(Don Turner) – Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese general and philosopher said that “strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory and tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Therefore it is obvious that the combination of strategy and tactics are necessary for success.
With the current all-out attack on our firearms rights, the firearms community should take some lessons from Sun Tzu. Based on several years of experience in fighting and advocating for gun rights and shooting ranges, it is apparent that there are five critical components for the successful deployment of strategy and tactics. The strategic application of these five components is necessary for success.
Since each topic is the subject of considerable written works, for the sake of brevity, only the significant points are mentioned. All five must be managed together for success.
Every strategy and tactic takes money to execute. It is not the volume of money gathered, but rather its strategic application that yields success. Just throwing money at an issue will not necessarily arrive at a successful outcome. To begin an advocacy program, fund raising programs must be developed and implemented. In addition, funds must be legally managed beyond reproach so your opponents will not able to file charges against you or destroy your reputation.
The target market must be identified. Who are the players that will provide the successful outcome that you are seeking? What is the opposition? You may have more than one market or more than one opposition group. If so, the following two components must be developed together for each targeted market. You must identify and target the markets that will yield the most successful return for your efforts. For instance only targeting gun owners for a pro gun issue may not be a successful strategy if they are of low influence to the outcome.
What message will influence the previously identified market(s) to support your position? This message MUST be crafted to gain their support. What can you say to get them to support you? Timing of the message is also critical, too soon it is forgotten, too late is just too late.
What media needs to be used to get the message to the target market? Social media, print media, bill boards, bumper stickers, door messages, demonstrations, TV slots, interviews, etc. They must be the media that are utilized by the above identified critical target market(s).
You must have a highly motivated and talented team committed to fight the fight until success is achieved. Lackluster efforts or broken promises only yield poor results.
(Mr. Turner is president of the Nevada Firearms Association)