and go run in fear.

So, being the "scientist" I am, I decided to conduct an experiment. I informed the wife that I intended to try an open carry one night when we went, with the kids, to eat at Red Robin. This was about two weeks after the law was changed here in TN to allow me to do so. The restaurant had no sign, so in we went.

I chickened out of openly carrying as we entered. I kept my pistol covered under my shirt and in its holster. However, I moved my shirt once we sat. My wife noticed one person she thought had seen it. That person did nothing.

One server, not ours, noticed. He made sure to walk by as much as possible. The wife and I decided that he was intrigued by the gun itself. He was a young man, no more than 23 years old at most.

Our server never noticed. I sat on the end, with my gun side out. But she was hustling around here and there, doing her job.

The manager noticed. He "staked me out" for a few moments. Then he realized that a family dad with two young children was not his biggest threat this evening.

All in all, in a restaurant with over 150 people present, only four noticed. Nobody went haywire. Contrary to what Tennessee liberals would have you believe, I never got the first urge to shoot the place up. All was fine.

Experiment complete.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dealing with failure

By now, we all know that President Obama and the Democratic leadership are following the game plans laid out in Saul Alinsky's book, "Rules for Radicals."

However, as the American public counters with knowledge and understanding of the lies they are being told, the far left responds, as I have stated before by the following mantra: 1) Lie, 2) Deny, 3) Make counter-accusations.

Some of the readers of this blog have asked me to elaborate on that mantra, as it seems so fitting. The reason for the request is because it can sometimes be difficult to determine which category the far-left response falls into.

I cannot go into too much detail, but this outline should provide enough framework for you to see how the far-left operates when confronted. That is the key, as Alinsky did not spend much time in how to respond to counter-attack, the left has fallen back to typical used-car-salesman approach to bad news.

So here is the outline of their game-plan:

1. LIE
A. Say the opposite of what you mean.
B. Rename things with a misleading title.

A. Attempt to place blame on others. It is preferable to place blame on opponents.
B. Say you did not really do something you really did. Refer to Rule #1 as a back-up.

A. Accuse others of what you yourself actually did. It is preferable to accuse opponents.
B. Use completely fabricated accusations. Try to avoid impossibilities.
C. Use verbal Hot Buttons in accusations to redirect the attention off of you.
i. Race card
ii. Socioeconomic differences
iii. Gender inequity
iv. any other perceived injustice or imbalance as needed.

Open Carry II

From this previous post, the man who open carried an AR15 to an anti-Obamacare rally has been interviewed. Youtube provides the video, which was posted this morning.

We still don't know much about him, except now we know his name is Chris. Chris is exceptionally bright - or seems so from these interviews. He speaks well publicly, and dresses sharp. I think this is how you should do things in protest. The man never gets out of control, but is certainly passionate about what he believes in. Overall I think he portrays his views in a good way. We need more people on our side that think and act the way he does.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Open Carry

OK, this guy has some guts... and I like it. The man in this story, whose name is not provided, open carried at an anti-Obama rally today in AZ.

What's more - he open carried an AR-15 and a Glock. Most people do not carry a rifle, but this guy does, which is completely legal in AZ. I wish it were here, too.

Now, if you are like me, and you enjoy seeing the media go bananas over something little like this, then you should watch this clip. Some CNN reporters are obviously uncomfortable with anyone open-carrying.

Another person is afraid

This story happened a few months ago. I was in Blockbuster, renting some movies at the time.

There was one other patron in the whole store, and I was aware (as I always am) that he is on the opposite side of the store. It was not long before I overheard him speaking in hushed tones to the worker behind the counter, who happened to be the same young lady as in this post.

I overhear the patron saying "that man over there has a gun on him!"

I checked my hip, and sure enough, my shirt had come up and been snagged behind my Glock in its holster, on my hip. Understand, though, that in Tennessee, it is legal to open carry or concealed carry - so long as one has a handgun carry permit. That's why we call it a "carry permit" rather than a "concealed carry permit," like some other states do.

I overhear more dialogue, back and forth as the male patron indicates my gun in its holster on my hip is making him uncomfortable.

