Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Being attacked in a conversation -- especially in social media.



In a discussion, learn to tell the difference between an ad hominem and an attack -- and respond to each appropriately .

An argumentum ad hominem (argument to the man) is a logical fallacy. It is basically saying a premise is wrong because of who is saying it.*

"That's wrong because you're a ____(fill in the blank)" is what makes it first an ad hominem logical fallacy against the argument, then a personal attack. (Remember this order, it's important.)

The counter to this is to argue the facts (stay on the topic) while basically ignoring the insults. I say basically because you call the ball about the behavior before returning to the topic  For example, "If you are finished trying to insult me, may we return to the subject at hand? Thank you." It's doubly aggravating to them if you not only don't take the bait, but remain polite and calm.**

With attacks, it's name calling, spitting venom and hating first and foremost. Oh yeah, and you're also wrong.

But that you're wrong not as important as how much I despise you and use the subject to justify the verbal and emotional violence I'm throwing at you. Name calling, buzz words (e.g., you're a cis-gendered, heterosexual, privileged white male), hot button words (racist, sexist, political leaning), accusations and insults are all common. Basically, you're so stupid, wrong and evil you not only don't deserve them talking to you rationally about the subject, the only thing you're worthy of is their contempt and abuse. Often you will see people use this strategy in social media or in comments without even bothering to add "you're wrong," it's just assumed.

Treat this for exactly what it is, an attack. It has nothing to do with adding to the conversation. While it can have something to do with shutting the conversation down, it's mostly about the individual self-soothing. Keep that last in mind we'll come back to it.

Two common strategies tend to manifest.

First, 'I' will escalate to flat-out abuse if you are silly enough to play my game. By that I mean get insulted and respond emotionally -- especially while trying to remain calm -- you become my target. I will heap verbal and emotional attack after attack on you, while pretending to be talking about the subject. "I" am an expert at spotting when my insults have gotten through and I will play with you like a cat sitting just outside the reach of a chained dog.

Second, is after seagulling*** and making everyone else uncomfortable with 'my' bad behavior, I will pull a grandiose "Elvis has left the building" exit. Often declaring both "I am leaving" and "what ignorant subhumans not just you, but anyone who is stupid enough to listen to you is." Quietly leaving is not enough, there has to be a grand soliloquy before my triumphant exit from the stage.  (An unfortunate tendency for such people though  is encore performances.  Unlike the actual Elvis, these people hang around and monitor the thread to see how well their hate and discontent is working, then they pop up again like a prairie dog from hell to vomit more verbal abuse.)

When you see this behavior recognize it for what it is. Which brings us back to self-soothing.

Self-soothing is in and of itself not bad. We all do it. When we feel uncomfortable we engage in activities that sooth us, calm and ease  our discomfort. This both emotionally and physically. We unwind after a hard day by having a drink or watching a favorite show. We rub sore muscles, sit in the hot tub, etc., etc.  There is, however, a distinction between appropriate self-soothing and inappropriate.

Remember how I said it's an attack and you need to treat it as such? Yeah well here's where it gets kind of tricky.

See most people will say, "An attack? Attack back!" Well you might want to think twice about that. First, as I also said, that's playing their game. While you're thinking in terms of defending yourself, in fact, it's you standing up and announcing to them that you've fallen for their trap. Like I said, they know when they have someone -- and trying to counter attack with hostile words and emotions tells them you're safe to play with. They can also spot when someone is actually going to throw them out the window and that usually prompts the Elvis has left the building plan B. But until that time, normal threat displays (that would make most people back off) just don't work with these folks. This especially when they're safely sitting in their front room and using the computer screen as a shield. What are you going to do? Get on a plane, fly to where they are and punch them out? So responding aggressively isn't really doing anything to stop the behavior. Worse, it's mostly you self-soothing yourself by going RAWR! RAWR! SEE HOW TOUGH I AM! RAWR!

Second -- and where it becomes kind of embarrassing -- is inappropriate self-soothing is kind of like masturbating in public. It may make the person doing it feel good, but to everyone else in the area it's disgusting and rude. Recognizing this is an important step for not falling into the person's trap. Someone who is verbally and emotionally attacking is mostly self-soothing.  Something has been said that makes them uncomfortable and their attack is the equivalent of them pulling it and rubbing one out -- in public. Nobody in the area is going to be happy about this behavior.

Unfortunately that includes you doing the exact same thing. See whenever you try to 'argue' with such a person, there are going to be a lot of people seeing, not just one person misbehaving, but two or more people in a public circle jerk. That's why the counter-attack strategy might not be such a good idea.

I say "might," because while often the best strategy is to pretend you didn't hear it and keep on talking to other folks, sometimes, you have to do something. Now whether it's to quietly excuse yourself from the situation, delete the comment (if it's your page), take it to the moderator, turn it against the person or -- and this is the least desirable, but sometimes necessary -- 'argue,' all depends on the circumstances.

In media matters, I will often delete comments and then make a generalized statement about expected behavior in areas that I control.  In public environments I will take the person aside and have a quiet discussion about expected behaviors. If it's someone else's territory then it's good manners to take it to the host rather than getting involved in a row. Often the person whose territory it is saw it, doesn't like it, but until someone complains isn't going to do anything. Your politely bringing it to him or her, is the call to action that person needs to tell the other person to knock it off. This strategy creates allies and if the self-soother goes off on the host... well, he brings on himself what happens to him. Mostly because other people will back up the host. On the rare occasion where a negative response from you is the best response, the response must be more extreme than the other person expects. (It's like a person who is normally calm and polite blowing up. It's not only no longer fun and games, but everyone else knows the other person  really crossed a line to warrant such a response.)

However, turning it against the person, I personally find the most satisfying. Here's something about someone self-soothing in public. First is it's pretty one directional. Second it's limited range.  It's really not that hard to side step and keep it from getting on your shoes -- if you can remain calm.The harder the person tries, the worse he or she looks. Once you look at verbal attacks as:
A) Self-soothing
B) Making a spectacle of oneself
C) Trying to get you to do the same
your definition of 'winning' changes.  In fact, you can help everyone else relax about this unacceptable behavior. Remember the purpose of the self-soother is to provoke a negative emotional reaction. That is that persons perception of power; that's the 'win' he or she is going for. Anything other reaction and that and the person loses.

So help the person lose.

A strategy I like to use both in attacks and ad hominem (but mostly the former) is to pretend that I didn't hear the attack and respond to the person's -- usually very weak --  points. Responding as if that person was legitimately trying to discuss the issue. Think of it as an opportunity. That person has given you a great platform. It's almost like someone feeding a comic straight lines.

