Marty-eJournal column pixby Marty Hayes, J.D.

As I sit hunkered down in a camper on the Oregon Coast on Thanksgiving, I think it is a good time to write this month’s President’s Message. While there are countless personal items I would normally acknowledge as being thankful for, I will skip these and just address Thanksgiving and the Network.

What got me thinking along these lines was sitting next to the Boots On the Ground phone and being thankful yet again that it hadn’t rung. In fact, over the three years since we instituted the Boots On the Ground program, it has rung only one time with a call from a member in need. For details about this aspect of Network membership benefits, log in to the Network website and read

Our number one mission here at the Network is to aid and assist our membership after an incident, but who wants to jump into action on Thanksgiving Day? I worked enough holidays as a cop. Still, that phone follows me everywhere and you should know that while I can’t promise it will always be answered at a moment’s notice, after all, cell signals are still sporadic here in the great Northwest, I have a signal most of the time, and it alerts me if I have a message waiting when I come back into cell signal range.

I attribute the limited Boots On The Ground activity to the quality of members we have here at the Network. You folks just are not getting yourselves into jams, but that doesn’t really surprise me. A well-trained individual is less likely to be singled out as a potential criminal victim.

MH Camp_DogWell-trained people are alert, hard to catch off guard and otherwise not easy victims. Secondly, with the legal and tactical education the Network provides, I think our members are more likely to make good decisions. In two instances where we have supported members after self-defense incidents, neither member shot their attacker.

The Network’s educational programs really set us apart from the myriad of other legal insurance and pre-paid legal schemes that have popped up since we started the Network. I love the American free enterprise system, because it allows the cream of the crop to rise to the top. I believe we are the cream, because we offer more for the money than any other program of which I know. So, on this Thanksgiving morning, I say thank you, Network members, for being who you are, and taking your responsibilities as armed citizens so seriously.

I am also thankful for the hundreds of Network Affiliated Instructors who share our vision of the Network and who act as our outreach to the self-defense community. When we started the Network, one of the first things I did was speak with instructors I know to run the idea past them and ask if they would be a part of the new organization.