Larry Vickers, SpongeBob, and AR15.com

It should go without saying that the Internet is often the scene of high drama.

Anonymity, fragile egos, and testosterone combine to result in plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth – rarely with any sort of positive resolution.

A recent example of this was the reaction on AR15.com to a video posted by Daniel Defense. In it, Larry Vickers, who is currently employed as Daniel Defense’s spokesman, compares his life experiences to “someone who repairs laser printers by day, secretly watches SpongeBob SquarePants during the evening, and spends half the night arguing with other assclowns on AR15.com”.

Perhaps understandably, this caused a reaction on AR15.com. It was – although hindsight is 20/20 – ill-advised for Daniel Defense to have posted the video. As many have rightly pointed out, much of DD’s customer base is composed of people who work “normal” jobs for a living – people who might actually repair laser printers and watch SpongeBob (I had to look the show up in order to determine whether that was one word or two).

However, it was, at least to me, delivered in a humorous fashion. I have a leg up on a lot of people on AR15.com in this regard because I’ve taken a pistol/carbine class from Larry Vickers, and know that that is the sort of line he’d deliver to a class. Frankly, it’s pretty tame compared to a lot of his one-liners.

Many folks on AR15.com didn’t know that. Some wrongly ignored those who had met him or knew him and kept saying, essentially, “it was a joke, relax.” The discussion, at times, got fairly heated.

The thing is, though, it was actually quite true. It was a statement that everyone knows is true but just didn’t want to hear (well, some people probably wanted to hear it).

AR15.com is a great website because everyone is welcome to participate – the site’s owners have an “open arms” policy that has proven to be immensely successful. So many different people post on the forum that you can ask a question about pretty much anything and have an amazingly accurate answer within hours, if not minutes.

However, that blade cuts both ways. Because everyone is welcome to post – from industry professionals to high school students – and because the site is quite large compared to other AR-related forums – you’ll often have to wade through a fair amount of misinformation in order to get an accurate answer. In addition, those who continually post blatant misinformation in the technical sections of the website are rarely, if ever, reprimanded – let alone removed. If they are banned, it’s for conduct code violations – which have nothing to do with spreading misinformation. On some of the smaller, more focused forums, those folks generally don’t last 5 posts.

Beyond that, recognized industry professionals get tired of being harassed and insulted by anonymous posters that have quite literally been high school juniors with zero relevant knowledge or experience. If you are an AR15.com team member and therefore have access to the archive search function, do a search for some common topics – the amount of knowledge that was present on the forum four or five years ago is simply astounding. From carbine course instructors to the “captains of industry” who have an astounding amount of knowledge to share – and share they did – the site was a cornucopia of knowledge, an unparalleled resource.

Today, though, many of those folks have left. They’ve been drawn away to quieter forums where they are recognized and respected for their knowledge. Now, some might say that they need to be “big boys” and deal with the crap thrown at them. In fact, that and more have been said – one poster even went so far as to say that they were “stupid” to have left.

Well, when dozens of people whose time is quite valuable – for which they are often paid hundreds of dollars per hour – decide to leave, a problem becomes obvious. That’s not to say that AR15.com is currently devoid of knowledge, far from it – just that it has experienced a “brain drain” as men who have been designing and fighting with AR-platform weapons for decades tire of debating simple truths with anonymous and childish forum members with little knowledge and even less respect.

This is why AR15.com is often derided in professional circles, not just on other forums, where a natural rivalry might develop and lead to minor disagreements or tit-for-tat insults. The concept of being derided by the stereotypical fifteen year old posting from his mother’s basement does not appeal to industry professionals.

Hopefully, some good can come out of it. Daniel Defense and Larry Vickers have separately released statements apologizing for the video, which is a good PR move, without a doubt. I’m afraid, though, that too many folks will see it as some sort of admission of guilt, won by the “hive mind” via a disorganized “firemission”, and move on without seeing it for what it really was – the ugly truth delivered in one short joke.

