Time to Get Off the Sidelines

Mar 27, 2013
Maybe it's just me, but the government's new "if you see something, say something" campaign makes me nervous. It's not like a "Turn In A Poacher" (TIP) program or Crimestoppers; they both have specific goals in mind. This campaign began to make us aware of potentially "suspicious behavior" by air other travelers. Speaking up might avoid another terrorist attack.

Now, it's primary goal seems to be encouraging my neighbors to call a toll-free (and anonymous) number to report "my neighbor's behaving very strangely" when I walk briskly around my neighborhood in the evening.

They called it strange. I call it exercise.

Honestly, I've had it with all this nanny-statism. So, I'm going to do my best to do something about it.

For more than 40 years, I've tried to adhere to a few basic rules: be fair and balanced by presenting both sides of an issue; not to report as fact something not independently verified, and whenever possible, to be a dispassionate observer, sticking to the facts. Those values are also part of the Journalist's Creed.

Over the years, I've observed our nation changing. The majority is now expected to give way to "squeaky wheels" who believe they know best what's best for "the rest of us". Today, they're working to cram their values (or lack thereof) down our collective throats.

Enough already. For the time-being there's no room for dispassionate observation. I believe this is my time to stand. I believe it's time for all of us to stand.

We seem to have adopted a "last man standing" mentality. You know, we'll be the "last man standing" when "they" come for "us". That's thinking upside down-and just what the few want the many to do - sit still and do nothing until we're all that's left.

Instead of promising to be the last one standing, how about we all stand up? That would be hard to ignore.

So, I'm announcing "MyTime2Stand". It looks funny without a ubiquitous ".com" at the end. Yes, it's going to be a website, but it's not just a catchy web address.

It's a pledge I'm making - to stop watching and do something. And I'd invite you to consider joining me. I know we won't always agree on everything, but we can agree on one thing: waiting for someone else to do something doesn't cut it any more.

One person really can make the difference, and it takes more than my bylined column to prove I really believe that.

So...my second-hand Jeep and I are hitting the road. I'll be reporting from some of the summer's large outdoor and shooting events: the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, the Bianchi Cup in Missouri; the FLW Cup in Louisiana and others. But I'm going back to my small-town roots to encourage people to go to their city halls, county courthouses and state capitols and let officials see first-hand that they're being watched. To put more "me" into "we, the people".

One area where I'm standing firm is the Second Amendment. The "rights" enumerated there weren't granted by the founding fathers, they were "recognized" by them. Educating today's politicians about that critical distinction is more than our right- it's our obligation.

Mayor Bloomberg may have more money than all of us, but he has the same number of votes- one. And his should only count in New York.

That message gets lost when delivered via the organizations that represent our interests in Washington. Outside the Beltway, their message is institutional. In our smaller world, people make the difference.

One of my goals is to bring access to the informational resources of our national organizations into the hands of average people across the country. Having effective, focused messages make it far easier to deliver impactful messages to local officials.

MyTime2Stand has only been shared with a few trusted friends. I wanted to share my idea with readers before taking it the industry to solicit support. I'd like to know you buy-in on the idea.

We're putting together a website(www.MyTime2Stand.com) where you'll be able to go and see how we're progressing - and who's helping make this road trip possible. You'll be able to access industry information to help you reach out to your elected officials -and your friends and neighbors.

Later, you'll be able to check out stories, photographs and videos from along the way.

In the meantime, if you're willing to get involved or just want us to keep you in the loop, you can drop me an email at MyTime2Stand@icloud.com MyTime2Stand@icloud.com, and I'll be tweeting updates, too (@jimshepherd).

As always, we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd