WWATS & Task Force Responses…

I had made up my mind to take a few days off and concentrate on my book, but decided a followup to my post of October 9th is needed……

When I first saw the NCMD membership cards on John Winter’s blog, I thought how cool it would be if detectorists here in the US had something similar.  It sported not only the members photo but a mention on the back that the carrier was also covered by liability insurance.  Anyway I put out a challenge to our three national groups asking them to consider doing something similar.

Since sharing that challenge I’ve been busy putting our fires here and there, and trying to make sense of the responses I did receive.  So here “again” are the responses, in the order they were received…..they are unedited.  MY response is to Allyson’s comments.

The FMDAC has not responded….

FROM KEITH WILLS (WATTS)

No communication to members is not completely true, we do post any info. that comes to our attention or action needed to be seen in behalf of a lot of hobbies including metal detector users on our new website. As for our website, our webmaster is as good as they come and is world known, yet he is very detailed on all the newest variations of facets of websites since he wrote most of them for the major sites out there today; which makes him a very busy man and at some point will make us take over the updates ourselves on our website in the near future.

As for WWATS, it was in operation better than two years before I was as to come aboard as president. Prior to this I was vice president of the FMDAC for two years and before that was Chapter President in the South for ten years. I have many hours vested in the FMDAC and dearly believe they are a needed organization. Before that I was president of the Texas Council of Treasure Clubs in Texas for 8 years and VP for one year. Before that in the 70’s I started the Texas Connection working for metal detector users rights. Most all the various detector manufacturer know this and have told me at times that they would support me in efforts to promote our hobby. I have also been to Washington D.C. over a half a dozen times working with a number of government agencies to help promote our hobby which also led me to making the first and only metal detecting policy known nationwide with the chiefs of the Army Corp of Engineers national office in Washington D.C. in March 1989 allowing detectorist to detect on Army Corp properties around most all their lakes and swimming areas and some river swimming areas as well. Such a policy can be seen on my business site at: http://www.brokendetector.com or on WWATS site: http://www.wwats.org .

Most of our members know that if there is something cooking in the metal detecting world they can read about it on WWATS website; so there is a major form of communication for all to read and hopefully react to.

It is all too easy to moan and gripe on forums all over the Internet, is it the truth; most likely not! Is it accurate; doubtful!   Instead of contacting one of our officers directly (my phone number is 903-734-7773) and email below; folks decide to use their time on forums to start unnecessary trouble or slander others when they do not know the facts or even care to check into the facts before making slenderest remarks of others or organizations that are trying to help them. If you have strong complaints about those trying to help you, why don’t you do so as a member of that organization where you have a voice and possibly can make the necessary changes you would like to see? This is the very reason why no individual or especially organization do-not-have-the-time to answer such foolishness for this would never be the answer your looking for if they agreed to every statement you made about them, you still would continue to complain and gripe! How about you use that energy towards the hobby’s favor.

I have set thru dozens of court room ventures in behalf of our hobby or hobbies for and only for to learn more of why we are being prosecuted for our legal rights in our hobby, so to use this in our defense in the future. I have way too much invested in time and money too waste my time battling someone that has nothing to do better than start an issue with one of the three organizations out there trying to help you.
At WWATS, we have always and to this very day believed that it takes the three organizations to support the problems that come up with our hobby. We act independent of each other, but hope someday we can join hands.
As for WWATS, you can say what you will, claim anything you want, but we are too busy to come battle it out online with you. Many things are in the works at this time but are not worth mentioning until they become fact! How about you contacting one or more of the three of us and offer some time to help the cause of that time. Understand, we are giving up our time and in most instances our money not detecting but working for you and all those like you. We can all use more talent and your ideas, who knows you may become the hero of our hobby. For all those that work so hard and seldom receive a thank you or an email of appreciation, they are my HERO!!
Keith Wills, V.P. WWATS

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A FOLLOWUP RESPONSE FROM KEITH

All I could see was a bunch of folks without facts expecting organizations to come to them where ever they might be to answer a lot of far off accusations and fairy tales. They should pick up the phone and try calling one of the officers and ask them point blank or better yet, try joining the organizations where they have rights to all true information instead of blowing up false bull read on the internet forums from folks that have nothing else to do with their time and energy but to waste it on nonsense. What if all that energy was used to better our hobby, wouldn’t that be a blessing.
WWATS has forums on it’s new website, but will not accept such foolishness there.
Maybe I was looking at something other than what you were asking me, if so please correct me.
Dick I’m sorry, but look at all the “bashing” on the site. No wonder the organizations do not want to answer such. What would our membership want? For us to waste our time answering such when we know no answer will ever be good enough OR focus on the problems in our hobbies and work towards ways to head off such problems now and in the future.
WWATS has always felt that three organizations across this country is very necessary, for no one of us can handle all the problems that arise. Just maybe in the future three could join hands in our many efforts, someday! After a point you learn to work with what you have and put your efforts into it whole heartedly to support it and make it work.  