Here's the person hiding his attacks behind supposed points and there you are calmly responding to and expanding your position on the subject. You're not getting mad or emotional, you're sticking to the subject. Anyone who is watching sees you remaining calm, polite and reasonable while the other side is running around in circles, screeching while playing with themselves.

Knowing that, which side is going to have more credibility?

If you can keep your zipper up, the answer is yours.

In conclusion, remember something very important. Between stimulus and external reaction there is a gap. A gap that we normally are going so fast with our habitual and internal emotional reaction that we fly right over. We have been doing this for so long we don't think we have any control. We feel an emotion and we have react. NO! Our emotions do not control us -- unless we let them. We can have an emotion, but that is all it is. An internal stimuli telling us what we should do. You don't have to do that. Someone verbally attacks you? Where is it written that you have to counter-attack? Where is it written that you have to self-sooth in public?  This especially knowing someone is trying to bait you and make you look just as bad as them.

If you really want to communicate your point to people, don't fall for that trap. You can start by learning to spot the difference between a logical fallacy and an attack -- especially on the internet.

M

* Although not an exact example you can see the idea in action at the end of the movie "A Flock of Dodos." An idea for a much needed change in strategy was shot down because the man who had done it was *gasp* a racist.

** They'll often tip their hands and other people will see what they're doing. (I'm talking if they're smart, they'll scale back and just zing you more subtly. If they're not -- and a lot of them aren't -- they'll go on the offensive and show everyone in the room that they, not you, are the barking moonbats.

*** Flying in, shitting all over everything while screeching (and often flying away, but the person can stay)

copyright 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mac and Cheese Idealism

I want you to think about a subject that you actually know. By this I mean some field, endeavor or task that you routinely produce tangible results in. (A good standard is when you're done, there's something you can put into a wheelbarrow.)

How complicated is it to produce that?

What are the requirements to do it? What processes must you do? What steps must you take? What tools, equipment and circumstances do you need? What knowledge and skills must you have in order to produce a tangible result? Why do you do it this way (to get this result) vs. that way? What do you NOT do and why? How do you assess and gauge the countless factors that go into the process? How complicated and in depth are these so-called 'simple' things we do every day?

If this is too broad of a question, ask yourself these questions about cooking a meal. Even if you're a wit and say 'I put it into the microwave' you're only half right. First you need to be able to walk and move. Second, you need electricity and a microwave. Third, you need the prepackaged food that has been grown, harvested, manufactured(prepared), packaged, shipped, sold and refrigerated. All of those require massive technology and distribution systems. Fourth, and you'll know the experience if you've ever tried to figure out another country's electronics, you have to know how to program and start the microwave. Then there's getting it out of the microwave without burning your fingers. Lacking these, the microwave quip is meaningless. With these, it's both the end of a many complex processes and the point I'm trying to make.*

That's just microwaving, not actually cooking it yourself. Tracking back to the original questions, 'just' cooking is way more complicated, deep and involved. Yet with training and experience we easily navigate through massively complex processes in order to produce.

That's actually a double edged sword. We tend to minimize the complexity of what we do actually know. At the same time we become vulnerable to anyone trying to 'sell us' that complex issues are simple and all about 'one thing.'  The latter especially in the form of soundbites, advertising and narrative.

Things are ALWAYS more complicated, involved and variable than what someone is trying to sell you. And yes, anytime someone tells you it's ONLY about _____(fill in the blank) that person is trying to sell you an idea. Or worse, they've weaponized a reductionist cliche or term to get you to shut up.

Human behavior is one of the most complicated, variable and fascinating topics I know. I've dedicated my life to studying just one aspect of it. Yet every morning I get out of bed and am nearly overwhelmed at how much I don't know about the specialized field I'm considered an 'expert' in.  That's after five decades. Yeah, it's that deep and complex.

Oddly enough, this makes me less appealing as an expert, because I don't come out and say -- with complete confidence -- 'This is all there is and there is no more!" See simplistic answers and an abundance of confidence really appeals to the part of our brains that want to reduce the complexities of life to simplistic narratives and never mind reality (much less all those messy complications).

So the next time someone comes up at you with a soundbite and a claim of 'this is what is the cause' of ______(fill in the blank),' don't fall for their confidence or the claim of simplicity.

Stop and think how complicated, involved and variable ANYTHING you routinely do is. Then ask yourself, if I know how complicated making dinner is how likely is it that this person is the possessor of an absolute truth about not just society, but all of humanity to boot?

This allows you the response, "Sorry fella, but making macaroni and cheese is more complicated than your philosophy/politics/position/beliefs/idealism"

M

*Although, it's arguable that the complexities of the microwave and electricity are so far above the individual's head that the button pusher is more of a trained monkey.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Addition to the Five Rules of Violence


I've long been a fan of simple, but profound concepts.

The difference between simple and profound and a sound bite is the latter is a conclusion. Whereas the former is a fundamental. Now in case you don't know the difference between a fundamental and a basic, it's subtle, but important.  For most of the definitions, basics and fundamentals are pretty much the same. The difference shows up when you get to 'a basic is an introduction to a subject' (like basic training or kindergarten). A fundamental is something a system is based upon and rises from (like the primary colors) So while fundamentals can themselves be simple, all the ways they manifest can be complex -- really, really complex.

This as opposed to sound bites. Or what I call 'Puddle Profundities' (they sound profound, but they're actually about as deep as a puddle in a parking lot.) Unfortunately, the self-defense world is filled with these cliché, cool sounding and grossly over-simplified sound bites about what to do, 'what it takes to survive' and what is 'self-defense.' It's arguable this is an unfortunate result of business requirements. The  market (students) strongly dictates what is taught as self-defense. A whole lot of people want simplistic answers to complex problems -- and by gawd they'll pay lots of money to anyone who can provide such in training. This regardless of how quick -- in real life -- that advice will get you killed or thrown into prison.

Now it's real easy to boil complex subjects down to overly simplistic sound bites -- like what people have done with Cooper's "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six."  Which to me is about as obvious as saying "I'd rather be alive after a self-defense incident." Really? No kidding? (DUuuuhhh!) But it doesn't help keep you out of a violent situation. Sound bites can be specific help for some people during an incident, but for the most part they don't help you in the middle of an incident. They're not useful guidelines for your behavior in a crisis. Nor do they prepare you for the legal, emotional or ethical  aftermath of successfully defending yourself. This especially if you used lethal force in a situation that didn't require it because your thinking had stopped at '12 and 6.'

