January 2014 - Pg 16-Editorial
Six Years Down the Road
by Gila Hayes
The Network came into existence in 2008. It was a year full of ups and downs for gun owners–one in which we saw the Heller Supreme Court pro-gun decision but also the Obama election. What highs, but what lows, too! On a smaller scale, creating the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network was one of the high points, something Network President Marty Hayes wrote in 2009 rates as “the most ambitious project of my life.” It is interesting to look back from today’s perspective at the gun owner support membership organization we started back then.
In his first-ever Network President’s Message, Hayes unveiled his goal of a 10,000 member organization of armed citizens banded together to help one another with legal defense after a self-defense incident. As Network Vice President Vincent Shuck opined in his first column, “We can achieve more together than we can separately.” New memberships cost $85 per year in 2008, the same price for which we still offer renewals, although the price of new memberships has since risen to cover costs of an educational package that is up from three DVD lectures to eight.
One of our greatest strengths was and remains the sterling individuals who came into the Network as our first members and this includes the top players in the armed self defense business who agreed to serve as our Advisory Board. Our first advisors were Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens, and Dennis Tueller; later, James Fleming and Emanuel Kapelsohn, both practicing attorneys, agreed to assist as Advisory Board members. They not only help in the formative decisions we make about how the Network can best succeed, but more importantly, stand ready to assist when the tough decisions about drawing funds out of the Legal Defense Fund arise, plus weighing in with advice about best strategies for a member’s courtroom defense.
Without any protracted legal battles to fight on behalf of members, the Advisory Board has still been giving unstintingly of their experience, advice and support to help our members avoid legal trouble. The inaugural edition of this online journal, distributed Feb. 2008, started that trend with an interview from Massad Ayoob discussing three common post-shooting errors. Since that time, Massad has shared his knowledge repeatedly in this journal, and through his easily understood principles of aftermath management, many armed citizens have come to better understand that the fight switches from a struggle for your life to a battle for your freedom the moment the assailant ceases to threaten death or serious injury.
Subsequent journals quickly introduced online readers to Farnam, Givens, Fleming, Kapelsohn and Dennis Tueller. Network website statistics show that the May 2008 article The Tueller Drill Revisited is still one of the most frequently downloaded PDFs of past copies of our journal. In addition, board members’ books and DVDs provide fodder for one of our longest-enduring journal features, the book and DVD review column.
We’ve also been the happy beneficiaries of knowledgeable commentary and interviews on self defense aftermath issues from knowledgeable and experienced professionals including Tom Gresham, Glenn Meyer, Ken Hackathorn, H. Anthony Semone, PhD., Penny Dean, Timothy Priebe, plus Marc MacYoung on non-gun defenses, and others. Network President Marty Hayes put in print a half dozen foundational articles on issues like invoking Miranda rights, finding an attorney, court-defensible weapon selection and other choices that affect a judge or jury’s perception of you as you try to explain why you had to do what you did to stay alive when attacked.
From Day One, the Network fired the imaginations of armed citizens looking for an easy way to engage someone to oversee their legal interests after a self-defense shooting. Some of the desires expressed were highly impractical because they abdicated personal responsibility, but many were simply for someone to find them an attorney to represent them after self defense.