Last week we received a new Yelp review… not a particularly good one. In fact, after we wrote our response to her she actually lowered our review even more; she did not like our response evidently. She also left us a similar review on Facebook.
I want to take this opportunity to discuss this…
A little back story: Many of you have taken our Pistol Series courses. Pistol 1, 2, and 3 are all independent one-hour, forty-five minute classes. Usually about once a quarter we offer an “all-day” series where all three classes are taught back-to-back for those who just can’t schedule time to come in for three separate events. The woman who left the review had taken one of these all-day classes. Posted below is her review, then our response to her review, then her response to our response:
This place offers good classes and their simulated firing lab is a great way for newbies to learn and practice. I was excited to come here and considering a membership, but the instructor for Pistol 1, 2, 3 Combined Series today made entirely too many political comments. Contrary to stereotypes, gun owners and enthusiasts come from all political stripes, and California is America, despite the instructor saying, “California isn’t really America.” (???) I don’t think I can comfortably return to this institution.
Our response to her review (January 7, 2020):
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here:)
Thank you for the review. We take all reviews that are less than perfect very seriously. We do feel it is important to respond to what you wrote.
First off, we apologize. You were the one on the receiving end of our lecture which means we bear any and all responsibility for messages potentially being misinterpreted.
That being said, we do want take the time to address what you have said. You are absolutely correct. The 2A community is anything but a homogenous group. People from all sorts of demographics take part in the shooting sports and gun ownership in general. We at the Artemis Defense Institute not only recognize this… we encourage outreach. That is one of the reasons so many of our members do come from differing political viewpoints.
There is, however, one common factor that unites all of us: a passionate defense of civil liberties. We consider firearms ownership to be one of the instrumental civil liberties, and since it tends to be the one we focus on here at Artemis, most of our dialogues obviously revolve around it. Those who favor restrictions on civil liberties, 2A or any others for that matter, are called out. Those who seek to protect civil liberties are positively recognized by us. There are some that assume that we are all conservative ideologues. This could not be further from the truth. Just like in the greater community, the Artemis family has a fairly high degree of political diversity. We do recognize that gun owners in California are under constant assault by the California government that seeks to continuously restrict and complicate gun ownership and training, oftentimes with absurd results that make law-abiding citizens instant status criminals. Part of the education of a gun owner is understanding the political motivations behind those who would restrict that right. If you felt that your particular ideology was being subjected to scrutiny irrespective of its stance on gun ownership we DEEPLY APOLOGIZE. That broad brushing is never part of our agenda.
Then her response to our response:
Edit: I dropped my review even lower as this place contacted me to pretty much say “Sorry if we offended you, snowflake, but we’ll keep denigrating California as we please!” Odd stance to take when your business is housed in this state, but good luck anyway.
I was arguably a little upset at her last response, and decided to see who it actually was that we were communicating with so publicly. Her public Facebook profile shows an extreme level of advocacy for leftist causes… scratch that…”collectivist causes”. While I am no stranger to vulgarity (and, in fact, I find that when used appropriately, can express a thought far more dramatically than conventional language), the over use, coupled with vitriol can shine a light on a deeper emotional problem.
This was confirmed when I looked at her other Yelp reviews. She gives negative reviews to two psychiatrists. It is unclear what her underlying issues were with these medical professionals…but her writing does suggest that with one of them she disagreed with the prescription anti-depressants she was issued.
So… when I first decided to write this blog I was going to be far more adversarial… that has changed.
Ms. J has issues. Those issues seem to have manifested in a political ideology, and one that does not, cannot be, subject to scrutiny.
Johnny V, our lead instructor, taught the entire class that day. I talked to him about her. During the class she was quiet and passive. I asked him about any political statements he may have made. During the class he was reviewing a litany of our California gun laws… (laws that these students need to be familiar with as future gun owners)… and the issue of the California gun roster came up. He explained what the roster was, how it restricts new guns on the market from being sold in California, and the magazine disconnect, loaded-chamber indicator, and micro-stamping requirements. When asked by a student why a magazine disconnect made a gun safer… Johnny responded by saying, “It’s California”.
This was the statement that set her off.
We do need to remember that not all people share our passion for firearms, and our dedication to training. We also need to remember that not all people are as versed in the greater philosophical underpinnings of classical liberalism. While we have as much a right to express ourselves as those that disagree with us do, we must remember that our job is always to be an ambassador. Ms. J is one too ironically enough. Though her methodology for gaining adherents to her cause is through the use of blunt force, and…I guess, a form of shaming.
Just as she has formed an opinion of us, and what we stand for….we form an opinion of her ideologies through her words and actions.
I hope Ms. J is able to find the care that she needs. I would suggest that gun ownership may not be entirely appropriate for her at this time.
Steven Lieberman and Sandy Lieberman are the owners of the Artemis Defense Institute. A tactical training facility headquartered occupied California. (www.artemishq.com). Mr. Lieberman is also one of the founding partners in the Law Offices of Lieberman and Taormina LLP. Their law firm specializes in use of force, and Second Amendment defense and litigation.