Employment. Options. Relief.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I was excused from my job on January 15, due to no fault of my own, but because of a massive slow down in sales. As a side note, why is it that when sales slow, the company never takes it out on the sales department? I really should have seen it coming. Sales slowed and plateaued towards the end of 2007. It was uncomfortable, but manageable. Due to much effort, mine in particular, we were able to control inventory levels and thus reduce overhead to the point that we could continue business as usual otherwise. It took A LOT of work to control inventory to the just-in-time level. My biggest shortcoming is that I didn’t let anyone know exactly how hard I was working to keep it there, and what a delicate balance it was to not have stuff on the shelf until it was needed for manufacture. Then, about half-way through 2009, sales largely flat-lined. They took another deep dip, and the necessary, bold, creative efforts required to increase the market share were not considered, much less implemented. The word we were given is that if things did not improve, we would each take a 20% cut in pay and work one day less per week on a rotating basis, so that we could still stay open five days a week. This did not occur. Instead, twenty-five percent of the staff were excused and the remaining seventy-five percent took a 15% cut in pay, working the same hours. I don’t know who was involved in the decision to let me go, but I can’t help but feel offended at the obvious lack of appreciation. I certainly wasn’t part of that discussion. My selection in the lay-off group tells me that I was viewed as of lesser-value than my co-workers, and I object to that. I don’t know why the owners made the decision they did, but I’m sure they had their good reasons. I honestly do hope that things work out for them and they are able to get back on track from this awful recession. But, if they call to see if I want to come back, I’m not sure that I can. I’m afraid that in the back of my mind, I’ll always be wondering if I’m the second-class, ‘expendable’ employee. I deserve much better and owe myself better than that.

Anyway, if you have been reading my blog, you also know that Jenni and I have made a hard push on the custom holster business. I had been making custom holsters on the side for well over a year, but decided to attempt to push it into being a full-time business in lieu of outside employment. Deep, heart-felt thanks to great people like The Tam, SayUncle, Stranger – who shall henceforth be known as “Friend”, “Zack” James Zachary, and Caleb, just to name a few – using their mad linkiness, and honoring me as the guest on Gun Nuts Radio, pimping my leather (that doesn’t sound right does it); and, most importantly, thanks to my wonderful wife who had the crazy, mad idea to email some of these people asking for the help in the first place; the holster push was an unprecedented success, even if not unprecedented enough to actually pay the bills, and I was able to write this increcibly long sentence, which may actually be the longest to date on my personal blog. :-)

It is by no means to say that I have any intention of throwing in the towel on The Holster Site, but neither should it be a secret that I have been seeking more traditional employment as well. The fact of the matter is that in the last three weeks, I’ve sold as many holsters as I did in my first year in holsters as a hobby. That is nothing less than incredible. Still, in order to think about making it a living, I’d need the volume to be four to five times that level – minimum. I know that posted pricing and an embedded payment method on the site would help immensely towards this. That is still part of my plan with The Holster Site.

I have applied for multiple jobs, fought with the unemployment office’s website, gave a few interviews, negotiated pay scales, saw a couple of jobs dead-end after all that, and just this morning reported for a second interview at a well-established company. I was given an attractive offer in this second interview. As of Monday, I will be starting my 90-day consultation with this company. My commute will be less than two miles, as opposed to over twenty. My responsibility will be to aid in designing a position to aid in operations planning as the company launches a program to grow and expand. At the end of the consultation, we will have a meeting and make a mutual decision on whether I will fill that position or move on. I like this idea! It sounds like an exciting project that may lead to a great job, or allow me an out if it’s not really what I want to do.

The bottom line is this – The Holster Site isn’t going anywhere. My most exciting, most beautiful designs are yet to be conceived, and I have plans to use materials that I’ve never used before – some that to my knowledge have never before been utilized in the holster industry. Every week, I will be working on holsters, expanding on some of my already great designs, and drawing new ideas. There will be more race holsters as well as all-new pocket holsters and shoulder rigs. I will start working with exotic leathers such as kangaroo, snake, eel, stingray, ostrich, and frog. I will work with new guns, branching out into the minuscule .380’s and the big, S&W X-frame revolvers. I will feel the waters of full-custom, cowboy action rigs. There will be reload carriers for magazines, speed loaders, moon clips, and speed strips. I am developing a design for a multi-purpose belt that will be like nothing you have seen before. Prepare yourself to see some wickedsickawesome designs, because they are coming. I will also continue to push the envelope on color combinations, and will always seek to make the holsters more rugged, more durable, and more usable. My ultimate goal is for my holster to be the most beautiful, most elegant, and yet the toughest holsters that money can buy.