On the other hand, it really takes skill to sum up complex circumstances down to a few -- reliable -- fundamentals. Fundamentals that no matter how far into complexities you get, still apply. I don't want to say 'that apply anywhere' (and you'll soon see why), but really apply to most circumstances.  This to the point of even though the manifestations can be -- and often are -- wildly different, it's still the same fundamental idea. And that is where the simple but profound comes in.

One example of this skill is Peyton Quinn's 'Five Rules' about violence.
1) Do not insult him
2) Do not challenge him
3) Do not threaten him
4) Do not deny it's happening
5) Give him a face saving exit.

If there is a better, more concise list of fundamental ways people step on their dicks when it comes to potentially violent situations, I've never seen it. I use the trodding on a particularly tender appendage comparison for three very simple reasons. The Five are not only the fastest ways to escalate a potentially violent situation into physical violence, but the most reliable ones too. Those are first and second.  The third reason is they cover the widest possible spectrum. When I say this a number of folks involved in self-defense training immediately jump to tacti-cool or kung fu related scenarios. Mostly having to do with why they're too smart to deny it's happening. They're trained in self-defense doncha' know?

But number four is really, really, REALLY important for the average citizen. I'm not just talking about the person pushing a cart out of the grocery store, who, upon seeing three thuggish looking guys spread out along a wall, decides, getting home is far more important and they won't bother him/her -- and then walks right into an mugging. Yes there is that. It also applies to someone who is so hell bent on a behavior and their 'right' to do it, they don't notice how close they're coming to being attacked. The worst -- and most common -- form of 'denying' is someone telling him or herself "That person wouldn't dare..." In doing that they fail to recognize they're pissing someone off enough to throw them a beating. 

Funny thing is those five rules go miles for keeping you from getting into fights -- much less taking a beating.

So like I said, those five rules are really good as they apply in all kinds of circumstances -- and this includes when they won't work to keep violence from happening. How's that for an unexpected left turn?

Rory Miller came up with the social, asocial model of violence. Basically there is violence for social reasons and for asocial reasons. Rory's observation that while the five rules will (most likely) prevent social violence, they won't stop asocial violence.

When Rory said that, I flat-out agreed with him. They won't stop an asocial predator. That predator will blow right on past these attempts to prevent violence. However, that doesn't mean they still don't apply...

See, after I told Rory what I'm about to tell you, I picked up the phone and called Peyton. "Peyton, I says to him. Here's what I just told Rory Miller about your Five Rules. They won't prevent asocial violence, but -- if you violate them -- they'll make it worse."

See to a robber (a type of asocial violence), you're just an ATM with legs, a walking Happy Meal if you will. And that's what you want him thinking about you. That way, he'll come up, rob you and go away. Once he's got HIS money, he's done with you. He -- and the danger he poses to you -- are gone.

That is unless you make it personal -- usually by violating rules one through three.  Rule four means you've made his life easier by walking into it. Rule five shouldn't be an issue ... well, unless you yell obscenities at him or try to chase him as he's leaving. Then you've just made it an issue.

But violate rules one through three and you'll have hell to pay because -- still sticking with robbery -- the ATM just started talking shit to him. Whether it is resource or process asocial violence, you've just given an attacker the excuse to really unleash hell on you. If he was planning violence anyway (process predator), he's really going to tear you up now. So violating these Five Rules is going to make the violence worse, this whether social or asocial.

I tell you all of this to show you something important. That is how professionals kick ideas around in the field. In doing so, they make things better. This in contrast to people who steal a good working model, twist it around to make it sound like they invented it. This unique spin often makes a much more generally effective model, narrower in application.

This isn't as cut and dried as it may seem. Where we run into a problem It's often hard to tell a difference between 1) someone with specific experience who is tweaking for particular application, 2) someone who is trying for unique branding of themselves (but still trying to pass on good -- if limited-- information) or 3) someone who doesn't understand the model and yet has changed it just to say it's 'his.'

Here's why it's not easy to tell.  I tell people that there's only so many ways to describe a shark. After a while, all the descriptions are going to start sounding the same. So when someone starts telling you they saw a fur covered saber toothed shark with antlers, if you know what a shark looks like, it's going to be obvious he's making shit up. If you don't, well isn't that what sharks look like? My combatives instructor said they did...

Still in specialized fields there's hammerhead, thresher sharks and whale sharks. Those suckers don't look like normal sharks. But until you realize these are specialized critters, stories about weird shaped heads, giant tails and sharks the size of whales sound wrong. Same thing with specialized fundamentals in a field. The fundamentals for bouncing, prison guards and police are often very different than what Joe and Jane Civilian are going to be dealing with.

This is why when I saw a jpg of Richard Dimitri supposedly promoting
1) Don't insult
2) Don't threaten
3) Don't order
4) Don't tell him he's wrong

I went ?????

Okay I know those first two trace back to Peyton, and I know the last two from hostage negotiation strategies. Which seriously struck me as 'going into a specific field' direction (narrowing of applicability).

'Order' just sounded too much like a sound bite and not a fundamental. Whereas telling him he's wrong -- while very good advice -- is kind of specific situation advice  (as is not calling him a liar). True, but just not fundamental and general enough to guide someone's behavior in a situation.

Not ordering was a sticking point for me. This especially when I'm training cops, the protocol for establishing a pattern of non-compliance -- thereby legally justifying use of force --  is 'Ask. Tell. Order' For example: Ask him to step out of the car (complete with please and thank you), tell him (Sir, step out of the car) order (Get out of the car NOW!) After three, you physically pull him from the car. And if he resists, you drag his ass out.  But again, without some tweaking, that's heading down a narrowed applicability hole of police use of force. (Granted that tweak can also help you articulate why what you did was self-defense, but that's another article.)

Mix into that the number of times I've ordered people to 'walk away'  as a clear -- non-insulting or threatening -- communication on how to avoid violence, the 'don't order' didn't make sense to me.  You can upgrade this to the number of times I've snarled "BACK OFF" with the clear, yet unspoken, message of 'or mayhem will immediately ensue.' So ordering is not an absolute. Yes, you have to be careful about ordering someone, but to make it a 'don't?' That's an awfully big word.

The best thing I could come up with on my own was 'don't order if you're not ready to back it up.' Which is eight more words and a world apart from just 'don't order.' And it missed the whole, 'and don't be an arrogant ass while doing it' aspect.