Keith Wills

_____________________________

FROM AVERY MARDER (Task Force)

 Very true Keith, we at the task Force have been fielding questions and requests for help for many years. The Task Force can not and will not put any efforts forward until, 1 – we make sure the information we received is factual, 2 – we have a reliable local contact person (and local club if possible) in the area where the problem is reported, a person(s) who is willing to put in some effort to help themselves, and the Metal Detecting Community, and 3 – the local people want the Task Force to help them according to TF standard “call to action” procedures.
The task Force does not want to ride into town like a band of “carpetbaggers” and impose edicts on local authorities. The Task Force wants to help empower local Detectorists to get their local politicians / authorities to work with them to improve the local situation, for the benefit of the local Detecting Community.
There have been, and are now situations that proved not to be valid, or are where an individual has been singled out because they did not follow the code of ethics, or out and out did something illegal / destructive and were caught. The TF will not get involved in defending anyone who acts in a manor that casts a bad light on the Detecting hobby.
Yes, Keith, we all want to help, but we need the local “boots on the ground” to help us help them. So as you said if you’re going to complain, then be willing to volunteer.  The TF is always open to volunteers who would like to help. This effort can spread across this country, and the three major Detecting organizations need to improve communications and work together now for the benefit of the Detecting Community.
Avery Marder,  Co-Chairperson, President Task Force for Metal Detecting

_____________________________

FROM ALLYSON COHEN (TASK FORCE)

Dick-

I told you the other day that I didn’t want to respond, because you may not like my point of view, and I didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship. You replied that I should post it, and that you respect my views. So, okay then, you asked for it, so here goes…

At times it seems like you’re the guy in the stands at a baseball game yelling at the umpire. Insulting his calls and telling him what a crappy job he’s doing, without realizing that without the umpire, the game couldn’t be played. So I wonder, wouldn’t it make more sense to support the umpire so that the game can continue?

The constant public bashing of the Task Force, WWATS, and the FMDAC, organizations that are trying to help, does nothing for their reputations or membership base. Every organization has problems. You and I have discussed some of these problems, and I have vented my frustrations to you many times, and vice-versa.

If you recall, at one time, before I got involved in the Task Force, I had written a few venting posts on my own blog, but when I found out they needed help, my attitude changed. I jumped on board and offered help where needed.

No one steps forward to volunteer, but they are quick to point fingers and tell us what we’re doing wrong.

If you think about it, who wants to write a letter to a city or town official after being told how worthless these organizations are? Or donate money or pay dues, after insinuations of waste and mismanagement of funds? Most of all, who would volunteer to be part of these organizations and expose themselves to such criticism?

Whether you realize it or not, the constant criticism of these organizations is contributing to the general feeling of apathy in the hobby. No one responds, because they’re tired. Tired of the criticism. It doesn’t matter if we get results or not, nothing is good enough.

No one can deny the contributions you made while a part of these organizations. You worked hard, achieved much, and we are grateful for your efforts. However, today is a different time, with different challenges.

“Back in the 80’s”, the number of detectorist’s was a lot smaller, and the discrimination was not so wide spread. There were no TV reality shows, painting detectorist’s in a poor light. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, websites, emails & blogs did not exist, and didn’t bombard you with notifications at all hours of the day and night. Back then, to be involved, you had to get involved–not just sit behind a computer screen, pointing fingers, and leaving comments. And I’m not singling you out Dick, you’ve made more than your share of contributions to this hobby. This is for all those who complain, yet refuse to get involved.

The Task Force board is made up of volunteers. We receive no money, or thanks for what we do, yet we continue. A small group of people, fighting for the rest of you.

When someone notifies us of a ban, or they’ve been told they can’t detect in a certain place, we try to get local people and detecting clubs involved, because they know and vote in their own community. They can attend local town meetings and support the issue’s.

