Take it for what it’s worth

Update: I called the VOSH office this morning. The person I needed to speak with didn’t answer the phone so I left a voice mail. She never returned my call. I tried again later but still got voicemail. In the meantime, I spoke with the management of A&P arms and got their side of the story. It is an interesting tale. I’m considering a FOIA request to the VOSH office to get to the bottom of this. I’ll pass on more info as I get it.

I’ve been going back and forth over the past few days with a gentleman who left a derogatory comment about A & P Arms in Virginia Beach the other day.

” DONT SUPPORT A & P ARMS OF HAMPTON AND VA BEACH!!! CHECK OSHA WEBSITE ON THEM!”

I have spoken nicely about the Virginia Beach A & P Arms in the past. Because of their distance from my home, I haven’t patronized their business often, but the few times I’ve been there, I’ve been pleased, their prices are reasonable, their staff was friendly and helpful and I’ve never felt the slightest bit of sales pressure when visiting them.

However, the charges that the commenter leveled were pretty serious. I would hate to think that someone’s health or safety were endangered because they patronized an establishment that I recommended. Therefore, if this information is true, I wanted to publicly comment on it.

However, I’ve never been one to just mindlessly parrot unsubstantiated charges levied against reputable businesses with which I have been pleased in the past; therefore, I took up his challenge. First I ran a Google Search of OSHA + A & P Arms and found nothing. Since I couldn’t verify the alleged OSHA violations, I e-mailed him at the hotmail address that he left as a contact point on his comment.

Please expound on your comment. What OSHA web site on A&P.

I googled OSHA A&P ARMS and found nothing but business plan type info. I also went to the main OSHA page and searched for A&P and A&P Arms and found nothing interesting. Exactly what are you talking about?
Link please?

Thanks,

Curtis
aka Sailorcurt
Captain of a Crew of One.

His reply:

OSHA inspection # 310986401 on 3/23/07 issued to A & P on 6/14/07. It should by law be posted in plain view at their shop as well. If you can’t find the VA Dept of Labor’s OSHA website try
http://www.dli.state.va.us/whatwedo/enforcement/vosh_enforcement.html

Are you a former employee, still affiliated with A & P or just concerned about OSHA?

Let me know

Thanks

So, I went to the link he provided and searched for that inspection number…searched for any and all inspections on A&P Arms, searched for any inspections on any gun dealers in this area and a few other variations. I actually found an OSHA inspection on A&P from 2005 but it had no violations listed. I also ran across inspections from earlier years on Superior Pawn and Bob’s Gun Shop that both listed violations regarding lead contamination. But I found nothing on the 2007 inspection that the commenter was referring to.

In the meantime, I assured him that I was not affiliated with A&P arms and apologized if my initial email gave him the impression that I was being defensive.

After still failing to find any information, I e-mailed him again:

I’m still not finding this particular inspection. When I search for that inspection number I get “no results found”.
When search for A & P Arms, I find one inspection in 2005 with no violations.

I searched for all businesses in Virginia with the industry code “79xx” which is what the gun shops seem to be listed under and I found inspections in 2004 on bob’s gun shop with a few violations for lead and one in 2005 on Superior Pawn and Guns in 2005 with a few lead violations but the only one I can find on A&P is still the 2005 inspection with no violations.

Maybe I’m just not using the search functions correctly but I just can’t find any information on the inspection you describe. Where did you hear about it? Maybe I can track it down by following the source of the info.

Thanks again.

At that point, it started getting a little surreal:

I have to ask you what you’re intentions are with this?

The easiest way for you to see the violations is to visit the establishment because by law they have to post it. Let me know as you’ve got me curious.

Also I have no idea who I am talking to so that would help. I can trace your IP to Hampton Roads but haven’t dug any deeper…..yet….

Let me know

Is it just me, or does that last statement about him not having “dug any deeper…yet…” seem like a veiled threat? Well, that’s the way I took it anyway:

My intentions are pretty simple. I will not form an opinion based upon unsubstantiated information. You came to MY blog and left a comment which leveled a serious charge against a company with which I have done business in the past and which I have endorsed in the past.