When I questioned the jpg, a few people came forward to explain how smart Richard is for this good advice (Yes, I knew Richard back in the day, thanks for the update.) But they seemed to believe that was all there was. Nobody could really give me a good reason for 'don't order.' Then Richard came onto the scene...

He phrased it another way. A way that made me stand up and declare "YES!"

What Richard said is: Do not command.

NOW you're talking! In this context, command means (to me) being an imperious, arrogant, contemptuous asshole. Do not command is a fundamental that both addresses a common problem behavior and dovetails nicely with the 'ordering without the ability to back it up' issue. It also specifically articulates the most common way someone can violate Peyton's insult, challenge and threaten in one single sentence. With a fair dose of not giving him a face saving exit thrown in to warrant the last parting kick to your face as you're laying on the ground.

Let me paint you a mental picture. Imagine a woman walking through an otherwise empty parking at night. She's approached by a strange man and, with contempt and anger dripping from every syllable, sneers, "Get away from me!"

That is an imperious command. It is how you treat slaves, servants and peasants. It's also an insult and challenge, but more than that it's usually an implied threat. For example, "Or I'll call the cops" It is a command that the woman is most likely neither able or willing to back up by herself. It's an imperious command that relies on social mechanisms, standards -- and usually others -- to be enforced. Again, "Or I'll call the cops," which roughly translates into "I'll summon another servant [lesser being] to punish you"

It's also very much a threat display (also called display aggression). Basically it's a bluff to show that the woman is too high of a social status for the man to safely attack. But it comes across like a self-righteous noble commanding a worthless peasant.  Although, with many younger women, it's an attempt to show that they aren't afraid of being violent. The ugly truth about these bluffs is how fast they fall apart when the other person busts the person-using-commands' jaw for disrespecting him like that.

That's if the person doesn't just pull a gun and shoot the 'commander.' My all time favorite (not) is when the commander tries to bluff multiple individuals. Not only have you insulted, threatened and challenged them, but you've humiliated them in front of witnesses. Yeah, that's going to turn out well...

In case you missed it, imperiously commanding someone doesn't give him a face saving exit. Which is really dangerous because something else Rory talks about is:  You cannot shame a predator, but you can humiliate him.

To which I will add two things. One,  if you do humiliate him you're going to increase the level of force he will attack you with." Two, you become a participant in the creation and escalation of an incident, which is drilling holes in your lifeboat of 'self-defense.'

So I'm adding one more good, generalized fundamental to make the Six Rules

1) Do not insult
2) Do not challenge
3) Do not threaten
4) Do not imperiously command
5) Do not deny it's happening
6) Do give him a face saving exit.

Simple but profound fundamentals that can guide your behaviors to keep you out of violence, dictate your behavior in a situation and save your ass when -- later -- explaining to the cops (and hopefully not the jury) how you did everything in your power to avoid having to use force.

M


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Self-generating pain

~sigh~ Some of the questions I am asked. :/ This is my response to someone whose inner demons are driving him to hell
**********

You're asking simple questions that don't have simple answers. More than that you're doing it in rapid fire. Each of those questions can take a year of studying various thing before you even understand
a) why it's not a simple question
b ) why there's no one simple answer.

But I'll kind of give you a lump answer, that you can start looking into the various parts of and in the process, you can find elements that will help you come up with your own answer.

Most of our internal pain is self-generating. That is to say how we think, what we assume, our habits, behaviors and beliefs create ways of thinking that cause us pain, strife and fear.

That's not say that the external world isn't fucked up, it can be. But the belief that the world is ALWAYS fucked up sets us on a course to prove it ourselves. What goes on inside of our head can make us look at an okay situation and overemphasize the bad so much that it makes it look like it's fucked up. Worse is when a situation is good, we'll go out of our way to fuck it up -- again reconfirming or belief that the world is fucked up.
Now this is not to say the pain isn't real. It is. Just most of it is self-generated. Does bad shit that we didn't create happen? Yes. But again, most of our pain comes from inside ourselves -- especially when we take a bad event and run with it, make it the basis of our life's story and demand the world accommodate what has become our self-generating pain.

This is made more complicated because when you're hurting in this manner, you'll seek out ways to make it temporarily stop. This through booze, drugs, adrenaline (getting punched) and anger. It is at these times we feel both alive and pain free. All that other shit falls away and we are temporarily freed from what we're doing to ourselves from inside our own heads.

Two problems with this. One the fix isn't permanent.

That is to say while we can anesthetize the pain for short periods, it doesn't fix what is causing the pain. So when it wears off, the pain comes back again and we find ourselves pining for not hurting. This is a powerful driver for this kind of behavior. A behavior that numbs, but doesn't fix the real problem.

Two, these behaviors create a secondary set of problems. You're so busy dealing with these new problems that you never have time to look at what caused the original pain. What was driving the behaviors that created these new problems is never looked at, much less unplugged. You get layers and layers of shit piled on top so you never have to look at the self-generating pain. As such, you 'never' have to fix it because you're too busy dealing with this other shit.

This is where shit gets really fucked up. That part of you that is generating your pain ... it doesn't want to change. Why should it? It's running your life. It's right about what it thinks and fuck you if you think you're going to kick it out of the driver's seat. It will do everything in its power to keep you from changing. It's more self-righteous and convinced it's absolutely right than a fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Worse, it knows your worst fears, insecurities and weaknesses. It will turn these against you if you try to kick it out of controlling your life.

You want the hardest fuckin' knock down drag out brawl you'll ever face in your life? Go after this part of yourself. Getting kicked in the nuts, shot or stabbed is easier than facing this shit.

But -- and I speak from experience here -- it's the only way to stop the pain and keep on living.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Adventures in being your own publisher

So I decided to take a year off from traveling and teaching. My goal of doing that this past January was to focus on writing and publishing. To quote the Grateful Dead, "What a long strange trip it's been."

The publishing world has been thrown on it's heads with the advent of "Indie Publishing"  What a wonderful title that... Independent Publishing. Sounds way better than 'self-publishing.' Which if you remember back in the day that term had an equal sign attached. As in 'self-publishing = crap.'

On the plus side -- from a writer's standpoint -- things like Amazon, Nook and print on demand technology have been a complete godsend. Starting with payment. Not too long ago I heard a number quoted that in the old style publishing house system 98 cents of each dollar went to someone other than the author. (Which when you find out that Stephen King is the richest writer in history, makes your jaw drop over how many of his books have been sold.) Yeah, well with e-pub you're talking about 75 cents on every dollar  Less with print on demand, but still way more than publishers pay. And while there are still every six month programs out there, monthly payment is common.

