by Gila Hayes

“Words matter.” –My mother
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”–Confucius

We founded the Network on a base of serious-minded armed citizens who had studied use of force and post-incident possibilities then choose how they wished to fight political prosecutions and punitive civil law suits that punish the citizen who justifiably fights off a deadly attack. Because the concern addressed by Network membership benefits follows a type of occurrence–self defense, we have from Day One had to spend considerable time and effort to discourage members and non-members alike from calling Network membership benefits “by the wrong name;” from erroneously calling it insurance. We believe members must understand what they receive from membership benefits, and that understanding cannot be achieved by failing to “call things by their proper name.”

Day in and day out, I answer questions erroneously couched in terms like insurance, policies, deductibles and all manner of inapplicable terms. Often my first words are, “Please understand that Network membership benefits are in no way related to insurance...” If the exchange is by phone, the caller often retorts, “Well, I knew that! It is just easier to call it insurance because that’s what I’m familiar with.” I don’t get it: Instead of aiding in accurate understanding of Network membership benefits, should we perpetuate confusion by using incorrect terms just because they are comfortable and familiar? I rather think not!

The Network chose to retain 100% control of post-incident assistance to guarantee we were free to act in the member’s best interests in the critical time line after the incident when funding is needed to protect the member’s legal rights. We did not want to stop to ask if insurance would cover one need or another. End of story... or, it should be, if people would just stop calling Network membership benefits insurance!

The idea that you can call a thing what ever you find familiar and comfortable is, of course, pervasive in our intellectually lazy society. On issues of wider import, it is becoming increasingly difficult to choose news sources with the faith that you will receive facts that aren’t twisted to adhere to one set of ideals or another. The amount of outright lying from the so-called news media is astounding, especially when you consider that freedom of speech is a bedrock value of the American nation that they seem so eager to destroy. The hatred and acting out their lies create is really boiling up!

If you can’t get your own way these days, lashing out at people who think or act differently than you do seems to be the norm. Justify your destructiveness by saying you were defending your “rights” from the President and those who support him. Favorite causes range from “taking away women’s reproductive rights” to oppressing one ethnic group or another, or if you’re just feeling mad, choose what is most precious to you and assert that Trump threatens the reality you wish for. Apparently truth has little role to play, so long as you “feel” it.

We’ve recently witnessed some astounding examples of acting out in which angry people preemptively attack whomever is most easily within striking range. When in public, dear members, take extra care and keep your alertness at a high level to avoid getting swept into some of the generalized violence thus committed.

Restrictions on guns, knives or any other implement can’t stop a person bent on hurting others to make a point. They will use what ever means are at hand, as did the attacker who killed four and injured so many more with a car and knife before he was stopped outside Parliament in London. It’s just one more proof that there are plenty of ways to injure and kill if that is your intent.

A columnist at recently compared murder rates and weapons restrictions, which, despite desperate juggling of numbers, don’t correlate. You may enjoy perusing it at If I had a magic wand, I would eliminate the term “gun violence,” and require correct use of words like murder or manslaughter, and self defense instead of “Stand Your Ground” for starters. Too bad, no magic wand! What can we change?

We can resolve to speak plainly and truthfully and, yes, to always “call things by their proper name.”

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.