If your charge is true, then my endorsement may have been inappropriate and I may have to withdraw that endorsement…but I’m not going to do that because some guy whom I don’t know comes onto my blog and fires off an accusation with no supporting evidence. So far, I have found no evidence in support of the charges that you have made.

You don’t know who I am? My full name and city and state of residence are on the blog upon which you commented. Yet you hide behind a cryptic hotmail address and leave an html link that goes back to a company web site for a company that apparently doesn’t even have an office in this STATE, let alone in the general area of the company against which you are speaking.

It is not relevant who I am, YOU sir, are the one who are making accusations and all I’m trying to do is verify the veracity of YOUR accusations. What is relevant is who the ACCUSER is…and what evidence supports or disproves the accusations. After this email I am beginning to become suspicious of your motivations. Do you have some underlying animosity toward A & P Arms? Is your charge even true? It hasn’t stood up to the limited scrutiny I have applied so far. Are you afraid that I may be a representative of A & P Arms and may be preparing litigation against you? Again, I remind you…YOU came to MY blog and left that comment. I did not seek you out. And if you are so concerned about the identity of someone who is asking nothing more than for you to provide some evidence of a serious charge that you have leveled, is it indicative that you actually NEED to fear litigation? If your charge isn’t actually true, perhaps A & P arms management would be interested that someone is leaving libelous comments in public view? I remind you, that when you leave a comment, YOUR IP address is also recorded.

“I haven’t dug any deeper…yet” Was that a threat sir? I am a US military veteran of 21 years. I don’t know who you think you are dealing with but threats don’t intimidate me, and they don’t frighten me…what they do is piss me off.

Now. You used MY blog to level a serious charge against a local business. I asked for nothing more than for you to substantiate that charge. If you can do so, I ask you to do so now. If you cannot, then kindly keep your libelous opinions to yourself or I will submit your comment, this thread of e-mails, your IP and e-mail addresses and my advice that litigation may be warranted to the management of the company that you have maligned.

Most Sincerely,

Curtis Stone

While I was composing that missive, he sent another e-mail asking if I am the owner of C-2 Shooting Center. I posted a review of their facilities which was the post that he left his original comment on. I answered that I am just a blogger who likes to share information but will not share unsubstantiated information.

Then he responded to my slightly outraged email:

Figures a squid to get all worked up… Let’s remember whom came off as abrasive first. [emphasis in original]

All I meant that I hadn’t traced your IP to the backbone you are on, no threats, just trying to figure out who you were. By utilizing hotmail I can also utilize proxy servers all over to mask my posts. I’m a veteran as well, kidding on the squid comment but I was Network Control at the Pentagon and know enough on the net to be a danger to myself!

The reason for my posts are quite simple as I mentioned in packing.org. I wish I could upload the report to the site their for all to see. If you call OSHA they will send you a report, otherwise wait until mine makes it way back. It’s doing it’s own victory dance around the folks I shoot with.

I will happily substantiate but you should see by others that have posted similar experiences as well. They are a hateful crowd over there, never seen anything like it in my life.

As far as litigation there is no need. The report I will forward you will substantiate all claims made about the severe OSHA violations.

The reason for my animosity is simply because I don’t want A & P to know where all of this came from. I initiated most of the investigations. I work closely with local and State government to include LE. I guarantee my credibility. Simply wait for the file and you can take it from there wherever you like. I just don’t want A & P hit men following me around. I’m always packing but with those guys over there, you never know. It’s more of a keep my family safe thing since they have my name on a sale ticket!

So ATC Stone, please wait. I will back up my post. If you feel the need to get it earlier I suggest you contact the number at the site I sent you to for reports.

TSGT JAS

I guarantee my credibility.

Oh…well in that case, I guess Mr. JAS’ credentials are impeccable…I mean it’s not like anyone has ever misrepresented who they are on the internet or anything…

And all that talk about Proxy servers, working at the Pentagon and having contacts in government and Law Enforcement…also the unnecessary reference to his “shooting crew” in an earlier email…A & P Arms employs “hit men”? Let’s just say that these were beginning to carry more than a passing resemblance to your typical “Mall Ninja” with a bone to pick. Perhaps someone at A & P called his bluff and hurt his feelings? Who knows.