Another super-sexy element is print on demand. See back in the pterodactyl days when I was first published there was serious financial risk faced by the publisher. Tens of thousands of books were printed and shipped to distribution centers. Then they were shipped to the bookstores. If those books didn't sell, the publisher ate the cost. Having said that, books collecting dust in a warehouse could trickle out slowly and sell. Then Uncle Sam did some funky shit with the tax code and instead of those books being a deduction they were turned into something the publisher had to pay taxes on. So now any book that isn't selling fast enough to pay it's own taxes and rent gets dropped faster than an annoyed scorpion. Now this pressure was passed onto the authors. You have the A list authors who make publishers rich. You have B list authors who manage sales high enough not to end up on the chopping block. And the C listers who end up on the dinner table.

Enter new technology, print on demand. You order a book and guess what? It doesn't exist until the night you order it. Oh sure it's in files and jpgs, but those are electrons Basically the order is routed to a printer who -- that night -- prints 10,000 books. But, 10,000 different books -- all on the same run. Then they're bound and shipped to the customer. Stock? The only stock we go around here is paper and ink. Now this puts authors into liver quivering joy, because it flushes the old ABC list way of doing things down the toilet. If you as an author sell 10,000 copies a month or two, it doesn't matter. It's no longer a matter of having to sell thousands of a title to stay in print.

Equally cool is e-pubs. Which really is causing the publishers kaniption fits. See with paperbacks you have production costs. Depending on the size of the book it costs this much to print it and ship it, then comes paying the electricity bill, hence a minimum price.  On the other hand, the cost of an e-book is paying the electric bill and maintaining the equipment. This naturally brings up the question of why should you -- the customer -- pay the same price for an e-book that you do for a paper book? That's not a question the publishers want you asking.




On the other hand, indie authors are happy to sell e-pubs for less because they're still making more money than if the publisher is handling things. That's why my book "In The Name of Self-Defense" costs $17.99 in paperback (450 plus pages) and $7.99 in Kindle/Nook (600 plus pages)
http://www.amazon.com/In-Name-Self-Defense-costs-worth-ebook/dp/B00LIBWADA/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0RSG9E5G19EDAR9JSJQH

So those are the upside points of indie publishing.

On the down side ... well let's just say that with a publisher, things are magic. You write a book. You send it off. There's some editing and back and forth, yada, yada. And then one day ~ Poof! ~a box full of books appear at your doorstep.  In a very real sense it's like a bunch of brownies have come and done all the work. Then the royalty fairy shows up ever six months and leaves a check under your pillow.

Ever heard what happens if you don't leave cream out for the brownies?

See when you decide to take the independent route. The publishing brownies flip you the bird, knock over a few buckets and abandon you. Leaving you to discover -- the hard way -- all those little details they took care of.

First there's editing. Well fortunately for me I cheated and I married my editor. So that helps. Then there comes all the fun things like formatting, cover design, back cover copy, ISBN numbers and bar codes.

You know, it was a pretty good idea I took a year off.

It turns out the publishers actually did a lot of things. Not only don't you necessarily know them, but do you know the tricks, short cuts or pitfalls? Here's a hint, they're out there waiting like a Lego piece  waits for your barefoot on the way to the bathroom at night.

Then comes marketing. Now on this one I have to admit I had a bit of an advantage. See long ago I realized that that most publishers treat their authors like chum. Not chums, chum. Chopped up chunks of fish, guts and blood that are throwing out behind the boat to attract big game fish to the fisherman's hook  The publishers aren't going to pour money into authors who
a) don't have a good track record of
b) someone inside decides to seriously pimp and unknown author.

See the problem with dealing with big named authors is they have the clout to demand more. A pimped unknown is a bigger risk, but the returns are better because the new writer doesn't know to demand more. 

On the other hand, someone who has some experience in the writing world knows that unless he or she wants to be treated like chum, getting out there and hustling is needed. You need to keep your name and out in front of people by things like blogging, social media presence and appearances. Yeah okay been doing that for years -- although I'm going to be launching a Youtube channel soon. At first you'll end up spending more time marketing than you did writing.

Then comes learning the ins and outs of how Amazon operates. Let me tell you, that one is going to have you reaching for the bottle. Mostly because if there isn't someone who is there to walk you through it you're going to discover all kinds of Legos in the dark.  Now mind you, after you get the hang of it, it's great. It's in the interim that will have you alternatively swearing, pulling your hair and reaching for the bottle. Little things like having to wait 72 hours to see if you pushed the mandatory three buttons or only two for your books cover artwork to show up and there's the whole that department is on the other side of the planet

I just had that one happened with my latest, "Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot." It took a week to get the whole problem ironed out. And it all started because of a pdf instead of a jpg




http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Violence-1-Getting-shot-ebook/dp/B00O1DGQZU/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1X8BRTYW9N2HSM7SFDKK


Now the fact is, I'm kind of like a married man who's bitching about his wife, but when someone brings up divorce the answer is an unequivocal "NO!"  That's because Indie publishing is way better in so many ways. (And yeah, the money makes it worth it.)

I'm going to leave you with two things to chew over. Take a look at Writing Violence. First off, it's only $2.99. That's because it's only 50 or so pages.  It's not a book, it's a booklet on a specific topic. For a specific audience. I got sick and tired of movies and books where a character get shot and either flies backwards or falls down and dies right there. I also got fed up with magically disappearing bullets that miss the character and don't hit anyone or anything behind the character. So I sat down and decided to explain how getting shot works for a specific audience, writers. Viola! Instant and cheap resource for authors.

Now granted in the middle of trying to get it published I got a visit by the Angel of DUH! That's when I realized that people who carry guns for self-defense need this information too. For example have you ever heard of the Deadman's Ten? That's really important if someone is close enough to stab you. Because odds are good if you don't do something else than just shoot you'll be trading lethal damage. (That's why I say a pistol is not a defensive weapon. While it works wonders for stopping an attacker, it sucks for stopping an incoming attack)

Now "Getting Shot" is one in a series, but an author doesn't have to buy the 600 plus page beast  that is In the Name of Self-Defense.  Short, sweet to the point. You want specific information? There it is for a half hour investment and three whole bucks.

I tell you that to ask you: What kind of information do you know that people need? If you're daunted about writing a whole book, then ask this question:  What can you do a 30 or 40 page booklet on?  It's not that big of a deal to write a booklet.

