Sigh…

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:

SHAYNA J.:

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.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Bravo!

  2. Handled well, Steve….not your problem. As you note, her issues extend well outside of your theater.

  3. Does California law require reporting that someone who is taking a firearms course is possibly medicating? Is her medical provider a mandatory reporter if the provider is aware of the firearm ownership? If there is commonality among active shooters, it would be a psychological break of some sort and the ability to locate a gun-free zone audience.

  4. The way I see it Steven, the typical Artemis review normally sides on an impeccable experience and I can attest that all my personal experiences have benefited not just me, but more importantly the class as a whole. There are often ‘side-bar discussions’, that I sometimes disagree, but that’s the beauty of America; we can all share our views and opinions with key focus being the respect shown for allowing all to state their case.
    Being left, right, independent, or a member of any political party you relate, we all are Americans first and that should mean that we recognize how important the Right to Bear Arms was to our Forefathers. So much so they addressed it as the 2nd topic discussed in the Constitution. Why? Because tyranny by any political party, group, or entity in the country is not acceptable. Our Forefathers were smart enough to build-in a ‘right’ providing us ‘common folk’ a way to defend ourselves against tyranny should it be witnessed. There is much noise surrounding the 2A topic (distractions about hunting, mass shootings, etc.), but I believe the focus really should be the importance of providing a means for ‘Americans’ to thwart tyranny; especially as we see the politics brewing in this State and our Country. Maybe a topic against other discussions you have previously blogged.
    It is unfortunate that this person has decided on a closed-minded approach as opposed to intelligent discussion surrounding a topic and took your rebuttal the way she did. Maybe she sought a refund; often what I see as the case when negatively critiquing everyone you can on Yelp and on other ‘social media’ venues. For the rest of us though, open mindedness and showing respect to other’s opinions, one would hope would be the norm; and is from what I have seen in the Artemis community. Oh, and I hope you didn’t provide her a refund.
    Thank you, Sandy, and the Staff at Artemis for keeping up the great work against 2A, related education, and teaching proper gun use and responsibility!

  5. A famous person, whose name I do not know, once said that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Some people come looking for an argument and will find one no matter how hard they search. Standing up for the constitution is not a conservative nor a liberal viewpoint. It is a matter of law. Until such time as the Second Amendment is removed it will be the law. California has sought to restrict the law by any means available and will continue to do so. If a person does not like your viewpoints they are free to attend class somewhere else. What I find interesting is that she was more interested in complaining about the instructor’s viewpoint of CA than in what she learned in the class.

  6. Great Response Steven!

  7. I am going to yelp to give Artemis a great review because any dealing I have had with your company has been great.
    Be well and stay safe.
    Always My Best,
    Tom WIlliams

  8. Steve, you are in a tough spot as I’m guessing you cannot screen those who sign up for your classes. And also, it may be a fact that their opinion of the classes and gun ownership changes from when they sign up to some point while in the class. I don’t want to offend anyone but in business, conversation and being a supporter of responsible gun ownership I find that when talking to a female, even a female law enforcement you are often walking on eggs. They think differently and change direction in a minute.. When questions come up by females about things like “Why is there a gun roster in California?” My safest response is I’m not sure, what is your thoughts about that. Then SHUT UP..
    That’s the only way your going to make it out alive…
    Ken Anderson

  9. Good Job Steve,

    I’m very impressed with the level of care you took to address this concern. Most people would’nt have bothered. You are so polite and well spoken.
    I just want to add that I love Artemis Institute and the level that the instructors are at are amazing! I took the self-defense class several times and loved it. It challenged me and educated me in many ways. The instructors were well versed marine’s and very skilled in combat which enabled them to guide me through examples of how bad guys don’t play by the rules and you need to be prepared for that.

    Many Thanks to all the Artemis employees who have always made me feel welcome and encouraged me in my training.

  10. OMG – why was she there in the first place! She’s what is wrong with America today!

  11. I have experienced the same type of Yelp review in my business. In fact I have a review that showed me that the writer never attended ay of our classes. I searched our files for the registration and nothing matched up. I could tell by there descriptions that it wasn’t us. My thought was, anyone that knows us, know’s this is a fabricated armchair Internet surfer looking to cause damage. This is also what can be a huge problem with the Red Flag ruling. Good Luck Steve, I agree with your thoughts on the matter.

  12. A well written response–I don’t see how it could have been written any better. It’s quite sad that logic makes no logical sense to so many people today. I support and stand by you and your company 100%! I am more saddened than upset at Ms. J for clearly she has issues that she needs to deal with.

  13. Well said Steven! Call me a cynic, but I can’t help but wonder if she had ulterior motives for attending, rather than for the excellent training that you provide.

  14. She’s a typical lefty

  15. It does sound like Ms J has issues with a number of things and she will never be happy
    with anything she tries or gets involved with.
    If she has children I pity the poor teachers…..

  16. Pursuing this dialogue was and is not worth the space you allowed her to have in your head. Your commitment to excellence drove you to step into quicksand, and moving there causes you to sink further. This is an example of the asymmetrical influence a negative review creates. It reminds me to take the time to post positive reviews where warranted. Artemis is certainly one that is deserving of a positive post from me.
    Thicker skin is an asset! She doesn’t warrant taking that Much space in your mind.
    Thanks for being there
    Pete

  17. Almost sounds like you were set up. Maybe a group targeted your business precisely to irritate you and call you out. This happens on twitter all the time. Most Twitter trolls only have about 20 followers (or less). Before letting comments get to me, I always look to see their previous tweets, website links, etc. Lots of times one can safely assume that their minds will never change. Some of these trolls are paid. This has been proven many times. Craig’s list. From paid protestors to trolls to the MSM. As a business in a seemingly controversial business (not to the right!) you can’t keep quiet but you can’t let the attack personally get to you. Keep up the tough fight. You have lots of positive fans out here in the silent majority.

  18. As always, your words are spoken eloquently and with focus.

    While many of us gun owners here in Orange County (South Orange County in particular) lean right of center in the political spectrum we do acknowledge that many of us lean in the opposite direction in the political spectrum. That does not make any of wrong for our belief, it just makes us different.

    Many times a different opinion or point of view actually makes us step back and think, which is not a bad thing unless you need an instant response in a life threatening situation.

    Please continue to give the people who attend your classes your perspective. Anything else you make you to be someone that you are not. If we all said what we really feel the world would be a better place because we would be able to address the differences between us. After all no two people are alike nor are our opinions on any given subject.

    Again, thank you for what you do to help keep us all safe so that we can sleep at night.

    J. M. Roberts

  19. Hi Mr. Lieberman, I took the CCW certification from you about 4 years ago and currently I am a CCW holder here in CA.
    I was lucky to be in the class taught by you and throughout enjoyed it and found it very informative – specially your point of view. Ms. J here just got triggered by the comment and is sticking strongly to her “tribe”. Your response was very reasonable/professional and unfortunately you cannot make everyone happy.

    Thank you for all that you and your team do and enjoying your blogs and videos. Have a great weekend! Will

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