Including... • Network Producing Educational DVDs • Tom Gresham: Doing the Impossible One Step at a Time • Sandburr Gun Ranch: Visiting an Alternate Reality • The Bible and Self Defense (Part 1)
Network Educational Videos in Production
by Gila Hayes
The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC reached a milestone on Friday, May 31st, when the first of a three-part series of educational DVDs was mailed to Network members. The educational presentations fulfill one element in our mission to “aid, educate and support lawfully armed citizens who are forced to defend against criminal attack.” With this information, our members have the knowledge and can think through how they will deal with different types of crime they may face. The first video in the series is entitled “Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense,” and is a 45-minute presentation by Network President Marty Hayes.
We’re already getting positive comments about the DVD! After watching the first DVD, a Network member wrote that she was relieved to have a resource through which she could study and repeat the lessons until she felt that she knew the information “like the back of my hand.” After viewing the video as part of a basic gun safety class, a student expressed her appreciation for the organized break down of the varied facets comprising the use of force parameters, noting that this aspect of being a gun owner had always worried her and now she felt she understood it much better.
We will be excited in the weeks to come, to hear the feedback of Network members after they have had the chance to view the DVD and think about the presentation. In addition to addressing questions and comments to Network President Marty Hayes at mhayes@armedcitizensnetwor k.org, we would also welcome a healthy discussion of the DVD’s lessons on the Network’s new member’s only internet forum (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/forum).
Hot on the heels of the “Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense” DVD, comes the second in the series, which is in the final stages of editing at the time of this writing. Entitled “Handling the Immediate Aftermath of a Self-Defense Shooting,” this presentation features Massad Ayoob in an interview format directed by Marty Hayes. Those who know Ayoob through his classes and writings will appreciate this 45-minute program as Ayoob at his best, discussing the concepts on which he has built his life’s work as an instructor and court-recognized expert witness.
Finally, the third in the educational DVD series is currently under development. On it, we plan a program in which a criminal defense attorney and a civil plaintiff’s attorney share their knowledge of the court system from both the criminal defense and civil litigation view points.
As each of these DVDs is completed, we will rush it to our members by first class mail. After watching one of the DVDs, we encourage the member to use a permanent marker to note the date viewed and initial that notation on the DVD’s label on the lines provided for that purpose.
Simply mastering the knowledge, while important, is not the entire goal. Be sure to note the dates on which it is viewed, and store the DVD in a safe place as proof of your knowledge and mindset in case you must explain your selfdefense actions.
Tom Gresham: Doing the Impossible One Step at a Time
by Gila Hayes
Have you heard Tom Gresham on radio or watched him on TV? A lot of our Network members will already feel they know Tom, because he shares so much of himself in his radio, TV and Internet productions. For those who do not, sit down and get ready to meet a truly inspirational player in the gun business!
Briefly, for those who have not yet met him, Tom is the son of the famous author and TV personality Grits Gresham. Though Grits dominated the shooting and hunting media during his lifetime, Tom is anything but overshadowed by his late father. At one point in this interview, he exclaimed, “After all, I am Grits’ son!” and I got a glimpse into the legacy he carries on, expanding the Gresham family tradition of demonstrating responsible gun ownership for the public in new and innovative ways.
At the tender age of 13, Tom was taking photographs to illustrate his father’s articles; by 18 he was author of his own syndicated newspaper column, and he went on to write for and edit several prominent hunting magazines. In 1995, Tom launched GunTalk Radio (www.guntalk.com), the medium for which he was most famous until in 2005 he teamed with Intermedia to launch Personal Defense TV, seen most recently on the Outdoor Channel, and moving next season to the Sportsman Channel (www.thesportsmanchannel.com/). Also coming up next season, are a series of mini-programs titled “Shooting Savvy” on ESPN2, featuring Tom explaining a wide range of “how-to” gun topics. While outlining his new ventures, Tom exclaimed, “Isn’t it cool that there is still new stuff to do? How exciting is that?”
A talk with Tom is always inspiring, and in the next few pages, we hope to share with our readers a bit of his enthusiasm, his vision, and his goals. His newest focus is GunTalk TV (http://www.GunTalk.tv), the online video site he has created in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law.
