GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE
GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
If we have the right people in power, anti-gun laws will not be passed. Period. The laws are what matter. This concept is so simple that many folks can't see it, just like they can't "see" the air they breath. The anti-rights crowd can hold all the gun control seminars and news conferences they want, but nothing will happen unless they can pass more laws. This fact tells you about the how, what, where, when, why, and with whom you should be spending your time, energy, and money. Politicians pass laws. Therefore, you must get involved in politics to protect your gun rights. There is just no way to get around this. Sorry. I don't like politics either. Bummer!
STOP THE SABER RATTLING -- NOW!
Avoid those shrill folks who sound threatening or talk about doomsday. It's a waste of your time. These noisy folks remind me of a couple in a failing marriage who only talk about a getting a divorce instead of talking about their real problems. If they don't solve their problems, separation or divorce becomes the inevitable outcome. Some people get pumped up on silly fantasy scenarios. I do not.
ARM YOURSELF WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION.
Paradoxically, bad information or disinformation is a plague in the so-called Information Age. When you write or talk about firearms issues, use only the facts, the truth, and the provable. Verify any quotes that you use. Back up your generalizations with powerful and specific examples. Get on the Internet, and get your like-minded friends online. Join several of the hundreds of net communities that will keep you informed instantly and completely about our special issues. Information is power!
IGNORE MEDIA SPIN AND THE NEWS WAVES.
It's far too easy to go bonkers reacting to the latest media-driven crisis. Don't let the media push your buttons. The RKBA grassroots pros I know do not overreact to crises. In fact, most of the ultra-pros that I know do not react at all to media hysteria. Bashing the media about their bias is not productive. Some gun owners use media bias as an excuse to do nothing -- because the situation seems so overwhelming and hopeless. Truth is, if you are a busy activist -- already steadily doing stuff that matters -- you will find the media reacting to YOU. Be friendly and polite with them -- not hostile. Become a reliable source of information for them. And just keep on being ACTIVE.
JUST SHOW UP.
It's been said that 80 percent of success is showing up. Being there. Showing up to vote. Showing up at an RKBA seminar. At your legislator's office. At a city council meeting. My father's favorite motto: "Your actions speak so loud that I can't hear a word you're saying." Your "silent" activism can be a model for others. What will your 3 hunting buddies think when they find out you spent an afternoon handing out brochures door-to-door for a pro-gun politician?
DON'T MESS WITH TRUE BELIEVERS.
In the time you spend trying to convert one hard core anti-gun person to our side, you could have gone out and motivated and organized 20 people who already think like you do. Go with the flow. It's easier on your nerves, and much more effective. Personally, I have converted several anti-rights true believers, but never again! Lots of NRA members are not registered voters. A lot of gun owners aren't NRA members. Even more folks have no idea of their elected officials' positions on gun issues. Where is your time most effectively spent? Think about this before you spend an hour writing a clever response to a silly message you found somewhere on the Internet.
SIMPLICITY STILL MATTERS.
The old rule, Keep It Super Simple (KISS), is as important as it ever was. It applies to Internet postings, planning, speeches -- everything. And keep it short. And keep it sweet: don't ever ridicule or insult anyone. Did you notice that I did NOT say, "Keep It Simple, STUPID?"
YOU ARE ALL ALONE.
Well, not quite alone. You do have some help. The NRA has a staff of several hundred, and Buckeye Firearms Association has a group of about ten key volunteers who donate hours in the triple digits each week. There is no way humanly possible that we can put out all the brush fires started by the anti-rights crowd. Pro-gun national organizations give direction and information -- but they cannot save your rights. Only YOU can save YOUR rights. You are 100 percent responsible. When you fully accept this reality, you are automatically in the top one percent of all RKBA activists.
THE HIDDEN BONUS OF GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISM.
The more involved you get with firearms freedom, the more you will realize that your single issue actually complements and protects other human rights issues. Personally, I am deeply offended by many aspects of today's culture. When I focus my activism on RKBA, I can often sense I am making a measurable difference. All rights -- like all humans --are connected.
WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST DO SOMETHING.
Sometimes we don't know what will work. Sometimes the rule is that there are no rules. I once wrote an essay I thought was mediocre at best. Five years later, I'm still receiving mail about it. Don't hesitate to try something new and innovative -- get it out on the table! Often your finest essay or brilliant letter will not be acknowledged, or you will just get a form letter response. But that letter to the editor that you dashed off in a few minutes appears in tomorrow's newspaper! Go figure. Better yet, try not to figure. Trust yourself, trust your instincts -- and just do something.
I'll see you in the trenches.
(Adapted from an essay circulating the Internet - author unknown)
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