Teaching CCW for free for students, teachers, & military

I’ve got a class scheduled tonight at the Cabelas in Lehi, Utah.  I haven’t talked much about CCW related stuff on this blog yet. 

One thing that I would like to get out there is that I teach a lot of folks for free.  I will teach the class for free to anyone who is a student, faculty, or staff at any Utah school.  I don’t care if you’re the janitor.  Bring some ID that proves you work in a school, or attend a Utah college, and your class is free. 

Also, anyone that is currently in the military, whether active duty, reserve, or guard, the class is free for you too.

Here is my reasoning.  For the military, that is just personal.  You guys work your butts off to protect the rest of us.  You’re usually underpaid, overworked, underappreciated, and have the pleasure of deploying for really long stretches of time to very sucky places filled with angry scumbags that want to blow you up.  This is one way FBMG can say thanks.  Besides, with all of the actual experience our military has now, that is exactly who I want carrying concealed weapons in public. 

As for students and school staff, anyone reading this from outside of Utah needs to realize that we’re actually allowed to have guns in school here.  Damn right. 

It was a battle to get CCW recognized in school, and even once it was recognized as legal, the University of Utah sued the state, saying that their “academic freedom” gave them the right to ban guns.  So we went to war.  Finally, the UofU got their collective asses handed to them, and they had to back off.  I was involved in that fight, and was one of the CCW instructors that got to testify in the senate against the U.  I don’t want to give the impression that I did much, I was just one of a great many.  And Utah has some awesome pro-gun activists. 

The timing for this was interesting, because the last hearing was the day after the Trolley Square shootings, one of the worst mass murders in this state’s history.  I was the instructor that volunteered to talk about mass public shootings.  I told the senators that if we banned guns on campus, then it was a matter of time before another mass killing occurred. 

The ban bill passed the committee.  (we already knew it would, that’s politics) But we built up such a huge swell of public outcry that the legislature shot the thing down.  The people won.  The academics lost. 

Sometime passed, all the predictions of students doing stupid stuff with guns turned out to be just as false as usual.  Then came Virginia Tech…  That very same morning the anti-gun imbeciles at the U were grousing around about how they needed to reexamine their ban on guns, and how they needed to bring the ban back. 

Well screw that.  Not in my state.  We immediately announced we would be teaching students for free.  Not only that, we immediately spent a big chunk of our own money advertising in campus newspapers that we were offering free firearms instruction. 

So I teach students and teachers for free for two reasons.  First, I want more guns in school.  In most states, schools are a giant hunting preserve for psychos.   Second, I want to get more people with “skin in the game”.  The more people I can get carrying in school, the harder it will be for the panic-stricken, ivory-tower, hand-wringing, bed-wetting, anti-gun academics to ban them again. 

Plus it makes me feel like I’m giving my finger to authority, which makes me feel kind of cool. 

Since I started doing this, I’ve taught a ton of people.  I don’t have any actual stats, but I’m going to guess that I’m probably one of the busiest instructors in the state.  I’ve taught a shocking number of students at this point, and it brings me a tiny bit of joy to know that I must be pissing off some Liberal Arts and Classical Basket-Weaving Professor somewhere. 

I teach at FBMG and Cabelas.  If anyone reading this is in one of the above groups, or knows anyone in one of the above groups, send them my way, and I’ll get them taken care of. 

Correia’s Top 5 Werewolf Movies

In the pantheon of monster movies, the big three are vampires, zombies, and werewolves.  Today I’ll talk about the hairy ones, and hit the undead next time.  There are a lot more to choose from on zombies and vampires on the shelves, primarily because it is a lot tougher to do decent special effects.  Some hamburger and fake fangs, and you’ve got vamps or zombies.  Werewolves take work. 

Now, the original,  The Wolf Man http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034398/  isn’t on the list.  Primarily because that was the beginning of the genre.  Hell, the rules that define most of the others come from this movie.  It is, no pun intended, the Big Dog.  If you haven’t seen this movie, and you’re one of those folks who think, but it’s OLD, just trust me and watch it.   Sure, it comes from the days before pretty colors, and directors that are MTV refugees, (Quick cut!  Quick cut!  Motion sickness!  AAAHHH!)  just trust me and check this out. 

5. Big Bad Wolf http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0488962/ Squeaking into the top 5 is a relative new comer.  I watched it recently, and loved it.  It starts out with a setup that leads you to believe it is going to be another bunch of college-kids-trapped-in-a-cabin-with-a-monster-outside movie.  But nope, then it turns into something else entirely.

The werewolf costume was borderline old school.  Yes, he is even wearing pants!  But despite the Guy In A Suit monster, this werewolf is extremely entertaining.  Major bonus points because A.  He talks, and B. He’s psychotic.  He takes his werewolfing old school, like medieval witch burning old school, in that he doesn’t just turn into an animal that wants to eat you, he’s going to rape and pillage first, because he’s just plain bad. 