This cutting-edge project defies definition. “This is not like anything we already know!” Tom exclaims. “Just as TV is not radio with pictures, this is not online TV, or online anything that already exists! GunTalk TV is an online video streaming site. It is a firearms training/information center.”
“We helped with the roll out of Springfield’s new XDM pistol. We shot video with Rob Leatham, and on the day Springfield announced the pistol, we had ten videos on line that people could go and watch. That’s information!”
At present about three hundred short videos are available at GunTalk TV. Unlike print media or television, the streaming video site has an extraordinary longevity, Tom points out. “You put it out there and it is on the Internet forever. You don’t have to pay to keep printing it like a magazine, you only pay for the bandwidth to stream it.”
Even with help from a crew he describes as “very smart, clever, motivated and plugged in,” the new project has not been without its challenges. “We are shooting all original video for GunTalk TV, formatted with an eye for the Internet, and the constraints of streaming. For example, you don’t pan for this medium, because the video encoder will have trouble with that. That’s one lesson we learned through scar tissue and money,” he explained.
But Tom has always been at the forefront of the gun media. “No one thought about doing talk radio (for guns) 13 years ago,” he points out. And even today, though there are several hunting shows, GunTalk Radio stands alone. “There still is not really anyone doing just gun talk radio, though there are hunting shows.” He tweaks the industry nose, adding, “From the beginning I said this isn’t about hunting. I tell the industry: you are all talking to each other and you never talk to people. I get calls from Susie Homemaker who wants to know about getting a handgun for self defense.”
If anyone takes the American gun owner’s pulse, it is Tom, who for the past 13 years has spent his Sunday afternoons hosting the nationally distributed GunTalk Radio (www.guntalk.com/). It all started in 1995 at a cocktail party when Tom remarked to Alan Gottleib of the Second Amendment Foundation that they should team up to do something together. Alan, who owns a string of radio stations, replied, “How about radio?” He went on to tell Tom how it works: “You buy time on a radio network, then you sell advertising to pay for the program.”
Though far from confident, the next day Tom queried Ken Jorgensen, then with Smith & Wesson, about industry support for a gun radio show. Jorgensen emphatically assured him of Smith & Wesson’s support, despite protests from Tom that the radio show didn’t yet exist. “By noon that day, I had the show sold out,” he laughs. When he told Alan, they immediately extended the format to two hours. Today the program is a three-hour tour de force featuring interviews with guests, free flowing conversations on all kinds of gun-related topics, and lots and lots of call in participation from listeners all across the nation. Through it all, Tom makes the difficult look easy. Little is scripted in advance, and whether working in TV, radio or the Internet he replicates the feel of a group of buddies sitting around and chatting.
When I asked Tom how he pulls it off with such aplomb, he modestly said, “I grew up in this. As a kid, the first serious reading I did was the Gun Digest.” Then he acquired a passion for reloading manuals, which he also read cover to cover. Between the two, he developed “a pretty good background on ballistics and stuff,” in his words. This he couples with the ability to say, “I don’t know,” if stumped by a caller, another technique he uses to encourage caller participation because “there is someone out there who knows,” he explains.
And the callers seem to inspire Tom more than anything else. His voice cracks with emotion as I ask about his most memorable caller. “I’ll never forget one caller, though I only know her first name: Brie. She called in about a gun or something, and just as we were ending the call, she said ‘If I’d not had a gun, I wouldn’t be alive nor would my daughter.’”
Tom kept the woman on the line during the break, learning that her husband abused her severely, causing broken bones and injuries requiring hospitalization. After she went to report yet another attack, a police officer walked out of the police station with her to talk privately. He advised her to get a gun, which she did, and then she fled and escaped with her daughter across the country.
The husband found them, and began beating down the door, screaming that he would kill her. As he kicked in the door, she screamed, “I have a gun and I will use it,” then opened fire, though she did not hit him. “ She said, ‘He went across the front yard on all fours. He never bothered us again.’ This is so moving, it still chokes me up when I think about it,” Tom concludes.
Courage and Conviction
Tom is silent for a long minute, and then adds, “That’s the lady no one in our industry is talking about.”
But the Smith & Wesson LadySmith advertising campaign created such a nasty backlash, I counter, remembering the rabid charges of “making a profit off women’s fears” made in the mainstream media against Smith & Wesson when they promoted a line of guns especially for women.