Booklets are cheap to buy. Which hey, something I learned a long time ago.  I'd rather have a million people giving me a dollar than 3 people giving me $50,000.  If it's a topic that people want to know about, it's easy to get something out there these days.

The second thing is paying people to do this stuff.

The first thing I'm going to warn you against is finding someone who promises you one stop shopping. They'll do everything for you. They'll edit  it, format, design the cover, market it and make you millions -- all for the small price of $5,000.

No. Forget the one stop shopping idea -- especially when it comes to marketing. The only people who will do everything for you already have a name, a publisher. Now while you end up having scrapped knees and an aching jaw to get published, it should not cost you to be published by a house (although some houses are insisting that you provide pre-edited works). Publishers get paid by sales and they pay you. You don't pay them up front. (There's similar information about agents who charge fees to review your work.)

This brings us to paying reasonable fees for different people to provide reasonable services. You'll need to pay someone -- who knows what they are doing -- to design either front cover art (for e-pub only) or a full cover (front, back and spin) for print on demand. It also doesn't hurt to pay a professional copy writer for a back cover blurb.  You on the other hand are going to have run around and get your colleagues, friends and grandmother to say nice things you can use on the cover. You can pay for Amazon, Smashwords or CreateSpace to format your file or you can pay someone.  Let me tell you a trip through the US Copyright Office is fun.

Then turn your attention to marketing. There's a lot of stuff you can do on your own. Like social media. You may want to start a small webpage (many servers have web design services you can use).

Grab some books and acquaint yourself with these terms. You don't need to know everything. For example, doing a web page. That's a hireable skill. Hell odds are good that your internet provider has templates you can use. That's not what you need to know about. Keywords, meta-tags and things for getting your site higher search engine ranking, that's where you need to put your attention (if not money). A teenager with basic computer skills can design a webpage. It's the knowledge about getting that placement that you need to be paying for. I've seen way too many beautiful (and expensive websites) that have lousy search engine placement.


The really nice thing about indie publishing is you can do this over an extended period. You do the basic stuff first, then when royalties start coming in, you expand your marketing. You don't put all your eggs in one basket. If one venue isn't panning out, don't poor good money after bad. Change venues.

But most important pay for specific services. You're buying a book cover design and art. Not an editing service, book cover design and marketing promotion that will net you millions. Places that offer you everything often don't do a very good job of it and they make their money off aspiring writers. They promise you the moon, but the only people make money is them.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bleacher Thinking: Yay us! Boo them!



Imagine you're sitting at a high school football game. Yeah, I know, that's pretty old school right off the bat. But now we're really going to get into the Way Back Machine. Your set of bleachers sit across from the other team's.

Yay us! Boo them!

From where you're comfortably sitting in the middle of your side's bleachers you can  -- if you look -- see the entirety of the other team's bleachers. The significance of this is you can see the well behaved folks up front. You can see the dedicated fans in the middle and you can see the rowdy assholes up on top in and in the back.  

Now those folks in the back bleachers are the people who really are doing all the bad things that your cheerleaders (pundits and bloggers) are telling you that other side is 'all' about. (Yay us! Boo them!) You look and sure enough, that behavior is right there. Those people are saying and pushing for exactly what you're scared of -- or are convinced is such a social evil.

Conversely, that side is saying all kinds of horrible things about your side. Accusing your people of doing bad things too. How dare they! That's not true at all!

How do you know? From where you're sitting you see what your side is about. Those folks down in front are well behaved and reasonable. Sure the people whom you're sitting with may be passionate, but they're not about what the other side is accusing you of. These are reasonable concerns and reasonable solutions ...



For the record, a blind spot isn't just a place you can't see, it's you don't know you can't see it. And you're not going to see it, until you actively change your position -- even for just a moment. (It's kind of like looking in the mirror when you're driving to see what you can't see from your current position).

It is not until you turn around and look up at the back of your own bleachers that you see that the 'accusations' of the other side have a degree of truth.

Not the entirety mind you, but a degree. You've just seen the extremists of your own side for the first time. Those wild and exaggerated claims of what your side is doing is exactly what those folks back there are all about. They are doing what the other side is accusing your side doing. They are demanding an absolute and unreasonable conditions. And most of all, they are not willing to compromise. Hell, they don't want to come to the negotiation table with the other side. In fact, they're not even really willing to compromise with you. They want their way and fuck everyone else because they are RIGHT!

Are they whole of your movement? No. But just as you condemn the other side for the behavior of a small few, the other side is doing the same to you. Just as you make strawman arguments of the other side's position based on their rowdies, your side's extremists are giving people reason to dismiss your position.


And why shouldn't they? Let me explain why. When you look over your shoulder, it puts you at a crossroads -- a crossroads that is going to determine your credibility. It will demonstrate to others how 'intelligent and rational' you really are.

Or it's going to demonstrate that, at best, you're a liar. In the middle, it will convince people you secretly support the extremist position. At worst, your choice will show other that you are one of the people who are indeed doing what your side is being accused of. In short that you're untrustworthy.

The reason I say this is because you're going to be judged by what route you take from the crossroads.

Are you going to flat out refuse to look over your shoulder? In doing so deny that said bad behavior exists on your side. This while:
a) still condemning the other side's bad behavior
b) claiming the same kind of behavior constitutes the whole of that side's agenda.
c) calling anyone who sees your side's bad behavior a liar.
d) deny those people's experience because 'that's not what we're about' or 'well, I've never seen it.' ('personal incredulity' logical fallacy)

Are you going to look over your shoulder and then start to rationalize and excuse the behavior because that's not what 'real' _____ (insert group here) are about? (No True Scotsman/apologist.)

Or are you going to point to the other bleachers and decry that they're doing it too? In doing so justify your 'side's' bad behavior because 'they started it?'

Or are you going to minimize that behavior and dismiss it as unimportant? Or dismiss it as minor in comparison to the greater wrong and noble intentions of your side for trying  fixing said wrong?

Are you going to justify said because your side is so angry and outraged?  That this behavior is acceptable because of how strongly they feel? (These approaches are common branches apologist rhetoric tree)

Or are you going to say that they're not really with your group by making some kind of micro-division about them being left handed, purple haired ____ (insert group here)?