The characters start out as stereotypical cut outs, and because of a couple of really good performances, turn into real people you can root for.  It ends in a way that leaves it open for a sequel.   So fingers crossed, we need more original stuff like this.

4.  Ginger Snaps http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210070/   Now this one isn’t fair, in that you can’t just watch one movie, but you have to watch all three to get the whole picture.  Think of them as a werewolf/coming of age/chick flick.  The appearance of actual monsters is kept to a minimum until the 3rd movie, which somehow takes the main characters from the first movies set in the present, and travels back in time to the 1800s, and then it is werewolf o’rama.  No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense in that respect, but it is still awesome. 

The acting is excellent.  The characters are weird.  And best of all, if you significant other says, “Oh no, not another stupid monster movie.”  You can, while keeping a straight face, reply “No, this one is actually a drama about a young girl facing the struggles of growing up in Canada.  Look, it has angst!” 

3.  American Werewolf in London http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082010/   Now a lot of monster movie fans probably have this as their number one, no real disagreement there.  The only reason this doesn’t rank higher for me is because I find most of the movie kind of dull.  Honestly, if you’ve got this on DVD, how many times have you gone back and watched the whole thing?  No, you skip ahead to the single greatest transformation scene in the history of movies.  That scene is movie gold.  It is painful and visceral. 

No wimpy CGI there.  Just latex and suffering.  This move set the gold standard for transformations, and nobody else has come close.  Keep in mind that this is from 1981, and that makes it even more impressive.  I was probably 10 years old when I first saw this, and I’ve been screwed up ever since.

2.  The Howling http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082533/ Also from 1981, this is the other great 80’s werewolf movie.  Now I’m talking about the original, not the huge number of bad sequels, though honestly I have watched every single one of those, and they do have a few good points.  (Come on, Marsupial werewolves, you know you want to watch #3). 

But the original was something different.  It starts off gritty and trashy, with serial killers in the red light district, and just goes on from there.  If American Werewolf in London is the icon, this is its seedy cousin. 

This movie also has the 2nd greatest non-CGI werewolf transformation ever.  Man, 1981 was a great year, though I don’t really remember it, because I was only 6. 

1.  Dog Soldiers http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0280609/   Bring on the English for the win. 

Dog Soldiers is the story of a group of British soldiers on a training exercise deep in a Scottish forest.  In reality, they’re bait.  An SAS group is trying to capture a werewolf.  However there is actually a family of werewolves, and the SAS gets eaten instead.  Then it just gets better from there.

It is non-stop carnage and chaos.  And these aren’t the effeminate Hugh Grant English.  These are the squaddies and soccer hooligans.  The main character went on to play Lucius Vorenus in Rome, (which is probably one of the best TV shows ever made, I AM A SON OF HADES!).  In most movies, people scream, and run, and get eaten.  In Dog Soldiers, it is on like Donkey Kong.  They may run, but it is while leap-frogging from cover to cover, laying down a constant stream of fire. 

Even at the very end, they go hands on in one of the most entertaining action sequences I’ve ever seen in a monster movie, bar none.  Everything is a weapon.  If you don’t have a door, make your own, and when all else fails, punch them in the face.

The werewolves are some of my favorites.  They’re tall, skinny, and creepy, and when you see one, there will usually be impossible amounts of blood and guts strewn around in a matter of seconds. 

Honorable mention:  For a well-rounded monster movie education, you also need to watch Silver Bullet (even though you know how most Stephen King movies turn out), Bad Moon (Lassie vs. the Werewolf!), and all of the Paul Naschy super-campy Spanish werewolf movies.  I’m not usually a big fan of movies with actual budgets, but Underworld had some cool werewolves, and they’re probably the least offensive CGI werewolves I’ve seen.

 Bad Werewolf movies:  First and foremost, Wes Craven’s Cursed.  For a year leading up to that movie, I was eagerly awaiting what was possibly going to be an actual big budget, really cool, werewolf movie.  NAY!  It wasn’t meant to be.  Cursed sucked.  I could make a joke about how the things that were cursed were the script, but that would be too easy.  Twenty plus years after American Werewolf and advances in fx technology, an actual budget, and I’ve seen better transformation scenes in videogames.    

Does it make you a bad person to actually root for all of the main characters in a movie to die, so that it could just end?   He tried to make a hairier version of Scream, and it just failed miserably.

And this one is probably going to earn me some hate mail, but Company of Wolves sucks.  Yes, I know it has a huge internet following, but why?  It is this disjointed, pieced together, little stories, staring (I kid you not) Angela Lansbury, that is some sort of metaphor for adolescent sexuality.  And I know you’ve never really thought of the lady from Murder She Wrote and sexuality in the same sentence before.  That’s okay, you still probably shouldn’t.

Company of Wolves is painfully boring.  The fans of this movie talk about how it is “like a dream come to life”.  Yeah, that’s the feeling I get if I take too much Sudafed.  I totally understand.

