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Anonymous Mailbag

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It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for me to solve all the questions in the OutKick universe in the anonymous mailbag.

As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“My wife and I plan to attend my company holiday party this year. We have attended them in the past but with kids and schedules, have not attended the past five years or so (I have been at my company for over fifteen years).

Given the times we live in, I got my conceal carry permit about three years ago and take my gun most places I go (excluding work where it is not allowed). I did do a short stint in law enforcement prior to my current job and attended a law enforcement academy. When I left my job in law enforcement, I didn’t even own a gun for ten years, but now take my gun almost everywhere.

My company holiday party is offsite, but they are paying for it. My question is, if I bring my CCW and someone at my company were to discover it, could I be fired? I do live in an ‘At Will’ employment state.”

Let me first say I don’t know the laws on concealed carry permits in your particular city or state. Which is why I’d always encourage anyone asking legal questions to consult with a lawyer in their particular city or state to determine which specific laws are at play. This means I’m giving you a generalized answer when you might well want a specific one.

Having said that, I’m presuming there will be alcohol served at your company party and that you might well consume alcohol there too. It’s possible, given how many people overindulge at company Christmas parties despite their better intentions, that you might even become drunk at your company holiday party.

Having a weapon at a work event where you are drinking is a recipe for disaster and a really poor decision, in my opinion, regardless of what the specific law is in your jurisdiction. Even if you’re not drinking, I think having a weapon at a company event is a poor choice.

Now, granted, there are certainly companies where having a weapon at work might be commonplace — if you worked at a gun range and the party was there for example — but those situations would be quite rare.

I’ll all about risk/reward analysis in life. The odds of you needing to open fire on someone at a Christmas party to save lives are far lower, in my opinion, than the odds of you losing your job for bringing a gun to a Christmas party.

I don’t see this as a difficult call.

Sure, it’s possible that you’re going to be John McClane and your company’s Christmas party is going to be hijacked by terrorists and you will save the day because you brought your gun, but that seems fairly unlikely. (So far, to my knowledge, other than John McClane, no one has ever defeated a building full of terrorists at a Christmas party.)

Which is why if you go to the party, you should leave the gun behind. And if you don’t feel safe enough to attend the party without your gun, don’t attend the party in the first place. I sure as hell know I’m not going to any Christmas party if I think there are decent odds I might get into a gun fight while I’m there.

But to answer your larger question, if your company were to discover that you brought a weapon to a Christmas party, I feel quite confident given that you are an at will employee, that would be grounds for you to be terminated in most jurisdictions.

I’d advise against it.

“Our family will be getting together with my wife’s family over Christmas and I can already anticipate THE question from one of them, ‘Have you gotten the booster yet?’

I did get the Moderna shots back in the spring but since we now know they’re not very effective, I don’t plan on getting the booster or future COVID ‘vaccines.’ I’m in my 50s, healthy, active, and don’t feel it’s necessary for me. My doctor doesn’t think the booster is a good idea for me, either (he’s seen some bad outcomes with the booster).

My wife’s family members are all liberals/progressives (my wife, too) and are fully on board with Fauci, et al. I don’t believe that it would make sense for me to get into a discussion with any of them since no one is going to change their opinion on the matter. Most importantly, I feel any discussion about vaccines, etc. could lead to ruining the holidays and future gatherings.

How would you respond to the booster question in my situation?”

I’d probably just lie, if I were you.

I know, I know, some of you are thinking, “How could you possibly lie to your family — at Christmas, no less?!” Are you people kidding me, the holidays are full of lies. Most people have to lie their asses off to make it through the holidays with their families and not create any fireworks.

I’ve had family members who are double vaxxed and have gotten COVID, even with that double vaccine — and most of you have too, I’d wager — and I’ve consistently told my parents, and other elderly members of my family, that I believe they should get vaccinated and boostered. But the choice an 80-year-old should make about COVID is different than the choice an eight-year-old should make.

My young kids aren’t vaccinated for COVID, and I have no plans to get them vaccinated either. The risk profile simply doesn’t suggest it makes sense.

But if I were you and had already gotten the double vaccine and knew I was going to get grilled about whether or not I’d gotten the booster by my wife’s liberal family, I’d just lie to my extended family and say I’d gotten it to end that line of questioning and/or debate.

Now, and you may already be thinking about this, it’s one thing to lie to your wife’s parents and those family members. But what do you say to your wife? Because if she knows the truth, she’s complicit, to some degree, in your lie to her family.

So you need to figure out the wife issue here. The easiest solution is if she’s okay with you lying because she doesn’t want the family drama either. Let me be clear, I wouldn’t lie to my wife, if I were you. That’s a recipe for disaster.

But if you’re asked by your family and you want to give yourself some leeway without directly lying you can say, “You know me, I’m going to do whatever is necessary to keep our family safe, even if I don’t always agree with what that requires.”

You could also answer the question, “Did you get the booster?” from your wife’s family by saying, “You know me, I always take my doctor’s advice.”

If you get pressed on it, you can say the truth, “He said boosters make sense,” and then leave off the part where he said he didn’t think they made sense for you.

But, again, rather than engage in this Clintonian word play, I’d probably just say, “Yes,” and move on to to the next family Christmas topic, like what an asshole the person who most recently divorced a family member is.

“I don’t understand why no one will touch that UPenn swimmer’s transgender issue with women’s sports. We segment sports at all ages and in nearly all sports by things like geography, skill level, size, weight, age, experience, size of a team, size of a school, level of play, pro vs amateur, recreational vs travel, religious leagues, and of course gender. I have seen coed kickball and corporate softball leagues with stricter eligibility enforcement than the NCAA swimming. Why?”