Finally, the young lady behind the counter makes a suggestion: "how do you know he's not a cop or FBI?"

The man shrugs and takes that answer at face value. All the while, I am browsing movie titles.

Fast forward a few moments, the "evil" side of me takes over. This is the sarcastic Usagi. The "inyaface" Usagi. The Usagi I had all but trained out of me by age 27.

All but trained out of me.

I tucked my shirt in, all the way around. My Glock is now clearly exposed in its nice holster on my hip. I walk to the same section the man is browsing, and I start to browse - with my right (gun) hip facing the man as much as possible.

This whole time, he had thought I had not heard his conversation. He was wrong.

Finally, I stepped past him, while whispering so he could hear it plainly: "I am not Law Enforcement!"

I looked at a few more titles, made my final selection, and paid for my rentals.

The look on the man's face was a funny version of what I would call "shock and awe." I couldn't tell if it was more shocking that I had a gun and was not law enforcement, or that I had overheard his entire conversation.

Not afraid.

Another dealing with the public. This one was not funny as much as I did not expect the reaction I got.

I was in Blockbuster, renting a movie. When it came time to pay for the movies, the young lady behind the counter asked for my ID, to verify the account. I opened my wallet and flipped out the part that has my drivers license. However, what I did not know was that the most recent time I'd used my drivers license, I had put it back, under my handgun carry permit (which is also acceptable ID in Tennessee).

I realized this as I saw the ID. I braced for the worst.

"Oh," came the reply. "You are one of those people that makes me feel safe!"

I'm sure the look on my face was priceless as that was the LAST thing I expected to hear. We ended up talking guns for the better part of a half hour (there were no other patrons in the store at that time, save my son). Turns out the young lady was about to turn 21 at the time and fully intended to get her permit when she was of age.

Afraid, are you?

This happened to me over the weekend. I was going to eat at a restaurant with family. However, this restaurant, in light of our new law that allows me to carry in their place of business, has decided to post a sign saying essentially "no guns allowed."

Now, when posted in accordance to the law (TCA 39-17-1359), and this place was, the sign carries the weight of law. This means if I carry in there anyways, and am discovered, I could face a fine and jail time. Tennessee is one of only two states that give the sign weight of law (TX being the other).

So I march back out to my car, place my sidearm in the car, and go back in armed only with a business card. The card reads "no guns = no money" and explains the requirements to obtain a TN carry permit, as well as advising the owner/manager of the establishment that such a sign lets criminals know there are no armed patrons, and therefore, the establishment is providing the lawbreakers a safe working environment.

I hand the card to Hostess #1 and explain myself cordially, and with a smile on my face. I attempt to look as non-threatening as a man my size can look. Hostess #1 says she will go get the manager. Hostess #2 asks what this is about and Hostess #1 gives a brief explanation. Hostess #1 goes off to find the manager.

Hostess #2 gets the widest eyes I've ever seen on a living person!

Her stare is glued to me. It is a mixture of fear and awe and uncertainty. Her concentration is squarely on me. I only wished girls had ever oogled me like that before I got married!

Hostess #2, still fixated on me, sheepishly asks: "Do you have a gun on you now?"

I smile and advise her "no way, I do not break the law - that's how I got the permit in the first place. My holster is empty." I turned and showed her my empty holster on my belt, under my shirt.

Hostess #2 lets out a loud and distinct sigh of relief. She then proceeds to ask questions about carrying, and the like. I answer the questions as completely and honestly as possible, including why I will not eat there this evening - because I do not wish to sacrifice my ability to protect myself and my family.

After a few moments, the manager comes up and I explain myself in a non-confrontational manner. I've done this many times, at both restaurants (lately) and with other places of business. The manager indicates it is a corporate edict and I smile ans politely ask if she would forward my concern.

Manager obliges, and I turn and bid the three of them (hostess #1 returned with the manager) a pleasant evening and my sincerest wishes that bad guys would steer clear of them.

But I will always remember the look on the second hostess' face. Priceless!

Dealing with the Public

I have decided to start a new section of the blog, this one called "Dealing with the Public." I find humor in many things in life, and that will be the crux of the matter in this section.