Weekend at the gun show

So another gun show weekend draws to an end…

Honestly, I love working the gun shows.  I’m a people person.  I like to meet people, talk about guns, and sell guns.  Compared to a lot of other dealers, we actually have a pretty good time at the shows, and manage to sell quite a bit of stuff.  But FBMG does it a little bit different than most dealers.

A standard gun show set up does it like this.  The dealer sits (literally) on one side of the table, bonus points if he is old, surly, and generally bitter.  The table is kind of like the blasted terrain between the razor wire of a Great War battlefield, a kind of no-man’s land populated with old hunting rifles and badly sporterized mil-surps.  The shoppers are on the other side of the table.  They get to guess if they are allowed to actually touch the guns, and if they choose wrong, the surly dealer gets to snap at them.  If the dealer is really motivated, he may occasionally get out of his chair, and if the planets are aligned correctly, he may actually answer a question.

Between the tables of the Surly Old Guys, are a bunch of tables featuring beanie babies, Klingon daggers, and black velvet paintings of Indian wolf princesses.  (And on that note, how come everybody’s spirit animal is always a wolf or a bear?  You never see any manatee princesses).  I won’t make fun of the beef jerky tables, because beef jerky is what makes America great. 

Then there are the good dealer’s tables.  These are usually local stores, and they tend to at least be professional, with a decent selection.  I won’t bag on them, because I’ve got way too many friends that work at those tables, and though I’m a big dude, if enough of them dog pile me at the next show at one time, I’m pretty sure they could take me out back and beat me like a rented mule. 

Now when FBMG started having a presence at the Salt Lake show, we decided we wanted to do it different.  We set our tables up more like a trade show booth.  Rather than the no-man’s land in the middle, we open ours up.  Customers get to walk inside.  We put grid wall up along the wall and hang guns off it, just like the display wall in a store.  We encourage people to touch our stuff.   It’s a gun, not a friggin’ Faberge Egg.

We decided that we wanted to put the show back in gun show, so we brought in our Prism laser simulator.  Most of the space we rent is used up by a large tent.  Inside, the tent is dark enough that we can use a projector to light up a wall, and then we let people play on the simulator all day long, for free.  Which is cool, because the closest people usually come to something like the Prism is the Discovery Channel.  They’re armed with a real gun, but with a laser diode blocking the barrel.  One of my people will run the machine, and jump around between various games, plate racks, IPSC style stages, and even cowboy quick draw.  Every so often, the operator will crank it over to the serious end of things, and let people run through the actual training scenarios, just like they’re in a CCW class, or a student at the police academy.  This is always a huge draw. 

I always overstaff my booth.  FBMG doesn’t have employees.  We have Minions. (Yes, I know, I may be taking this evil overlord thing a touch too far sometimes)  Everybody that helps out at my booth is a gun fanatic, and is an expert at something.  If I don’t know the answer to a question, I’ve probably got somebody that does.  And if we don’t know the answer, we won’t make up something in order to just sell you what is in stock.

See, I don’t go to the show to make a bunch of money. (won’t lie though, it is really nice when we do)  I would rather treat somebody nice, even if that means they buy something from another vendor that day, and have them become a long term customer.  For us, the gun show is really about meeting people, and letting them know that we exist.

Gun shows are interesting places, a vast cross section of humanity, with the neatest people you’ll ever meet, and also the weirdest.  On one hand, you can spend thirty minutes helping out some nice young couple pick out their very first home defense gun, and next you’re talking to a really twitchy guy who starts telling you about how he was in MACV-SOG, where he learned you could make an AK full-auto with a match stick, before he was recruited by the “company” to serve as a mercenary in Rhodesia, where he taught the Mujahideen to shoot down Hinds with stinger missiles.  Usually that guy doesn’t stick around long once he learns that most of the guys that work here are former or current military, and they use posers as piñatas. 

The down side of setting up an epic, trade-show style booth, is that it means a LOT of work to take it down and get it back to the store, that, combined with two straight days of standing on concrete really takes it out of you.  My business partner had no voice after 20 hours of running people through the simulator.  Shows are fun, but they are work. 

The running joke is that I shouldn’t be allowed to take down the booth.  I’ve got a bit of a reputation as a clutz, and it is tradition that I injure myself somehow.  Today I smashed my hand carrying out gridwall.  (or as Nightcrawler renamed it today, Deth-Wall).  Time before last, I tripped and fell, which wouldn’t be a big deal, unless you happen to be carrying a DhSK.  (which for those of you who don’t know, is a REALLY BIG machine gun).  Don’t worry though, I managed to protect the DhSK from any harm by shielding it from the ground with my internal organs.

Thanks to the Minions.  Guys, if you’re reading this, (if the boss asks if you read his blog, just humor him, and say yes, because it is good for his self-esteem) thanks, we couldn’t do it without you.  You rock. 

    

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