In any case, he did provide a pdf to the alleged citations issued to A&P Arms. Since today is a holiday I can’t verify them, but rest assured, I’m going to call tomorrow to check out the validity of this report.

In any case, the citations don’t seem all that egregious to me. Typical OSHA stuff. Failure to provide a working emergency shower and eyewash where chemicals were being used. Failure to train employees on proper use of Protective Equipment, excessive lead contamination on horizontal surfaces (no one would EVER expect that at a shooting range, now would they). Basically, the types of violations that I would expect to see and nothing that would pose an imminent danger to customers…like inoperative ventilation in the range and such.

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the report he sent me. It seems to be in the proper format, has the correct addresses and phone numbers for the local VOSH office etc. The only thing that raises any doubt is that the report is not available on the OSHA web site, whereas other reports from the same time frame are available. This may only indicate that the Norfolk Office has been lax in getting the report to the Feds so it is not definitive evidence. Assuming that the Norfolk office verifies the validity of this report when I call them tomorrow, I’ll update this post with a link to the report so that readers can look at it themselves and draw their own conclusions.

However, I have to call into question the motivations of the person who is drawing so much attention to this report. He came across to me as someone with an overly inflated ego simply out to damage the reputation of a company with which he has an axe to grind. The final straw in giving me this impression is the statement that he made regarding proxy servers and hotmail to mask his identity. He even went so far as to say that the IP that I had on him he had “piggybacked” from COX and said that the area he lives doesn’t even have COX internet service. What made that so interesting is that, in checking my traffic logs and finding a referral to my post by packing.org, I found this post…presumably by the same person:

jsavage@cox.net

7 total posts
User rating: 3
Send mail:
– packingEmail

Posted Jul 3, 2007 @ 7:40 pm EDT
RE: the range side

gw@thebeach wrote:

may shut down, but the pawn shop side will keep them going.

They make the majority of their loot in ammo and range fee’s. The average regular at that place hangs maybe 90 minutes, the weekly for about an hour. Their mark up on guns is competitive as compared to the rest of the beach give or take $20 here and there.

BUT…..YOU’RE BREATHING TOXIC LEVELS OF LEAD IF YOU SHOOT THERE!

I had one personal reply to this post from a retired Squid Veteran asking for verification of this. Even threatened passing the information to A & P (Oh No!) so I sent Popeye a copy of the most recent OSHA report fresh off the fax. If anyone else wants to review it by all means please let me know. It’s a small PDF file.

Stay safe, carry

[Emphasis added]

Notice the cox.net email address? Also, the originating IP of every email he sent throughout the course the day, as well as the origin IP of the comment he left on my blog the day before were all the same. So, either he always “piggybacks” the same COX IP address AND he lied to packing.org about his cox.net email address, or…as is MUCH more likely…after I responded to his veiled threat by reminding him that I have his IP address too, he flat out lied about “piggybacking” that IP through a COX proxy server.

Now I ask you…someone who will lie about something as easy to check out as that is trustworthy for what reason??? I would have to say that this entire episode is suspect at best. This, again, seems to me like your standard issue Mall Ninja with a bruised ego initiating a vendetta against the company that pissed him off.

But, take it for what it’s worth. Evaluate the evidence for yourselves and make up your own minds. I don’t want to dismiss it out of hand on the off chance that there is some validity to his complaints…but I’m a bit too skeptical to wholeheartedly endorse his flogging of A & P Arms.

As an aside, my son is 20 and is currently in the process of figuring out what kind of handgun he’d like to purchase for protection next year when he turns 21. He was just at A & P this week (he had no idea that I had been involved in this ongoing discussion) and said he was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was as compared to Superior Pawn and Gun where he usually goes. He didn’t notice any problems with the ventilation or range conditions and was quite satisfied with his experience. He also told me that the staff was very professional and friendly, let him try out several different guns for one rental fee, explained the differences to him and helped him form his own opinions rather than trying to tell him what his opinions should be. Exactly what I look for in a gun shop staff. In short, he was very pleased with his experience with A & P Arms.

FWIW

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