In a perfect world, there would be never ending funds and time for a representative from the Task Force to travel to every problem area, and hire an attorney to fight every fight. But this is not a perfect world. Litigation is extremely costly, and funds are limited.

We have found that through growing our membership base, and sending out a call to action to that membership when a problem arises, we achieve better results. There is strength in numbers, and the more members we have, the more letters, emails and phone calls that go out. The more pressure these local governments feel, the more likely they are to pay attention.

And as a side note, I would say that 99% or the people who contact the Task Force about a problem, never respond back when contacted for more information about a problem area, even when several attempts have been made. Then a year later, they’ll send a nasty email asking why we never fixed their problem.

If John Doe writes in “I was detecting in XYZ park, and they told me I couldn’t anymore”, and doesn’t give a city or state where the problem exists, or respond to a request for more information, then how can we even begin to help? But that same guy will go onto forums and Facebook and tell everyone how he contacted us and we did nothing.

If someone is going to contact the Task Force for help in an area, they should be prepared to give complete information, including their contact information, and respond to requests for more information or clarification, not just file a complaint and disappear. The attitude of I told them, let them take care of it, does not help.

What these organizations need is volunteers and support, not criticism. Apathy gets nothing accomplished.

Allyson Cohen, Vice President, The Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights Foundation

_____________________________

MY RESPONSE TO ALLYSON

Hi Allyson,

I realize I am “that guy in the stands” and yes I boo the ump often because he is missing the calls badly.  I also realize that if I didn’t prod or challenge the three organizations, who would?  I click on their websites almost daily, and I never, ever see anything new.  Not even a “hi, we’re really busy” or “sorry we haven’t been in touch”…. is that too much to ask? Really?

All three groups need to do a little marketing….maybe a “state of the task force” article for the magazines (and do it every six months).  I feel certain all three magazines would be glad to share.  How about a call to action that requests help. That explains your need for chapters or whatever. Explain to your members what happened in the areas that were on the drawing board months ago. Honestly, just something.  Anything.  While my criticizing  the three groups may not help your cause, neither does month after month of deafening silence.

I thought my recent post about photo membership cards and liability insurance was a really nifty idea, and I was hoping one of you would simply say “we will look into it” but apparently that was too difficult to answer?

Anyway I have made up my mind to not mention the FMDAC, Task Force or WWATS for the foreseeable future.  I will leave things up to you all and wish you good luck.

And we are still friends Allyson…

Dick

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6 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

6 responses to “WWATS & Task Force Responses…

  1. Dick, true to your “standards” , you’re fast to suggest and criticize, but slow on the help or assist.
    Maybe if you were to step up to the plate and help the team effort, it would go a long way to help the three teams win the battle for Metal detecting rights, and the chance to play on a level field.
    I’m sure each of the three “leagues” would like to have you on their team

    • And just what is it that you would like ME to do for YOU? And what does “level field” mean?

      • I do not trust any of the metal detecting organizations here in America to stand up for me, nor for any of my colleagues whom exercise good judgment and proper ethics. It has been proven time and time again that our community has done a very poor job of policing itself, instead embracing and glorifying individuals and groups who thrust themselves into the social networking limelight and behave in ways that I find highly questionable and detrimental to the hobby. In my geographical area, there is at least one group operating in a manner that highly compromises the public image of the hobby, and yet no one from any of these organizations comes forth to condemn their actions.

      • Thanks Julio….can you share more about the group you mentioned?

  2. As your friend in England brought up. ..they have a law that allows the Metal Detectoring Community to hunt, with permission, and in compliance with the law, almost anywhere. That’s a level field.
    The Task Force would love to see legislation in the USA similar to what they have in England.
    What do you think you could do to help get this movement started here ?

    • Ah, nothing like throwing the whole ball of wax, the most difficult challenge first. Nice Avery…

      I have been thinking about your challenge to help, and if I were to offer my help, it would be contingent on a few things. Things that I have mentioned in the past, and things that have pissed you off. Things that require give and take, and things that might sometimes mean accepting total defeat. Do you want to hear them, or will you simply accuse me of going back on my word, and bashing again?

      Seriously Avery, given what I see now, I will not simply throw my lot into an already prearranged mess in order to satisfy your “now we have him” response….it’s much more complicated than that. So you tell me, do you want to hear what my requirements would be?

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