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Back Home & Further Thoughts on Houston

I have arrived back home from Houston. The flight was a little bumpy, but otherwise uneventful. Flying these days always seems to involve waiting, but we actually breezed through security at Intercontinental with no problem, after checking the sidearm. We had time to kill, so we stopped for some lunch at a Chili’s, amusing ourselves that they had posted a 51% sign out front, even though it was in the secure area of the airport. This Chili’s also only gave out plastic utensils, but would sell you a bottle of beer in the bottle. I guess none of the TSA bureaucrats have ever gone on a pub crawl in Glasgow after a soccer match lets out.

Houston was a great convention city. Given that I’ve done seven of these at this point, I feel I can critique. Saint Louis has been the only repeat city, and I’d only classify it as OK, but both times it’s broken records, including the one that just fell. I thought Phoenix was the best overall convention city until Houston, attendance numbers aside. Pittsburgh was the worst, with Louisville a good runner up for worst. The problem with Pittsburgh is the city can’t handle day trippers, which is most of attendance. The location has great potential, but they just can’t physically bring in people at a fast enough rate to set major records. Pittsburgh’s downtown area also epitomizes the word “rust belt,” and the hotels are spread out too much. Louisville can handle day trippers in spades, but the convention center is not where the hotel space is, and the split convention was kind of ridiculous. It was better for the day trippers, but sucked for anyone who wasn’t. Charlotte was a nice city, and a record breaker too, but too damned expensive. North Carolina carry laws at the time were obnoxious as well.

But overall, it’s always a great event. As I’ve said in the past, many of the people in this issue I have great respect and admiration for are approachable, down to earth, and fascinating people to speak with. We haven’t really formally organized anything for the past few years, but thing still happen on their own. Bob Cottrol came down to the press room for a while, and talked to a number of bloggers, for instance. And it’s not just Prof. Cottrol. How many anti-gun celebs, like Bloomberg, would offer to buy beers and share their cake? Yeah, right. But Michael Bane will (they surprised him with a birthday cake at the Michael Buys the Beer event). Those who came to that event also had an opportunity to meet Dave Kopel. Both Michael and Dave are now behind enemy lines in Occupied Colorado, though I think they both intend to do a great deal more than sit in the chair against the wall.

I can’t tell you that if you’re a rising star in social media, and attended NRA Annual meeting, you’ll be sipping drinks with Wayne LaPierre by the pool before you know it, but there are certainly interesting people to meet and speak with, and NRA has, for several years now, been willing to grant credentials to non-traditional media outlets. From there you can make your own opportunities. The Annual Meeting & Exhibits are in Indianapolis next year. If you do social or new media in the gun rights or gun arena, and are interested, e-mail me.

18 Responses to “Back Home & Further Thoughts on Houston”

  1. Shootin' Buddy says:

    Well, Mr. Critic, you should be very happy in Indianapolis.

    1. The Convention center is optimal and experienced with dozens upon dozens of conventions (FFA, National Science Teachers Association, Instrument Makers, Dentists, Machine and Tool Makers, etc.) of ongoing and past national events.

    2. Indianapolis is experienced for over 100 years with daytrippers coming to town with the Indy 500 and now NASCAR Brickyard. Cops know how to move traffic.

    3. Downtown Indianapolis is well-thought out, walking about is simple. Hotels a plenty (even connecting to Convention Center).

    4. Food? Gothca covered, Japanese, Cuban, German, Chinese, Indian, Thai, microbreweries, pizza, steak (the famed St. Elmo’s is very close to convention center). Just a jog up Meridian Street and turn to the right will bring you to the culinary wonders of Broad Ripple–where microbrewiers, pulled pork, Thai, sushi, name it abounds.

    5. Great museums: State Museum, WWI museum, IMS museum (where I used to work), USS Indianapolis monument, inter alia, if you have the time.