Anybody who has dealt with the public understands one simple fact: about 90% of the population is normal or fairly normal. The other 10% (50% if you live in Memphis) can be quite entertaining.

This segment of society often has unrealistic expectations, a fantasy processor where their logic should be, anger control issues, a complete lack of understanding of how to behave in public, or any number of other "issues."

So look for more posts about dealing with the public in days and weeks to come. Give me feedback, and I'll relate stories from my actual experiences (or from your submitted experiences, too) that deal with the type of people we all have to endure.

"Assault" Weapons

There has been something that has been getting on my nerves, and now is time to address it. It has to do with nomenclature - specifically the use of the term "assault weapon."

By definition, an assault rifle is a rifle that is designed for combat and is capable of selective fire (capable of firing both fully automatic and semi-automatic).

However, recently (since 1994) the media has labeled certain weapons (most notably AK-47's and AR-15's) as being "semi-automatic assault weapons." This is asinine.

You can no more have a "semi-automatic assault weapon" than you can a fuel-injected carburetor. It's as impossible as having a bungalow style ranch house. These things cannot be. They must be one or the other.

So now you know...

But the question remains, why would the media try to demonize certain firearms? I have my suspicions...

Friday, August 14, 2009


Something just dawned on me. I was reviewing the news of NFL Quarterback Michael Vick and his signing with the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday when I realized something.

Vick was in jail for 18 months and suspended from the NFL for 2 years for his illegal dogfighting activities.

Meanwhile, NFL Wide receiver Donte Stallworth plead guilty to manslaughter for killing a man with his car while drunk-driving. His sentence? 30 days in jail and a one-year suspension form football.

Wait... did I read that correctly? Vick killed dogs and got two years prison and two years suspension. Stallworth killed a person and got 30 days prison and a one year suspension.

Since when is any dog's life worth more than any person? I just don't get this.

Lie, Deny, Make Counter Accusations

I was told by a former co-worker, several years ago, his simple formula for getting around questions he did not want to directly answer. You see, he had been a sales manager at a used-car dealership, and this method was apparently taught as a way around any verbal situation.

His advice? When asked a question, or put on the spot, follow this simple formula:

1. Lie.

2. Deny.

3. Make counter-accusations.


Sounds like what the democrats in Washington have been doing lately - particularly with regard to this health care bill.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Longest Repo

Time for another repo story. I cannot do a proper setting here, because this one was over a year in the making.

This started in the spring of 2000 - I was a Management Trainee at the time. A car was rented to a renter on an insurance claim.

Two months later, the car could not be found and the renter was unable to be reached. The insurance company had long since stopped paying as the renter's personal car was finished at the repair shop.

Shortly after this, I was promoted to another location and, due to the move, never learned what happened to that rental. I was waist deep in new repo's!

In April of 2001, I was promoted back to the Covington Pike location. I never checked on the status of that old rental because it was way past 90 days old (when contracts usually lapsed into thin air). And the car was not on the books anymore (corporate took cars off the books that were considered stolen, as this one was).

About a month later, when renting to a nice lady for a weekend special, she said something that struck me as odd. We were walking around the vehicle, checking for any pre-existing damage. She asked me:
"Do all of your rental cars have that little green 'E' on them?"

"Yes, ma'am, they do." I replied.

She went on to tell me she knew where a car was that we "might want back." This roused my curiosity. I got the details, to the extent she could provide them.

Later that day, I pulled up to this farm house in a rural area north of Memphis. I knocked on the door and asked the homeowner if there was a car in the barn out to the side of the house. The homeowner indicated that there was one that had been there for many months, and that he figured we might soon come looking for it.

We go out to the barn and I see the rental car from the repo attempt from last year. The car is in great shape. Of course, at the time, I did not have a key, so I wrote down the numbers (VIN & license plate) and returned to the branch. I made sure to get the property owner's permission to come back to get the car.

With the key in hand, I returned to the location. The car was wedged into this barn. There was maybe 6 inches clearance past the mirrors on each side. I could not get in the car through the doors. I don't think a small child could have.