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23 Comments

Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

23 responses to “Larry Vickers, SpongeBob, and AR15.com

  1. Bill

    Simple fact was “all” those who got offended were the people he was talking about. If they weren’t before they became them in the drama that unfolded. I thought it was funny because it is too true. I have spent time on other boards that I don’t post on at all because I don’t rate. Others I only spoke from my experience to help other in the navy (or joining) not make the same training mistakes I did when training for BUD/S. I helped a few and came across another guy that ended up with the same injury. Point is, I knew what I was talking about.

    I like ARF.com but it was very apparent in a few short time that it is full of knowledgeable people hidden amongst the guy who “once saw a guy with what looked like what you are asking about…” I guess post count is more important then actual knowledge at times…

    Much respect to Mr. Vickers (Didn’t think he should have wasted his time with the apology, I’d been pissed to write something like that. I’ve had to suck it up and write a similar ‘apologize’ that I didn’t mean and it sucks. Job was on the line though.)

    I like SpongeBob, kids and all 😉
    Can’t fix a printer though
    I kid, kid… but it’s true I can’t fix a printer.

  2. Ah come on! Where’s the video link? 🙂

  3. farmboy7.62x51

    …ar-15 is full of ass clowns!! lol This blog has way better information without all the bull shieza…

  4. SoulTown

    I’m not surprised that people got offended by it. Truth hurts.

  5. Zef

    Oh god that was funny! I’m posting it on Facebook! lol.

    Ahhh, I miss Larry’s remarks, he’s so entertaining.

    Everyone should take at least one of his classes, later!

    -Zef

  6. ntxyankee

    This is not a comment but a question …
    I am aware of AR15.COM and M4Carbine.net.
    Are there other AR platform forums out there and what are they. I would like to take a look at them to increase my knowledge of the AR platform.

  7. Chris

    There is a reason ARFCOM has the reputation it has.
    I stick to the Hometown forums and the Equipment Exchange.
    Rarely do I go to the Tech forums and I never go to the General Discussion forums.

    The childishness the staff and mods have towards M4C is annoying and they make Vickers’ point abundantly clear.

    My time is spent on M4C and Lightfighter.
    Wealths of real, solid information there.

  8. tcba_joe

    You’re right. This thing was stupid on so many levels. However, I’ve never met LAV in person and even I could tell it was a joke.

    I follow a lot of different forums, and ARF is by far my favorite. Many of the other forums don’t get the volume that ARF does, and most harbor some type of bitterness toards ARF.

    One great example of pissing on subject matter experts was a thread entitled” What parts break in a carbine course”, where Pat Rogers was posting excellent advice. He was run off by a couple of posters challenging his knowledge and expirience. He had more important things to do than post on an online forum and it was great to share his insight, and some people couldn’t handle being wrong.

  9. Chris K.

    Like Titleist said on M4C “this is the marketing equivalent of yelling ‘Hey Stupid’ and seeing who turns around.”

    Its a self identifying group of assclowns that deserves all of the derision it receives.

    M4C, Weaponsevolution.com and warriortalk are my haunts.

  10. MarkM

    It cuts both ways. I’ve run across my share of those accused of being professional who insist it can only be they way they learned, and no other way is possible. If your experience doesn’t validate theirs, you are the problem, not them.

    They can be valorous combat vets, but never developed other skills of introspective thought and analysis. A life filled with targets and team tactics could mean a shortage of engineering, alternate uses, and a lifestyle most others live in daily – condition white. They never seem lower than condition orange.

    It should go without saying they are largely employed to sell their services or products. For the young adult male, questioning their motivation won’t happen, but others with a long career in the civilian marketplace and military service, who point out the hype and merchandising, will be treated as a threat or worse. It shouldn’t be surprising, but it is.

    Frankly, they sometimes bring it on themselves. Their point of view has narrowed considerably due to focused training, and the advance of time. They are no longer generalists, and that is what was thrown at them.

    They were being asked to tolerate what an auto parts counterman has to put up with hourly – questions from the totally clueless, while an unknown veteran waits next in line. Using just the written word, there’s no way to tell them apart. It’s tough enough seeing them in real life, where the customer always thinks they are right. That’s NOT the military environment they are used to. Oops, it’s America, Do What I Tell You expires on a kid’s eighth birthday. After that, you have to use reason.