That last tactic is particularly weasel-ish. It goes beyond 'no true Scotsman' and -- outside your bleachers -- is the most damaging to your credibility. Not just with the 'other side' but with everyone.  Micro-division make perfect sense to people 'inside' a group, but to outsiders it's easier to dismiss the whole group. They're not about to waste their time with such shadings. Also this is a common dodge for people trying to benefit from extremism while pretending to be Little Bo Peep *

Now all those roads are comparatively easy. You just turn a blind eye and you stay safe inside the doctrine of your side. You can continue identifying yourself as a member of the elite fraternity of 'right thinking people.'

More than that a common reaction is to dig in deeper (hence move further up the bleachers). I liken this to turning around and starting to sing your side's anthem. This serves many purposes. First, you keep the tribal identifiers (Yay us! This is our song!) Second, the louder you sing your side's anthem, the more status you get from those in your bleachers. Third is in the exuberance and passion of singing your side's fight song you can conveniently forget what you saw about your own side's behavior. Fourth it revs you to keep the fight going -- instead of solving the problem

That fourth point sounds snarky, but it's way more accurate than snide. Let's be honest. Being passionate and involved with big issues is fun. It's exciting. You're changing the world. And man, isn't that power? You're getting praise from those on your side. You're getting attention. You're making a difference! Who wants that to go away? 



See if you are involved in the negotiation of a working compromise the problem goes away. When the game is over, everyone goes home. When that happens, you're no longer needed. You're no longer 'involved' in such big issues. You basically have to find a new hobby. Or, if you turned 'the cause' into a career, a new job.

Actual success means you'll become obsolete. This motivation to keep things going is very much the elephant in the room. It's also an important consideration when it comes to understanding why people are so steadfast against compromise and absolute in their conviction; when that's your attitude, the problem isn't solved. Which makes us ask: How much of this refusal to find a working solution is coming from -- what is in essence -- job security? Or as the case may be, hobby security?

This is why ignoring the back bleacher behavior effects your credibility. Even if people don't say anything. (And most won't. They'll just walk away.) They'll quit listening to you because either recognize you're less interested in solving the problem than keeping the game going. Or they'll think you're one of those barking moonbats and leave you to your ranting about the issue. They'll do this because they've lost trust in you.

Going back to the crossroads of having looked over your shoulder. When you really are interested in fixing the problem, the hardest road to take is the one where you first walk up to your own rowdies and say "You're not helping."  

I say hard because odds are good they'll turn their dragon's fire onto you. How dare you try to tell them how to behave to help the cause. You will be accused of everything under the sun. You'll be called a traitor to the cause, a turn coat. You'll be accused of being one of 'them' You will be targeted with hate, venom and abuse (mostly verbal and emotional, but physical isn't out of the question). Why? Because you will be considered guilty of betrayal. Humans treat betrayal very harshly. And this by the way will not only be from the rowdies from your side, but also those nice and reasonable people you were sitting with. **

Here's an important safety tip: If this is the reaction you're getting, it's not about the cause. It's about loyalty to the team -- right or wrong.  (If the idea of "my country right or wrong" makes your teeth itch, consider the same attitude about loyalty to your team.)

The second hard part of this process is sitting down with the moderates of the other side and acknowledging bad behaviors on both sides. Not blaming, not accusing, not denying, and not giving up, acknowledging. Then convincing those folks that you don't agree with your side's rowdy's bad behavior. You too find it unacceptable. You have to communicate you are actively trying to pull those folks leashes and -- most of all -- the other side can trust you not to let the barking moonbats have their way. In other words, you have to work twice as hard getting people from other groups to trust that your side will honor and abide to any agreements.

On the plus side, as a condition of negotiation, they have to pull the leashes of their own side's barking moonbats. This is both a sign of good faith and a serious warning if they refuse.

This hard path is critical because nothing will flush your credibility down the toilet faster than standing by mutely while someone from 'your side' abuses someone else. People don't remember your words, they remember your actions -- or in this case, lack of action. When one of your own starts misbehaving, your action or inaction will either show your true colors or paint you with the same brush.

So why would you want to risk all this?  Why should you look over your shoulder at your own side's behavior? You're right. You know you're right. You know your friends are right. What possible purpose would taking this big, bad horrible chance serve?

That answer comes in several parts. First is if life was truly as simplistic as only two teams (Yay us! Boo them!) then the fact that the other side doesn't like you doesn't mean much. The problem is that isn't how things really work.

There's more than just two sides. It's not just your side against the other side.

There are lots of different perspectives and considerations other than what your side thinks or the other side thinks. All of these influence the subject.  But more than different 'sides,' there are a lot of people who are independent -- they're on nobody's side.  Often such people see other considerations that undermine the positions of your side and the other side.



These independents are the people who you want to convince and sway. This is harder than you might think because they don't have the tribal identifiers -- ergo the automatic assumptions that your group's perspective is 'right,' much less reasonable.  You're actually going to have to explain, support your contentions, provide evidence and address other evidence. Evidence that  may undermine ideals you accept as unquestionable fact.

Unfortunately, a whole lot of what they see are legitimate 'oh that is a problem' Be warned, this in combination with you trying to explain your position can result in you actually having an open mind and understanding the issue. Not just saying it.  But recognizing that the issue is more complicated than you thought.  This is much more emotionally disturbing than you might think. Certainty and the comfort and safety of being firmly in the group evaporate.  (Which is what mostly bleacher thinking is about, not addressing the problem.)

Also, while we're talking about dealing with independents, now isn't the time to try to persuade them to join your side by pointing out the evils of the other side. Straight up, when they're talking to you, they don't care about past bad behavior of the other side towards you. What they care about is the bad behavior your side's rowdies have directed at them. The wrong doing done to you by a third party is less important to them than the wrong doing done to them by someone claiming to be from your party. If someone on your side has abused them, you're starting out with a credibility issue already by simply identifying yourself with that set of bleachers. Oh, and for the record, No True Scotsman and/or micro-divisions don't work to build your credibility. Sympathy, empathy and explaining how you're working to keep the barking moonbats on a leash does.

Now why in God's name would you want to take such horrible chances? Why should you leave the comfort and safety of the bleachers? Well the answer is down on the field. That's where the actual work and problem solving is getting done.

See most people never leave the bleachers. Or if they do they put on little cheerleading outfits and basically lead the "Yay us! Boo them" rah-rah booster club -- from in front of the bleachers. Thing about cheerleaders, sports announcers and sport show hosts is they aren't actually in the game. In fact, they're promoting and encouraging bleacher thinking. Sorry folks, your political commentator, talk show host or comedian is an entertainer, not someone working on the problem. In fact, he's the one making the money off your 'Yay us! Boo them!' attitude. His game isn't what's happening behind him. His game is facing the bleachers. The more tribal and whipped up he can get your side's bleachers, the more money and power over you he gets.