Thinking the former renter had probably pushed the car in there, since the doors could not open enough in the barn, I tried pushing it out. No luck. Then I saw the gear selector was in "Park."

Finally, I had an idea. I opened the trunk, pushed the back seat down, and crawled through the car, up to the front seat.

Anybody who knows me is laughing at the thought of that picture - I am 6'3" and 275 pounds.

I start the car and pull out carefully.

The ride home was scary - the plates were naturally expired. The car had been reported on the hot sheet a year prior. If I got pulled over, I knew I'd get locked up for a little while. In anticipation of this, I had brounght my business cards, as well as my manager's business cards.

Nothing happened - we took the car to the local administrative offices. The car was sold, after being taken off the hot sheet.

And I had performed the longest repo I'd ever heard of. Of course, as soon as I had realized it was a repo situation, it had taken me less than one business day to get it back!

Media Lies

We all know the mainstream media lies to get their "points" across. Any rational adult can see this. I got to see it first hand back in the mid 1980's when my mom ran for a city council spot. That was a wake-up call for a young child at the time.

This guy actually points out a recent and blatant lie. Nice work!

Cliff's notes:
- Liberal media uses picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache to say what "right wing extremists" have been doing.
- Pictures are really from a Left-Wing group advocating an alternate socialized health care plan.

Obamacare situation I like...

At Obama's "Town Hall Meeting" in New Hampshire, there was one protester, William Kostric, who exercised his 2nd amendment right to open carry his sidearm to the protest line.

His sign stated "It's time for the tree of liberty to be watered." This is from Thomas Jefferson's quote.

The news guys covering the protest literally went berserk at the sight of his gun, despite Mr. Kostric's calm demeanor.

But wait, there's more...

Chris Mathews got an interview with Mr. Kostric. Very interesting. Chrissy gets his butt handed to him. Warning - Chris Matthews swears on this video.

Some of my favorite parts of the two videos:
- Video 1 - Reporter says the gun is a "registered weapon."
Problem - New Hampshire does not register weapons - they are a free state!

- Video 1 - Anchor says "I can't imagine that there aren't enough lawyers in New Hampshire to file some sort of emergency injunction..."
Really - an injunction against a constitutional amendment???

- Video 2 - Chris Matthews asked if the gun was loaded. The response was an instant classic! Mr. Kostric replies "Wow - who would be silly enough to carry an unloaded gun?"

Obama's case against Obamacare

Was this a gaffe? I think so.

Obama points out that UPS and Fed Ex (private companies) are doing fine, while it is the US Post Office (Government institution) that is "always having problems."

For the first time, I think ever, I must agree with you, Mr. Obama.

You see, it is the private companies that know how to stay afloat and turn a profit, because they must to survive. Government run bureaucracies fail, because they have no need to compete to win.

Fascinating Website

In my travels, I come across many strange and unusual things. Recently, I stumbled upon a website called "Guns and alcohol don't mix." While I agree with the statement, the website itself seems to be a liberal attempt to get back at the State of Tennessee for passing House Bill 0962, allowing for carry permit holders to legally carry in establishments that serve alcohol, provided the carry permit holder does not drink.

While I will not link to this website, it is a .org entity and seems to have fallen dormant since July 14. However, on the front page, it lists some "facts." It is these talking points I would like to publicly denounce and answer on this blog:

Let me first state that the law in TN does not provide for HCP holders to consume alcohol while carrying. The fact is that guns and alcohol DO NOT MIX. However, the new law does not try to mix them!

"1. Bars can be sites of confrontation, and the last thing we need is ready access to firearms."
Usagi's answer:
Because bars can be sites of confrontation, legal carriers of firearms should be allowed to defend themselves and their loved ones.
Besides, this bill was not really about bars, it was about restaurants that serve alcohol.

"2. Fewer Guns Means Fewer Accidents."
Usagi's answer:
Show me any proof that handgun carry permit holders have more accidents per capita than the rest of the public. In fact, I'd like someone to try to prove that law enforcement officers have a lower accident rate (here's a hint - they don't!). So this argument does not work at all.