    Yes, sometimes the level of question is so fundamental and put in such flawed terms it’s laughable. Who is left to deal with it may or may not be the best, but that’s what we have now.

    • Andrew (Vuurwapen Admin)

      “It cuts both ways. I’ve run across my share of those accused of being professional who insist it can only be they way they learned, and no other way is possible. If your experience doesn’t validate theirs, you are the problem, not them.”

      Yeah, I have experienced this – ironically, during an LAV course. It was money well spent, but he kept correcting me on something that didn’t slow me down or affect my shooting one bit. On the other hand, him focusing on that gave me the impression that I wasn’t messing up the more important stuff.

      However, I think it was the little stuff that got to these folks – you know, people insisting that SEALs use Kobra red dots and that Vulcan actually makes “the machine guns of the special forces” and stuff like that.

  11. John K.

    I don’t frequent AR15.com but based on my experience with GT, which used to be a very different place back in the day, I think I know why he’s frustrated. I guess the quagmire here is that, in order to run a large, ad-supported forum you need growth but with that comes the always vociferous crowd that mistakes the latest Halo game for an instructional aid.

  12. I want to see the video now…

  13. Talk about no sense of humor…

    I’m more pissed off about his Sponge Bob comments. What’s wrong with Sponge Bob?!? Just try to get your laser printer repaired next time bubba!

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81132315/

  14. armednhappy

    Personally, I don’t have time to be offended by anyone on the internet. I have bigger fish to fry, and honestly, the number of people who’s opinion truly matter to me, I could count on one hand.

    This whole thing was blown out of proportion.

  15. Dan

    I read somewhere (M4C?) that this whole thing is like yelling into a room, “hey idiot” and seeing which people turn around. They are self-identifying.

    I thought it was funny and I am one of those guys he was making fun of… The kids and I watch SpongeBob all the time. I don’t think I could fix a scanner, but I am good with tools. The only difference is that I am a regular jerk, not an internet one.

  16. Charles

    I have never met “LAV” but his words are exposed as a total shill when he announces the new special edition LAV carbine from Daniel Defense and his joint venture to produce videos with the company. He gets paid by DD. Of course he is going to say their stuff is great.

  17. Erik

    I can’t argue with much of what Vickers said- plenty of nonsense on ARFCOM especially the ‘General Discussion’ section. It lowers your IQ to read/participate in that idiocy. However, just because it’s true doesn’t make it wise to publicly state. Insulting your customer base is never a good approach since those ‘Assclowns’ are mostly the ones buying your product. Unless you subscribe to ‘any publicity is good publicity’ marketing, I would say this was a poor business decision.

  18. Chris

    I love it when they tell it how it is; they get more more of my repsect and business loyalty.

    Anyone is free to find a, “better product,” if they can. I highly doubt the offended are going to even dent a well establish person such as Vickers who has the credentials to back his shit up.

    On a related note, did anyone see the new cards that ship with LaRue products saying that they had to change their return policy due to jackholes abusing the system? I suspect these customers are the same, “assclowns,” he speaks of.

  19. Until I saw this vid Vickers was a company that sold my wife a single point sling.

    I had no idea who he was; so I googled. He has an impressive resume as a soldier and a gunsmith. He also has an impressive listing of companies that he’s shilled for. That coupled with his boorish persona in the vid don’t make me want to run out and buy whatever he’s shilling. “I’m an asshole and those people over there are idiots,” even if true is not an effective marketing strategy with me.

    This blog and your posts as 87GN have sold me (and my friends) better than Mr Vickers. Much of it comes down to presentation.

    As far as doing things wrong in classes, my sin was not presenting the “correct” angle of my torso to the target. They full forward presentation being taught was awkward and slowing me down a ton. When I asked why this angle was so important; I was told that was so that my trauma plate was presented to better protect me. I asked, “Like the one I am not wearing and don’t own?” Without armor isn’t presenting a smaller side profile better? “SHUT UP!” they explained… To me the why matters.

    • Andrew (Vuurwapen Admin)

      I’ve had that issue at classes as well. Depending on the background of the instructor, they’ll tell you to either square up to the target or, for lack of a better term, “blade.” I wear plates most of the time, so I square up; but if you don’t, it doesn’t make much sense to do that.

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