April 2013 - Pg 2-Gresham Interview
From that, came the No Shrug Policy. Never will we shrug and say, “That’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about that.” No! We will always challenge these lies, because if we don’t challenge them, they become the truth.
You get the silly stuff like, “A gun in the home is 43 times more likely to blah, blah, blah…” We know it is not true, but they keep repeating it. Well, you not only have to tell them it is wrong, but at a certain point, you also start pointing out, “When you say that, you look very foolish.” People don’t want to be embarrassed. People are actually more afraid of being embarrassed than of being killed. You can use that and say, “You people really do look foolish! Do you understand that? This has been disproven for years. If you just do a little bit of research…”
So that is the No Shrug Policy, which comes from “No Lie Left Unchallenged” that is our Truth Squad’s motto. I originally wanted to pick up 100 people for the Truth Squad. We are now at 54,000 Truth Squad members who all say, “I absolutely will not let a lie go unchallenged.” We don’t shrug! We ALWAYS respond.
Of course, now, it is so much easier! You don’t have to write a letter to the editor, you can put a comment on a website, or you can call them. I’ve had people say, “I called our local station and they changed the story because they didn’t know about this.” Or, “I contacted our local station because they were running a PSA (Public Safety Announcement) from some anti-gun group and I challenged them on that and they said, ‘Oh, we don’t have to run that. We’ll take it down.’” It works! You just have to stand up and say, “No more! That is not accurate. We are not going to shrug.”
People like having a direction to go. They are willing to go! They say, “What can we do?” Well, here is something you can do: Respond every single time.
If somebody behind you in the checkout line says something wrong, you just very personably and very kindly say, “You know, I understand how you might think that because that is what you are being told in the media, but you may not be aware…” and then you go forward like that. In some cases you can be a little bit confrontational–particularly with the media–but one on one, most of the time it is not that people are trying to be wrong!
eJournal: They are parroting what they have been told over and over. The immediate corrections you describe are the very essence of grass-roots activism and we didn’t have to hold a fundraiser to buy an advertisement to get out the message!
Gresham: Not only does it not cost you anything, it gives you immediate rewards! You can accomplish things with it, but you will also feel SO much better when you get rid of that frustration that we all get when we ask, “Why do they do that? I can’t believe they are doing that!” No, no! That doesn’t get you anywhere! Take that, channel that and contact them!
Even if they don’t correct the story, here is what happens behind the scenes. People say, “Well, I told them that, and they kept repeating it.” But if one person says it, it is nothing. If ten people say it, it might be something. If 100 people contact the station and say, “You got it wrong and you guys really look foolish on this!” they may not do a retraction, but the next time that reporter covers that type of story, he or she is going to remember, “Last time, people said I pretty much looked like a fool on this. I may look into this a little bit more.” There are long-term benefits to the No Shrug Policy, also.
eJournal: You’re planting seeds.