I’m proud that OutKick, unique among virtually all media outlets, was willing to directly address this story and give the two women’s swimmers an opportunity to share their opinions.

The simple reason why most are unwilling to address this issue is because they’re afraid they’ll be called transphobic. The fear of attack from left wing mobs is so extreme that even basic issues of transparent fairness in sports are now ignored.

You’ll note that virtually no one in sports anywhere, at least not that I’ve seen, has argued in favor of biological men being able to swim against biological women. Instead most have just pretended the issue doesn’t exist at all.

All these people who claim that sports are an important window into major societal battles suddenly vanish when it comes to this issue.

People didn’t even argue with Outkick’s stories quoting the two women swimmers at UPenn in these cases. They just pretended those cases didn’t exist at all.

It’s a form of cowardice.

Because the vast majority of all people, regardless of their politics, disagree with biological men changing their genders and settling all time women’s sports records a year later. This makes a complete mockery of women’s athletics and Title IX.

This was all eminently predictable too. At some point, feminism and transgender rights were bound to collide. Now that these two identity groups are at loggerheads, most left wingers don’t even debate the issue. They just go silent and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Meanwhile, virtually every sports fan, man or woman, knows this is 100% wrong.

If more and more male athletes continue to do this, eventually women’s athletic records cease to exist. Because biological men identifying as women are going to crush biological women. Especially if those biological men were ever good at men’s sports before they became women. There’s just no doubt about this at all.

This is why I’ve always argued the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner story. Caitlyn Jenner, as a older woman, isn’t a threat at all to set athletic records. But imagine if Bruce Jenner, three years after winning his Olympic gold, had decided to become a woman one year before the Olympics. And then he’d gone out and trounced all the women at the Olympics.

No one would think that was right.

That’s essentially what this transgender swimmer did.

“I live in Florida (God bless DeSantis) but I take a summer job every year in Ohio for 2 weeks. I do it because we really need the extra income and it is related to my official job. For the last 2 summers we worked from home but this year they have decided we are going back to work on site but with the requirement of being vaccinated. I had COVID 5 months ago and just did an antibody test which came out positive and I don’t see why I have to get vaccinated. With the Senate vote against mandates, am I forced to get vaccinated or quit? Can they really mandate that employees are vaccinated? Is there something I can do to appeal that requirement? I really don’t want to lose that job that I have done for the last 12 years.”

It’s hard to answer this question without knowing what job you’re doing. There are many variables at play. Among them, is it a private or public job? Is the company relying on the Biden vaccine mandate to justify their vaccine policy or did they make a choice on their own? What are the job requirements? If you could do the job remotely for the past two years, why is it necessary that you suddenly be physically present?

As a general rule, if your company is specifically saying you must get vaccinated because of the Biden vaccine requirement, that requirement is no longer presently legal. Meaning the company can’t cite that mandate as justification for your vaccine mandate.

But if the company put its own vaccine mandate into place because of specific details relating to your job, that mandate may still be in effect, again, depending on many variables and factos.

Which is why the best answer here is to consult with a labor and employment lawyer in Ohio to discuss the legality of these requirements as opposed to relying on an anonymous mailbag answer from a Tennessee lawyer who hasn’t practiced law full time in over a decade.

“I have a good friend who is a public figure that was recently defamed by a member of the local media, and thus is currently contemplating suing them. However, they are hesitant because of the standard set in the U.S. Supreme Court case ‘Sullivan vs The N.Y. Times.’ Do you think that person should go ahead and attempt legal action anyways, or do you think it would be a waste of time? Also, do you think SCOTUS got it wrong in the ‘Sullivan vs. The Times’ precedent considering it basically punishes people for being public figures in defamation cases, thus not giving them equal protection under the law?”

Our First Amendment defamation law definitely needs to be updated.

The Times v. Sullivan standard made sense in the 1960s when the average person’s name might appear in the newspaper only twice in their life — when they were born and when they died. Then a distinction between public and private figures made a great deal of sense. But with the rise of the Internet, we are essentially all public figures now.

Just think about all the social media profiles out there and how many people now comment on every issue under the sun. It’s a rare person who has never uttered an opinion on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, a website message board, or a newspaper comment section.

Just about everyone, especially people under the age of fifty, are public figures to one degree or another in our modern Internet age. That means it’s increasingly difficult to even establish a public vs. private figure dynamic in our legal system. The most compelling private figure case I’ve seen in recent history, interestingly, is probably Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic student, who was attacked vociferously by major media companies all over the country simply for standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and being insulted by a crazy political activist.

While I understand the desire to settle in a case like this and take the guaranteed money, purely from a legal standard, I wish he’d been willing to take this all the way to the Supreme Court and ask them to reexamine the Times v. Sullivan standard in light of the modern era we’re in now.

His case fact patterns could have represented a perfect opportunity to revise Times v. Sullivan for the modern era.

Without knowing the specifics of your friend’s case, I think it comes down to the particular fact pattern at play and the amount of money your friend has available to pursue legal recourse. His likelihood of obtaining a substantial judgment are low, but if he truly wishes to overturn the Times v. Sullivan standard and has the resources, aka the millions of dollars that might be required in this case to litigate it for years, then he can seek to change the existing law.

It’s definitely time for a updated and revised defamation standard in this country.

As always, thanks for reading OutKick and continue to send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

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