"3. When firearms are allowed, bars' and restaurants' liability insurance skyrockets, leading to higher prices for food and beverages."
Usagi's answer:
This has not been the case in the other 41 states that provide for the legal carrying of firearms in establishments that serve alcohol. The key contributing factor is this:
a) Legal carriers of firearms are not allowed by law to drink while in possession of the firearm.
b) The establishment may opt to have handguns banned as per TCA 39-17-1359.
As a marketing rep for an insurance company, this is something I know about.

"4. Misguided Lawmakers Make an Uninformed Decision."
Usagi's answer:
Even the liberal states of California and New York allow their concealed carry permit holders to carry in alcohol serving establishments, provided they do not drink. 42 states out of 48 that permit carrying of firearms by citizens have the same or similar laws. So our lawmakers were misguided by joining the majority? Give me a break!

So far, they only have 61 signatures on their website, and but 5900 friends on Facebook. I suppose there will always be that many ignorant people at any given time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Guns in Bars" - 1 month later

So it has been almost a month since the inception of Tennessee's "Guns in Bars" law - which should really be called guns in ordinary restaurants (but then, where is the shock value in that?).

How many people have been involved in shootouts?

How many crimes have been committed in bars or restaurants by Handgun Carry Permit holders?


Phil Valentine writes a great article on this fact.


This man speaks the truth about the direction of Government.

For once, I'll let the video do most of the talking. However, I really like the part when he calls Mr. Obama the "long legged mack daddy." funniest thing I've heard all year!

Funny Self Defense

Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch (a Firearms training facility), has been quoted as saying that he has never met a person who has been in a gunfight that said afterward they wished they had a smaller gun.

This robber didn't get that memo.

Kinda reminds me of of the scene in Crocodile Dundee when Mick gets attacked and says, "That's not a knife... this is a knife!"

Does anybody want Obamacare?


Anybody out there want the socialized healthcare?

The mainstream media is not reporting what is happening at these town-hall meetings. Because the American people are taking their country back. Fox is reporting on it a bit. I have yet to find a single person I've talked to that wants the Obamacare plan.

I have a co-worker who is a legal immigrant from Canada. Part of the reason she left was the healthcare debacle that is their socialized system.

But, Obama and his minion still seem to want to push this through. I really hope they don't.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More people don't like Obamacare

Glenn Beck has an article out detailing many run-ins between citizens and lawmakers at town-hall type events. There are many Youtube clips linked on the article, detailing people's frustration with the attempts to pass the health care overhaul.

I have two questions:
1. When will these goobers in Washington get it that WE THE PEOPLE do not want the Obamacare plan?!?!

2. Why won't the mainstream media cover these events?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Brush with "fame" (?)

Setting: Jackson, TN Enterprise. I was the assistant manager. It is the fall of 2000.

We had rented a car to pro wrestler "Superstar" Bill Dundee. At some point during the rental, the car had become damaged. It so happened that somebody had hit the rented car while it was parked.

My manager did not believe his story and asked Mr. Dundee to pay his deductible on the spot and return the rented car. This was Enterprise's policy at the time. No - I don't like that policy, either, and I do not know if this is still their policy.

Nonetheless, the former pro-wrestler was infuriated at this demand. (I would be, too!). My manager told him to pay his deductible, or leave the car there. Mr. Dundee did neither! He left in the rental car.

I was sent to the local dealership to get a key cut, then to go straight to Mr. Dundee's place of residence or business to retrieve the car. I did not really want to, but I did not want to get fired, either. My manager also instructed me to speak with the man and ask him to pay the deductible. I agreed to do so, but had no intentions of doing it.

As I was driving away from the dealership, I passed a gas station. The gas station had a car that looked like the rented one in question. It also had a little green "E" sticker on the back, indicating it was an Enterprise car. I pulled in and verified the license plate. I also verified it by the fact that I saw the renter, Mr. Dundee, pumping gas into it.

I waited until the renter went inside the gas station to pay for the gas, then I popped the car. Walked right up to it, got in, turned the key, and drove off. Just that simple.