“You simply ignore backlash! You have to have conviction and purpose,” Tom responds, sounding like someone at church, anyone. It can change their view forever.” The result is a “vaccination,” he explains. “What you experience on your own trumps what someone tells you. If someone tells you guns are evil, and you had a good time shooting, they can never convince you that guns are evil,” Tom emphasizes.
The Mission Statement
About a year and a half ago, Tom worked out a mission statement to guide the increasingly diverse nature of his efforts.
“The goal is to permanently change the way guns and gun owners are viewed in America,” he cited.
“That’s a pretty big order, isn’t it?” I asked him. “I figure if you have one that big you don’t have to refigure it,” he retorted. “I’m firmly convinced the battle is for the middle ground,” Tom explains. He believes that most people have no firmly held conviction on the gun rights argument and estimates that 80% of the public doesn’t really care. “So, you don’t have to move 80%,” he states. “You just have to move 1%. I think if you can get one or two ticks of the needle, you win. If you buy into that, it makes the goal achievable. It’s not so daunting,” he continues. “All I have to do is make people think that shooting as an activity is OK.”
Tom’s mood turns thoughtful. “None of this could have happened without being the son of Grits, without him as a model. I watched him write books and do American Sportsman on TV, and thought ‘anything’s possible!’ Now, that’s my life lesson for my kids: If anybody asks if you can do something, always say, “yes,” and then go figure out how to do it!” All photos courtesy of Tom Gresham. Continued from page 3 an evangelist. “If you are doing the right thing, don’t even acknowledge the nay sayers. Just keep doing the right thing.”
“The goal is not to convince the person you are debating. The goal is to use the debater as a foil to convince everyone who is listening,” he continues. We should use anti-gun backlash as a megaphone to amplify our message. “It’s all about building bigger and more megaphones,” he stresses.
Tom relates how a major TV network approached him to do a piece on Americans and their guns. He smelled a hatchet job when they told him they preferred to focus on handguns, thinking the topic edgier. When the TV crew showed up, Tom got them all out on the range shooting handguns and knocking down steel targets. They had a great time! “Suddenly, they are not doing a story about ‘those gun people,’” Tom explains. “They are doing a story about themselves,” he chuckles.
Long troubled by the bias in news reporting of gun issues, Tom founded his GunTalk Radio Truth Squad. “I would get monstrously frustrated and rant and rage on about these media stories—reports that were not just wrong, not just in error, but purposely mean-spirited, bigoted in a way that if they had said those things and used those characterizations about any ethnic or religious group, it would be seen as bigoted.”
Though he would often respond with a well-written letter to the editor, he knew his efforts were limited. “I found people who said if you’ll help us write the letters, we’ll send them. Now I have 10,000 volunteers and they are getting letters published. I know because they send them to me every day!” he enthuses.
Tom calls GunTalk Radio a mixture of business and missionary work. He imagines a couple driving down the road on a Sunday afternoon, scanning the radio for something to enjoy. “They stumble across GunTalk Radio and they listen for about five minutes and come away saying ‘those guys actually sound pretty reasonable. In fact, they sound like they are having fun.’ If we do this, we win,” Tom adds.
The best pro-gun political act, Tom believes is “taking someone shooting: someone from work, a family member, Paid Advertisement Tom gets in a few shots with his S&W M&P pistol. eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC – 5 – © Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC. The contents of this journal may not be reproduced without express written permission. Paid advertisement Midwest Training Group Ask us about a 10% tuition discount for Network members! 1457 - 17th Ave., Camanche, IA 52730 563-259-2123 - http://www.midwesttraininggroup.net/
Here comes Heller! It is my understanding that the United States Supreme Court will release its decision this month (June, ‘08) and I, among millions, anxiously await that decision. I am very confident that the USSC will uphold the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, as all logic and intelligent analysis of the issues dictate that ruling. What will be more of a crapshoot, is whether or not the court will decide that the ban on handguns by Washington D.C. is a reasonable restriction. I cannot predict this with any certainty, but am hopeful, based on what I heard when I listened to the oral arguments, that the majority of the court will draw a line that a complete ban is unreasonable.
It would also be nice if the Supreme Court gave some direction as to what they would consider as reasonable restrictions. I expect they surely will allow some type of restriction of the right to keep and bear arms, as they do for the right to free speech. For example, having convicted felons restricted from possessing firearms is a reasonable restriction, although I would argue that that restriction should not apply to all felons. So, we wait and see, and by this time next month, we will know. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the coming month.
