Clenched Fist by Tom Reynolds
SCOPE is strong because we have both chapters and a statewide organization. Both are necessary. One without the other would seriously weaken our efforts to defend the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment.
We’ve heard the adage about individual fingers being weak but when clenched into a fist they are a powerful weapon. It also applies to defense of the 2nd Amendment.
Unfortunately, most 2A organizations don’t “play well” with each other. SCOPE understands that we need to work with other 2A defenders and have a clenched fist in defending 2A. It wasn’t that way until 2016 and there were a few within SCOPE who resisted that change. Unfortunately, some individuals still continue their opposition but state SCOPE doesn’t spend any of its precious time or resources fighting other 2A organizations. We know who 2A’s enemies are: Cuomo, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and their followers, as well as those who say they are on our side but are quick to betray 2A when push-comes-to-shove.
The clenched fist not only applies to inter-2A relationships but intra-SCOPE relationships between chapters.
State SCOPE created chapters and they are powerful sources of information and influence when dealing with local issues but we also need the power of combined chapters as most issues go beyond the local area of influence. Chapters are knowledgeable about one county or two, but statewide political offices have districts covering multiple counties and, in a few cases, the whole state. We need both chapters and that intra-state coordination that state SCOPE provides.
SCOPE is also unusual in that none of its officers or board members get paid, either directly or indirectly. In fact, it’s extremely rare for an officer to ask reimbursement for their expenses. We’re volunteers in the truest sense. State SCOPE’s funds get used to defend 2A and not for the benefit of any officers.
Our state officers are a crucial link to politicians at both the state and federal level. The closed fist analogy is important here as speaking for an entire organization conveys more influence than speaking for only one chapter. In addition, politicians and the public need to hear a consistent and focused message rather than random messages from various chapters and, in return, they like to be able to use only one contact in an organization when they want to get out their message.
Sue.firstname.lastname@example.org is our only paid employee. As with SCOPE’s officers, she rarely seeks reimbursement for the expenses she incurs. Along with a few volunteers, she coordinates the various aspects of SCOPE, especially the electronic aspects: our website, handling payments, dealing with questions, seeing that emails (like today’s) get sent. There is also the routine administrative work that someone has to do. Without that coordination, which could not be accomplished by volunteers, there would be no SCOPE presence. Those that work often with her know her value to SCOPE and, thus, to the 2nd Amendment.
The Firing Lines is another state SCOPE effort that relies on volunteers to write and edit the articles. It is a vital communications link to our members and, because it is printed and mailed, it’s expensive for state SCOPE to produce.
SCOPE’s main purpose is education and that requires gathering information. A huge amount of time is spent, every day at state SCOPE level, reading various sources of information, interpreting that information, deciding what’s important and timely and then writing the emails and Firing Lines Articles. Some sources of information are general but members constantly send us information, since they know their work often gets converted into statewide distribution. Often, SCOPE’s emails and articles are the combined efforts of several people. You may recall that prior to the election this past November, you were receiving 4 to 5 emails a week on election issues. Each email requires hours of research and writing. In addition, preparing the candidate ratings and summaries of bills in the federal and state legislatures are very time consuming. It would be difficult to get volunteers to do this if the distribution was only limited to the chapter level but because of the combined reach of the state, it is worthwhile and gets done. Again, all this is done by volunteers.
Our state Facebook page is, again, run by volunteers from all over the state and is an important part of getting 2A information out. A post on Tuesday got over 250 reactions within 5 hours and 154 shares, which Facebook says reached over 5,000 people. Three days later it had over 900 shares and reached over 40,000 people.
State SCOPE gets emails with questions or requesting help from all over the state. We usually answer them immediately and try to resolve all of them in a short period of time.
Last year, when state SCOPE’s finances were finally recovering, state SCOPE was able to financially help three chapters at fiscal year-end. This was unusual since SCOPE has been working to balance its budget for several years but when state SCOPE has funds available it does spread them throughout the organization and does not keep them for sole use at the state level.
SCOPE’s officers come from all over the state and not one area has undue influence. Our Chairman is from Yates County and our past President is from Monroe County. Our current President is from Chemung County while our Secretary is from Rensselaer County. Sue.email@example.com is in Erie County. SCOPE strives to be a statewide organization. The state is responsive to the chapters and the chapters are responsive to the state.