The truth of the matter is if we want to bring about change, solve problems or prevent them, we don't belong on the bleachers. We have to get up, leave the barking moonbats and our comfort zone behind, walk down the steps, past the cheerleaders and join the game. But if you join the game with the attitude of Yay us! Boo them! -- then everybody loses. There is no compromise, negotiation or even listening to the concerns of others. In other words: Nothing gets fixed because the different sides are too busy screaming they're right and everyone else is wrong.

Now obviously, the first thought about this article is about politics and great social issues. But the raw truth is it's about a lot smaller stuff too. Personal aspects of your life, job, social status and relationships with others. And yes, this includes the rowdies, because a lot of time we hide our own bad behaviors from ourselves behind a curtain of rationalizations of why it's okay to for us to do that. We hide from ourselves how often we give ourselves permission to let these bad aspects of ourselves run amok. If you want to know why people react negatively to you, don't like or trust you, take a look at what you're actually doing rather than being your own cheerleader.

M

* It's kind of like the Sinn Fien denied association with the Provisional Irish Republic Army. Yet the Sinn Fien reaped the benefits of the radical's actions while singing about their peaceful political intentions. That's the problem with you making micro-divisions, the only people who believe it are idiots. While those using it are deemed liars.  If you use this tactic, you immediately get put into one of those two categories.

** As an exercise -- both for seeing how much of what we believe is 'truth' is subjective and a litmus test on just how 'reasonable' the people you're sitting with really are -- try this experiment: For a week argue the other side of an issue. Not a strawman, but voice the legitimate concerns and problems the other side is on about. First is see what that does to your thinking and position about the subject. Second, Don't tell anyone that's what you're doing until after you're done.
Although I said a week, that will be hard. Stick it out as long as you can, but do not be surprised at the pressure you will put under to get back into line. (For the record, this is not some diabolical trap, it's actually Debate 101 -- where you are called upon to debate both sides of the issue.)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Demanding 'No Guns' in Businesses

There are a bunch of jpg's floating around where illegal activities are being encouraged against armed citizens and businesses who allow firearms. Putting it mildly, this seriously grinds my gears.  On the plus side, I figure if you're stupid enough to try and assault someone who is armed in 'political protest' that's just natural selection in action. What annoys me is the attempted bullying and threatening of businesses that is being done and -- in one jpg -- encouraging if you see a gun leaving without paying (which is a crime).  I'm disturbed because the one who loses here is the business owner.

Here's what I said to a bunch of people going 'yeah, yeah do it!'

********
First off, I highly recommend y'all don't have lunch here if you feel that making a scene -- much less breaking the law -- in the presence of an armed person is a good idea.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/colorado-restaurant-serves-big-helping-amendment/story?id=24652271

Rights come in bundles. Often these rub up against each other. That is where we must compromise and come up with a working solution.Falling under property rights (a big issue in our way of life) is the owner/legal holder can prohibit firearms on a property. If you don't want them in your home or place of business, then you have every right to say no.

Someone who insists, can be refused service (another right of the business owner) and if that person doesn't leave when asked is now trespassing. (A property right issue.) If said individual makes a scene that is disturbing the peace (criminal) and possibly menacing/committing assault (again, criminal).  But it's those other behaviors that are what is going to get him arrested, not bringing a firearm onto your property.

Conversely, people have the right to be armed -- within the boundaries set by property owners and limits of the statutes of the state. Concealed carry is a licensed practice, tactical consideration and -- most of all -- a courtesy to one's fellow citizens.  However, neither tactics or courtesy are mandated by law.

One of those pesky one bundle meets another situations is government can prohibit the possession of weapons in buildings they control, but are often mandated about providing and ensuring the safety of those they demand be disarmed. (For example in Colorado, yes you go through a metal detector in certain government buildings, but armed guards are also present. If they don't pay for it and provide, they can't prohibit.) Also, communication of this is a key element because bringing a weapon into such an area is actually breaking the law.

A property owner or business owner is not under this mandate. However in many states, if firearms are prohibited on private property, that information must be posted at the entrances. Again communication is the key. If a company policy is no guns, it must be posted. Otherwise you are likely to have employees and customers freaking out and calling the cops on customers who are legally carrying. Worse making up company policy on the spot without the consent of the owner.

'Mostly' you have the freedom to chose where to spend your money and which businesses to conduct transactions with.  (Some argue taxes and utilities are forced). Where you spend -- most -- of your money is not a right, it's a freedom. You are under no compunction to shop at _____ (fill in the blank). Here's a nice discussion on the difference
http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-right-and-freedom/

This brings up trying to blackmail a company/business owner into doing what you want them to do because you're threatening them with removal of your business.  Yes, you have that freedom, but you don't have that right. (And by that I'm talking about legal definition of rights,
http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/q167.htm
not the fucked up interpretation of positive and negative rights that is used to justify so much selfish, aggressive and hostile behavior
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights )*

As an individual you have the freedom to talk to a business owner about policy. You also have the freedom to threaten him with the removal of your business if he or she chooses to allow firearms into the establishment. BUT he or she has the right to agree or tell you to stick it into your ear. Your business is just as valid as anyone else's. Now the question is, what makes you think your business is so special that you demanding the business owner alienate a significant number of his customer base is worth it?

More than that, you demanding this puts the business owner between a rock and a hard place. Because of your making a fuss, business is going to suffer no matter what he or she chooses to do. (Unless of course you push hard enough to provoke a Chick-Fil-A response ... which can and does happen.) Often businesses who put up 'no gun' signs suffer a significant decline in business -- are you willing to make up the lost revenues?

But what grinds my gears --as a business owner -- is you are basically demanding that a business refuse service to your fellow citizens 'cause y'all don't like them kinda people. You'd be screaming in outrage if someone else demanded a company not do business with people because of race, religion, or sexual preference. And you'd be defending those people's rights -- you know 1st, 10th, 13th 14th, 19th, but somehow you want to deny people both service and their 2nd Amendment rights?

Bigotry much?

M

*Sneaky trick, a lot of people are using this 'philosophical' interpretation when they use the words "rights" not the legal interpretation. Often -- appalling enough -- they don't even know it. So when someone goes on about their 'rights' always make sure which definition they're using. Otherwise you're talking apples and ... wait, I'm going to have to lean over and squint to figure out what that is.