John Farnam Revisited
When I was in Indiana filming the Network’s second DVD, I had occasion to sit in on John Farnam’s Friday night lecture, as he was also teaching a class at the Sand Burr Gun Ranch. It had been over a decade since I heard him speak to a class formally, and I was pleased as to what I heard (not that I expected anything different).
Watching John teach is a pleasure for a professional instructor such as myself, as he is so knowledgeable, personable and caring. One gets the impression that he REALLY cares about each individual student, and in my opinion, that is pretty important. One thing that struck me in his lecture, was his recommendation that a person stop shooting after 3-4 rounds and assess what effect his round are having, as opposed to filling the subject with bullets until he is down on the ground. (My words, not his.) His rationale for this recommendation is that he sees many cases where a person spins around while taking hits, and some of the bullets end up entering the back, which causes a real problem for prosecutors.
I can’t argue with that logic, as it seems that the cases where I have seen problems for police seem to stem from shots in the back, or other shots where the person is not facing the attacker. For example, what if you shot someone who was running at you with a knife, and after firing half a dozen shots in a second and a half (this is entirely plausible), he starts to stumble and fall. Since your decision to hold fire has not been made yet, you end up putting a bullet in the top of his head, or in the base of the neck. Then, after autopsy, the medical examiner states it was the spine shot that killed your attacker. While we can make a very solid case that all the shots were necessary, if you had not fired that last shot or two as he was falling, perhaps you would not have been arrested for murder, and not have had to face the jury.
The Making of the First DVD
Oh, My God! Can you say a fish out of water? A spokesperson I am not, nor am I a pretty talking head, that’s obvious! In the past, when I have wanted to make a DVD for class presentation, I have simply recorded a live classroom presentation, making sure I covered the material I wanted to include.
Continued on page 6 eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC – 6 – © Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC. The contents of this journal may not be reproduced without express written permission. Network members receive 10% discount off classes taught by (Guest instructed courses excluded) Network members use coupon code acldn1styear to receive discount 360-978-6100 http://www.firearmsacademy.com/ P O Box 400, Onalaska, WA 98570 Paid advertisement Continued from page 5
But it seemed to us that this type of presentation would not be suitable for the Network’s Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense DVD lecture, so I wrote out a complete script ahead of time, practiced it a few times, and using our overhead projector like a tele-prompter, got it done. It was NOT a fun afternoon. During the filming it kept raining off and on, so we had to quit a few times and let the rain pass, because we filmed in our classroom, which is a metal building that acts like a drum.
As far as the content of the DVD, I tried to keep it as close to black letter law as I could, but you should understand that each and every state has different laws, and it is incumbent upon each and every one of you to research your own states statutory laws and case law, so you have a clear understanding of the legal arena in which you are located. Also, please understand that I am solely responsible for the content of the first DVD, so any comments should be directed specifically at me at the aforementioned
The Network is delighted to announce that our members now have their very own, private Internet chat board at http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/forum/ “While I’m sure many of our Network members frequent a variety of Internet forums, I’m equally certain that like me, most have from time to time declined to chime in on some discussions, purely because they didn’t want their thoughts on certain topics put out in a public forum for use by everyone from simple snoopers to opportunistic criminals,” comments Network operations manager Gila Hayes, who spearheaded creation of the new forum, with technical work provided by another Network member.
With the hope that our members will participate more freely in a closed, private members-only forum for the discussion of legal topics, self defense concerns, and similar topics, we set up an Internet site accessible only to our members. This web site does not accept registration; the only way members can access the forum is to log in with the user names and passwords shown on their membership cards. Of course, once logged in, members can change their password to something more private.
User names, however, will remain a concatenation of first and last name fields from the Network’s membership database. “I believe we can avoid much of the spiteful E-mail address. I don’t do things well by committee, and so instead running the material past a bunch of other people and getting their input, I simply wrote out what I felt our members needed to know in an introductory DVD of this nature, and tried my best to communicate the material. I hope you like it, and that it suits our purpose. By the way, if you haven’t received the first DVD yet, it should be in your mailbox any day (along with your membership card), as they have already been sent out by first class mail.