In lieu of lengthy explanations, I am posting the email exchange between Tom Gresham and Leslie Coleman PR of WWP. My comments will be at the end of the exchange.
After Sunday’s show, we’ve gotten many emails about Tom’s remarks after WWP declined an interview request on Gun Talk Radio because it’s a firearms-related show. We’ve also seen the forums that are suggesting many things that are not true. So, I’m going to lay it all out right here.
We thought it would be great to book the WWP on the Veterans Day show to promote the organization, so I contacted them. I was flabbergasted when their PR contact, Leslie, sent me an email saying they could not participate because our show dealt with firearms. Knowing that WWP has a booth at SHOT show and various gun shows across the US, takes wounded warriors on hunts and range days, raffles guns and accessories as fundraisers, etc., their policy didn’t make much sense. I forwarded the email on to Tom to get his take.
The following is the complete email exchange:
Sarah forwarded me your email after I asked her to invite the Wounded Warriors Project to join me on “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” radio show.
I’m stunned at your email saying that the WWP doesn’t participate in an interview or activity related to firearms. Inasmuch as there are 90 million gun owners and most of them support wounded veterans, I think they would be shocked to hear that they are, by way of their hobbies, somehow not worthy of helping with the Wounded Warriors Project.
Does your policy apply also to police agencies and the military, since they are “related to firearms?”
I’m hoping that we have misunderstood your email. Can you confirm that it is, in fact, an official policy of the Wounded Warriors Project to not do interviews with or participate in any activity related to firearms?
Good afternoon —
While we appreciate your interest in Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) you are correct that we decline the media opportunity.
Please note the following notice that appears on our website which also applies to WWP public awareness policy and inquiries from media outlets:
WWP does not co-brand, create cause marketing campaigns or receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from companies in which the product or message is sexual, political or religious in nature, or from alcohol or firearms companies.
Thank you for your inquiry.
LESLIE A. COLEMAN
public relations director
Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300
Jacksonville, Florida 32256
Thanks for confirming that, Leslie. It was a simple opportunity to promote the WWP on a national program in an effort to send donations your way.
I’ll pass along the info that you don’t want or need the help of America’s gun owners.
Good morning —
This policy is not a judgment on those who own and use firearms – clearly every member of our armed forces has been trained in the use of firearms and then called on to use them in the course of their service to this country.
Our position regarding firearms and alcohol is in response to the struggles that many injured service members face with substance abuse and suicide and the roles those items often play in those issues.
LESLIE A. COLEMAN
public relations director
Thank you for that explanation.
I do think — and I’m being as kind as possible — that it’s the nuttiest thing I’ve heard in years. Suicides are not linked to firearms. Japan has a much higher rate of suicide than does the U.S., and they have essentially no firearms. Suicide is a serious issue irrespective of the methodology used.
This explanation doesn’t pass even the most simple “does this make sense” test.
Your policy does, in fact, brand firearms and the companies which make them as undesirables, and by association, you are saying that those who own and use firearms for recreation, hunting, self protection, and other safe and legal uses are to be avoided.
It’s certainly your option to ostracize the firearms industry, the 90 million gun owners in America, and the media which support firearms safety training.
At this point, I feel an obligation to make sure the millions who listen to my radio show and watch my two national television series know about your policy.
I cannot fully express how much I feel you are doing a disservice to our wounded veterans, and how disappointed I am to discover this bias at the Wounded Warriors Project.
God, what a mess. This is The Make A Wish Foundation Screw Up for the new century.
Unfortunately this is clearly a politically motivated/pseudo scientifically taken decision by WWP. If they think guns are bad, they wouldn’t be proudly announcing in its webpage that Raytheon is a corporate sponsor.
Years ago I made the decision that I would not support Make A Wish with direct donations but I would not reject to offer direct help if asked. This came about one day at a previous job where we had the chance to give a four-year old who’d never seen the ocean a weekend at the beach. As much as I consider the organization’s stand against hunting stupid, I could not say no to a little kid enjoying his last summer on this planet even if the event was being sponsored by M-A-W. You have to be a callous S.O.B. to say no to a dying kid and I am not that cruel. Also, besides this post, I will not endorse publicly nor come down on WWP. As misguided as they are on this subject, they are serving a good cause and they have a fair rating with Charity Navigator.
As for you reader, you take your own decision.