It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. In this blog post, I will attempt to accomplish just that. I hope that through my writing I can help you understand this very complex debate. It is important to note that my writing comes through the lens of a firearms instructor, educator, advocate, and a person who carries a gun in public for personal protection, every day. In preparation for this post, it is important to reflect on the journey that has led me up to this point. This story starts for me back in 2013, on a dark and cold morning. It was at that time I was put in a dangerous position with no means to defend myself but, the ability to inflict violence on another human in the most raw and primal way. It was with my bare hands. It was scary and traumatic. In the end, my life was saved by my pistol grip shotgun, without a single round being fired. I remember the first speech at a gun rally that I gave on the steps of the Oregon State Capital, I had a pistol grip shotgun slung over my back. That was back in early 2014. The event that happened to me was still fresh, I was angry. My message was way off the mark as I remember, of the 500 in attendance only 20 clapped. That told me that my “come and take” vibe didn’t resonate the way I had envisioned it. It was at this point I realized I had to evolve my thought process if I wanted to make the impact that I knew I could. I wasn’t an instructor at that point it was a few weeks later I received my certification from the NRA. This is where I started to make the change in myself. I evolved my mindset, it wasn’t overnight, but I set out to use my story for good.

It wasn’t until the next year that I started developing a Kids Firearm Safety program. During this time in my career, it was where I started to hone my message. It was a message that was based on safety and positivity. It was at this time that I received a lot of traction because of the way I was able to present the information. I also changed the business model for my training company. Lethal Lovebirds LLC, my company started to focus on women’s only firearm training. It is a funny name for a training company, but it pays homage to the internet blogger who gave us the name after learning about our encounter. It was during this era of my business that we developed the infrastructure necessary to truly impact the safety of our country. LLB LLC has now trained over 3500 women and counting on how to safely protect themselves. I am an instructor, advocate, and a support system for those who are having domestic violence issues. One story that is near and dear to my heart is Krystal, she originally came to a class because she was in a DV situation. She had 2 boys and she was living in fear. The important part of what we do as a training company is that we empower women to take control of their lives because there is no reason to be afraid because they are armed. Krystal lost her life in 2019 at the hands of her then-husband. It was a huge loss to me and her family. As an advocate, I was there for her family to ensure justice was served. 25 to life is hardly an acceptable sentence for the devil reincarnated.

This has been a story about my personal and professional development. It is my goal, like in everything that I do. I want to leave this state and society better than I found it. It is this part of what I do that is important. Educating the public about the importance of their 2A rights and how they relate to being able to defend their families. I started writing a blog for both of the websites that I manage back in 2020. I found that writing was therapeutic for me. As I gained experience I realized that the blog format was a viable option along with all other forms of media that I use to educate. I have become quite good at how I can use messaging and imagery to paint an important picture of the American gun owner. It has been the experience that I have gained from this evolution of myself that has put me in a position where I can help shape messages that have been presented in Congressional hearings in Washington DC. This has been a tremendous honor. Another form of media that I utilize is video livestreams. I have been doing them for several years. At the beginning it was intimidating. As I gained more experience I gained followers. Then one day over a year ago, I turned on my camera and broadcast a video about Measure 114 into a gun group that I admin. OFA is an Oregon-specific firearms group with nearly 80k members in it. That was the scariest time that I had ever had while doing these types of videos. I was lucky that people liked the information that I was providing and the videos took off. It was a way for me to educate, inform, and motivate my fellow gun owners. Now I do weekly updates and videos when relevant information comes out. We talk about it. It was a big hit and I enjoy the interactions that I have and the trust that I have built with my people. This format has been instrumental in engaging Oregon gun owners in the legislative process. I have traveled all over the state gathering information firsthand and then breaking down all of the information in a way that the laymen could understand. It was a hit. I was able to meet so many great people that I now consider close friends and I was blessed to be able to do it.

The travels gave me the content to write a few very important blog posts regarding Measure 114. One was the week that I spent in Portland covering the Federal Trial. What was wild about that experience was how the information that I presented was the polar opposite of the traditional media. I presented all of my information from the lens of a gun owner and from the position of a guy who plays an attorney on Facebook for the laymen. Of course, this is only a joke, I am far from an attorney. I just have developed a unique way to communicate with the public. My writings and videos are factual to the best of my ability and come from my heart. I view myself now as an independent journalist. I have a responsibility to educate the public in a way that they won’t get from mainstream media. My blog posts were critical to my people but opened me up to scrutiny and were used against me when I testified in Harney County in the State trial of Measure 114. My words were used against me by the state defense team. They tried to discredit my testimony because of my writing. Fortunately for me, I was able to survive that challenge. I took some hits and had some backlash. At the end of the day though I am human. I am not perfect, but I was the man inside the arena. I remember being on the stand and being cross-examined. It felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I looked out into the crowd and I saw the faces of my people. They gave me the strength to power through. I am so appreciative of all of their continued support.

This blog post I wrote was arguably the most important one I have ever written. It has garnered a lot of attention. Last week I was contacted by a Journalist from the Washington Post and she had come across my blog. She was working on a story regarding the Gun Control debate after the Bruen decision. She reached out to see if I would be interested in being interviewed about my experiences and MZ 114. I agreed this was my first time speaking to someone in the national media. It was really scary. Will my words be interpreted in the way that they were designed? Will I be viewed as a radical “gun” guy? What was a really big gamble for me was also a tremendous honor because at the end of the day. I am a reasonable person, I am personable, and once again I am the man in the arena. I feel that the interview went well and I have had good feedback from my people. My goal was to build a bridge with the journalist so I could be a trusted source in the future for her. My biggest strength is my ability to speak in a way that those who don’t understand the topic of guns in a way that I can help educate them. There are many challenges that our country faces and the only way that they can be solved is by ALL of us coming together to have some really difficult conversations. I am proud of the work that I do. I am thankful for all of the opportunities that I have been afforded by my advocacy work. Lastly, I am thankful for all of my people who have trusted me as their “trusted” source for their information over the past few years. I will continue to speak my truth. I will also continue to give my neighbors a voice in this debate. I found mine and I want to empower them to do the same. Until next time. Be safe!