I was setting up a ten-year renewal for a member who is approaching the end of his current term of membership when I momentarily thought that 2030 was two decades away not just one. Mercifully, I avoided inadvertently blurting out, “Isn’t 2030 a long way off?” before realizing that in a few days we will be writing 2020 on all of our documents.

A few years from now what do you suppose we will remember most about the years between 2010 and 2020? Perspective that only time can provide mellows out hassles that today seem unbearable. While it’s likely that we will forget short term trials and tribulations, I think there will be bigger things from this decade that won’t so quickly fade from memory.

On the minus side, I think we will remember losses of freedom when liberty-haters successfully counteracted some of the gun rights victories of the previous two decades. We got off to a great start mid-2010 with the Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago, but since then, state after state has passed laws restricting gun rights, so we’ve taken quite a few hits from the opposition. Whether or not we will ever recover from the exhaustion of moving from one battle to the next, I couldn’t say. It is a matter of great concern.

The abject lack of any true authority to which to turn for factual information will be one of this decade’s hallmarks, I believe. It’s ironic when you consider how much of our disposable income goes to buy tech devices–tablets (remember in April 2010 when we lusted after the first iPad?), smart phones, laptops, and endless bandwidth. With any luck, we’ve already forgotten Pokémon Go, and the myriad of other wastes of time that passed for entertainment these past ten years.

Frankly, most of what looms large on one’s personal landscape doesn’t even register with the rest of humanity. Consider something I spend a lot of time doing: I look at the past ten years and count 120 of these journals (or 143 if you count every one since the first, introductory journal in February of 2008). That is over a hundred interviews with a diverse mixture of authorities and resources each representing a person who generously gave of their time to share their knowledge and experience with Network members.

Ten years ago, we were beginning to envision how our fledgling organization, then 1,500 members strong, could grow to the 17,500 dedicated family members we host today. Ten years ago, we had managed to build up a $30,000 war chest from which we knew we could make a big dent in a member’s legal bills, but I don’t think at that point we really foresaw how today, the Network’s Legal Defense Fund (now over two million dollars) is positioned to fully fund a member’s legal defense after self defense.

We expect commensurate growth in funding ability in the years to come as our Network family matures. We are no longer a startup or an untested idea. We are now an established part of the landscape for well-trained, discerning armed citizens. We’re not flashy; we don’t seek out the kind of customers who are attracted by glitzy sales pitches and fantastic promises, but we have shown through act and deed that after self defense, a Network member will never face the power of a district attorney or prosecutor alone.

What does the future hold? Well, who can really say? I am pleased to note that we are successfully moving into 2020 without increasing dues. We’ve raised dues only a few times since 2008, and when it has been necessary, I have ground my teeth knowing that there were members on fixed incomes or facing their own financial challenges who dropped out because they felt they just couldn’t come up with an extra ten dollars per year. What a shame! For the time being, we are holding the line on dues, but tuck this away in the back of your mind, as wages, taxes, rent, postage and supplies continue to rise, we’ll need at some point to make a modest adjustment to dues, too. Not right now, I am happy to say!

With that, I will wish you each a very Happy New Year. I think I will go look for a book to read to distract me from the past ten years for a while. Unfortunately, I read faster than any of my favorite authors can write, so I will have to hope I’ve grown so old and absentminded that I can reread the same story over and over. Perhaps I’ve forgotten some of the plots, so an old favorite or two may still provide some fun characters and skillful wordsmithing. Happy New Year, everyone!

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