I told my manager I found it parked in a retail establishment (completely true) and Mr. Dundee was not there when I took it (also true). I omitted the fact that I had seen the renter, because I knew I would have to explain why I did not collect the deductible.

So when closing the rental ticket, all the while listening to my manager in his office having a heated discussion with an irate professional wrestler, I had the fine opportunity to do the manager's bidding and put the "Superstar" on Enterprise's "Do Not Rent" list. The reason? Failing to pay a deductible.

I must mention at this point that less than a week later, the insurance company for the driver that struck the rented vehicle called and paid the claim. This means that Mr. Dundee never owed the money in the first place. However, my manager did not go along with my suggestion to remove him from the "Do Not Rent" list.

Oh, well. You win some and you lose some.

On a side note, on TV, Mr. Dundee was always billed at 6' and 220 lbs. I am 6'3" and 275. Mr. Dundee did not quite reach my chin - putting him in the 5'5" or 5'6" range. He was, however, in great shape. Both when I rented the car to him, and when I saw him after the rented car was damaged, he was wearing a shirt with his own image on it. In the image was him when he had some sort of championship belt. Looked kinda funny!

Sports Sadness

Today, a baseball player I have admired for over 20 years got designated for assignment to AAA. This is baseball talk for getting demoted.

John Smoltz has been a really effective pitcher, but it seems age may finally be creeping up on him.

A sad day in this Braves fan's house! :(

Smashing Pumpkins

I have had a friend and reader of this blog ask me about shooting pumpkins. For the record, I have never actually shot a pumpkin - but I intend to do so, as soon as possible. My friend has asked how to accomplish several things:
1) Shoot a pumpkin with a small entry hole and a large exit hole.
2) Shoot a pumpkin with a small entry hole and a small exit hole.
3) Completely demolish a pumpkin with a single shot.

I am not certain, but I do have a limited knowledge of ballistics on several modern firearms and I would give a guess at them like this:

1) Shoot a pumpkin with a small entry hole and a large exit hole. - I would try this with a rifle. My AR-15 would be my first try. I might also use the SKS to get this result.

2) Shoot a pumpkin with a small entry hole and a small exit hole. - I would think this would be possible with a .22 or most modern handgun calibers.

3) Completely demolish a pumpkin with a single shot. - My first guess would be a shotgun. I'm thinking birdshot so the effect would be the same as shooting it a hundred times with a .22, but all at once!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Self Defense in TN

This idiot intruder forced the homeowner to shoot in self defense. Now the homeowner has to live with having killed a bad guy.

Note to would-be robbers in TN, TX, and most other southern states: we the people will fight back!

Poor Democrats

It seems they are lashing out at the American public for not wanting this silly Obamacare plan.

Here is Dick Durbin saying that the opposition is "sucker-punching" the elected officials.

Here is Nancy Pelosi stating that the Americans showing up and protesting are doing so with swastikas. You know if that were true, it would be all over the news!

Sounds like sour grapes to me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

People carrying guns

Oh no! According to USA Today, it seems more and more people are carrying guns these days!

What will we ever do?

I know - we will have a safer society!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A couple more Town Hall Meetings

I love it when Americans let their representatives know in no uncertain terms that we do not want what they are trying to force down our throats.

Example 1 shows what happened to Lloyd Doggett of TX. Rumor has it, he only published news of his meeting in liberal publications. Evidently, he did not want conservatives there. Also apparent is the fact that he did not expect conservatives to be scanning liberal publications to learn of his intentions!

Example 2 shows a very well spoken rebuttal by a US Soldier. He uses the US Constitution to show why Obamacare is not wanted, needed, or even legal!

Slow down, there, buddy!

In a recent presentation, as shown here on Youtube, Arlen Specter indicates we need to "hurry up and pass" the ObamaCare "plan."

As you watch the video, you will notice the crowd there disapproves of this course of action. Loudly!

There is only one reason a politician would want to hurry any bill along these days - and that is that there must be something hidden in the bill that the politicians do not want the public to see or learn of until it is too late.

I wonder why we never see footage like this on CNN?
- Just kidding - of course I do not watch CNN!