If at the end of the 90-day project which starts Monday, the holster sales have not significantly increased, and I can reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement with the company, I’ll go full time with them, and continue to make holsters in my off-time, but in a much greater volume than I have in the past. However, if at that point the holster gig has turned into a demand that I can’t give divided attention to, I’ll fulfill my three-month contract and excuse myself to honest self-employment. Frankly, I think it sounds like fun either way.

So, thank all of you for your prayers and support. Thank you for keeping my family in your thoughts. Thank you for ordering holsters. Please wish me luck as I start this next chapter, this next adventure in life’s journey. I’m sure I’ll have more to report soon. Needless to say, this weekend the family and I will be doing some celebratory shooting!

Gun Nuts!

Tonight, at 2000 my time (Central Time Zone), I will be the guest on Gun Nuts to talk about my holsters! I’m really stoked about this, as this may be the push I need to really make a living out of this endeavor! Caleb sounds really stoked about the holster I made for him, even if he hasn’t yet seen it in real life…

The holster can be seen here. Make sure to read the comments! Note that last sentence:

That is EXACTLY what I had in mind.

Folks, that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. That’s my goal in this business. I want to make holsters for people. I’m not at all trying to make holsters that you can buy, I’m trying to pull the most fantastic creations out of your head and make them reality.

Anyway, please tune in to Gun Nuts this evening and hear me stutter and ramble on live broadcast! (J/K, of course!) It ought to be fun!

Deliberate Wounding

On his email list on 2/5/10, John Farnam wrote:

Excellent response to a common question from naive students, “Why can’t I just shoot him in the leg?”

… from a colleague:

“Deliberately launching high-velocity missiles, from a firearm, in someone’s direction, necessarily represents a voluntary employment of ‘deadly-force.’ Your sincerely articulated ‘intended outcome,’ for the most part, ceases to be relevant once you press the trigger!

I’m not sure why so many apparently fail to grasp the foregoing, when they simultaneously claim to understand perfectly why they are shooting someone in the first place! When defending yourself with gunfire, it is always because you perceive an imminent, deadly threat to yourself (and/or other innocent parties), and other, lesser options are precluded, ie: unlikely to be efficacious, unavailable, or not practicable.

Any time you shoot someone, you are employing ‘deadly-force,’ because no one can accurately predict the ultimate damage a bullet (any kind of bullet, striking anywhere on the body) will do. You may attempt a shot to an extremity, and you may even be successful, but your bullet may still sever an artery, and, as a direct result, the person may bleed to death in short order, even when that outcome was not your ‘intention.’ Even when death does not result immediately, permanent disablement/impairment/disfigurement surely will. No one ever ‘recovers completely’ from a gunshot wound!

Deadly force is deadly force. Know and understand that you cannot shoot anyone in a ‘non-deadly’ manner!

In defensive shooting, our goal is, of course, to end the criminal’s violent behavior as quickly as possible. To that end, we shoot with sufficient precision and volume to accomplish the goal. After that goal is accomplished, additional shooting is unnecessary, and thus unjustified.

The incontrovertible, inescapable maxim is: Shot placement that is most likely to stop violent, criminal behavior quickly is also most likely to beget fatal wounds. For better or worse, the two outcomes are inseparably linked! Accordingly, purposely attempting to inflict ostensibly non-fatal wounds may well actually prolong the fight, exacerbating risk-exposure yourself, other innocent parties, even the VCA himself.

In addition, attempting to hit arms or legs of an aggressively animated attacker represents a far greater challenge, even for competent marksman, than does aiming for the chest and trunk. Thus, attempting to ‘shoot him in the leg’ is unlikely to be successful to begin with!

You must, at long last, confront the unavoidable fact that employing gunfire in self-defense, no matter your intent, is likely to result in forceful death, or permanent, crippling injury, to the VCA in question. Who cannot
accept, nor deal with, that stark reality, should have naught to do with guns!

Trying, in the face of the foregoing, to convince yourself that ‘shooting him in the leg’ is an appropriate force-response to a lethal, personal attack is delusional in the extreme! It is identical to the self-deceptive concept that a nation can print its way to prosperity, or that death, pain, and suffering, in general, can all be legislated out of existence.

Only cretins and children believe that!

‘Shooting with charity’ is thus an absurd contradiction! Who believe it are destined for a short and unhappy life!”

Comment: Years ago, the false concept of deliberately wounding an attacker with gunfire was actually taught in some circles. No one, with any credibility, teaches it today.

/John

As many times as I’ve tried to state the same point, I’ve never been able to say it so fully and yet plainly. This was simply too good to not pass on.