    6. Gun laws? What the hell are gun laws? Indiana recognizes ALL other states and foreign countries (Indiana Code 35-47-2-21(b)). Want a beer at the Legal Beagle or the Ram? Sure, bring your pistol(s) with ya. Oh, yeah, thanks to this year’s short session of the General Assembly, now you can carry your switchblades with you.

    7. Shooting ranges: we got em, but given Indiana’s rural/agricultural past (you want to shoot, boy? Just go outside town limits, it’s not far), ranges in Indy proper are few and far between so ensure that you make reservations if you want to pop caps in Indy.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yeah, from what I’ve heard Indianapolis is very well laid out. If you have good draft beer selections, you can beat Houston :)

      • Shootin' Buddy says:

        After the great success of the Superbowl in Indianapolis, the Chamber of Commerce was shocked to hear all the compliments regarding Indy’s layout. It was an asset that had not bolstered until then.

        Beer selections? Yeah, got you covered there too both downtown and in Broad Ripple.

      • Rob K says:

        Shootin’ Buddy covered Indy pretty well, but let me add to it. “…ranges in Indy proper are few and far between so ensure that you make reservations ANYWHERE BUT DON’S GUNS! if you want to pop caps in Indy.” You’ve probably heard of Don’s. Don’t go to Don’s.

        The Indy 500 is the world’s largest single day sporting event. They move around 300,000 people into and back out of IMS in a single day. Indy seemed to handle that super bowl thing last year adequately too.

        Depending on where you go. selections of draft beer will be large. Chumley’s up here in Lafayette has 50 taps. Almost everywhere has a couple of good local craft beers on tap, and we have *good* local craft beers.

  2. Robert says:

    We might actually be doing something about those stupid carry laws here in NC soon.

  3. Whetherman says:

    “Bob Cottrol came down to the press room for a while…you’ll be sipping drinks with Wayne LaPierre by the pool before you know it…”

    Star-struck, a little?

    A word to the wise…

    • Sebastian says:

      The purpose of the post was to convince other new media types to come out. What I’m saying is not to expect that because you grab a media badge, you’ll be sipping drinks with Wayne LaPierre by the pool. But we have plenty of other people in the issue who are very knowledgeable that are willing to sit down and talk. I don’t consider any of the academics in this issue to be “stars,” not even within the issue. They’ve gotten where they are through their works, rather than through just being well known. I’ve learned quite a bit through following their academic work, and also through conversation, and think other people ought to take advantage of the opportunity if they want to develop a deeper understanding of the body of work that surrounds the Second Amendment.

  4. craig says:

    Glad you enjoyed Houston. We locals should note, however, that we were blessed with an unusual (for May) spate of cool and dry chamber-of-commerce weather, thanks be to God. Normally it would be about twenty degrees hotter.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yeah. I’ve been to Houston often. I have friends there. Nicest it’s even been on any of my previous visits. Usually when I get off the plane and go outside, it’s like getting mugged by a damp carpet and a hair dryer.

  5. Anonymous Lurker says:

    Where will the convention be held next year?

  6. Zermoid says:

    In reference to the 51% sign, I guess that Taxas doesn’t allow guns in places that serve alcohol?

    But What exactly does the 51% refer to? 51% of Texans carry? What?

  7. All bars have to post the 51% sign (if they do more than 51% of revenue in alcohol) even if they are at a point where you couldn’t legally carry anyway, that is just TABC rules.

    • Bitter says:

      We did assume it was to comply with state law, but it is still funny to see since that location is directly in front of the security checkpoint.

  8. ecurb says:

    Welcome home guys.
    SB, if you ever need a job just link that post to the Indianapolis chamber of commerce. You sure know how to sell the city to people!

    Sipping drinks by the pool with Wayne LaPierre sounds both boring and weird. Good thing reality is less glamorous, I guess?

    • Sebastian says:

      I was just thinking of some stereotypical schmoozing scenario. Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’d want to see Wayne in a bathing suit. Either way, reality is I’ve shaken the guy’s hand a few times at events. At most he recognizes us as people he’s seen around, but he doesn’t know us to say hi. I know the ILA folks far better, since they are the ones who deal with bloggers.

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