Red, Blue, and Brady

22: Who Needs a Gun in 15 Minutes or Less?

November 20, 2019
Red, Blue, and Brady
22: Who Needs a Gun in 15 Minutes or Less?
Chapters
Red, Blue, and Brady
22: Who Needs a Gun in 15 Minutes or Less?
Nov 20, 2019
Brady

JJ and JP gather to talk with Ross Misher, CEO at Brand Central Group and long time Brady member . When Ross was only 12, his father Ken Misher was murdered by a long-time employee and friend who purchased a handgun in 15 minutes or less while on his lunch break. Ross turned his anger into action, launching a life in activism that continues 35 years later. 

Today in this Minisode, we cover:

  • why background checks matter;
  • why "cooling off" periods are important;
  • why Jim and Sarah Brady were amazing advocates;
  •  the trauma felt by those left behind after a shooting;
  • why the NRA is out of touch; and
  • how YOU can get involved in activism today.

In particular, listen in for the "Tina Timid" section. You'll be horrified! Which, par for the course on here, but still. 

Some of the links mentioned in this episode :
"
Expand Brady Background Checks."
"
History of Brady."
"
Say Enough: Kenny Misher."
"
Team Enough."

Similar episodes:
Episode 1:
Tony Coelho on the ADA, the Brady Bill, and what happens when you confront the Pope
Episode 4:
Joan Peterson on domestic violence, ERPOs, and how to be proactive

For more information on Brady, follow us on social
@Bradybuzz, or via our website at bradyunited.org. Full transcripts and bibliography available at bradyunited.org/podcast.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. 
Music provided by: David “Drumcrazie” Curby
Special thanks to Hogan Lovells, for their longstanding legal support 
℗&©2019 Red, Blue, and Brady

Show Notes Transcript

JJ and JP gather to talk with Ross Misher, CEO at Brand Central Group and long time Brady member . When Ross was only 12, his father Ken Misher was murdered by a long-time employee and friend who purchased a handgun in 15 minutes or less while on his lunch break. Ross turned his anger into action, launching a life in activism that continues 35 years later. 

Today in this Minisode, we cover:

  • why background checks matter;
  • why "cooling off" periods are important;
  • why Jim and Sarah Brady were amazing advocates;
  •  the trauma felt by those left behind after a shooting;
  • why the NRA is out of touch; and
  • how YOU can get involved in activism today.

In particular, listen in for the "Tina Timid" section. You'll be horrified! Which, par for the course on here, but still. 

Some of the links mentioned in this episode :
"
Expand Brady Background Checks."
"
History of Brady."
"
Say Enough: Kenny Misher."
"
Team Enough."

Similar episodes:
Episode 1:
Tony Coelho on the ADA, the Brady Bill, and what happens when you confront the Pope
Episode 4:
Joan Peterson on domestic violence, ERPOs, and how to be proactive

For more information on Brady, follow us on social
@Bradybuzz, or via our website at bradyunited.org. Full transcripts and bibliography available at bradyunited.org/podcast.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. 
Music provided by: David “Drumcrazie” Curby
Special thanks to Hogan Lovells, for their longstanding legal support 
℗&©2019 Red, Blue, and Brady

Support the show (https://www.bradyunited.org/donate)

Speaker 1:
0:08
[inaudible] everybody.
Speaker 2:
0:09
This is the legal disclaimer where we tell you that views, thoughts, opinion, shared on this podcast belong solely to us, the people talking to you right now and not necessarily Brady or Brady's affiliates. Please note that this podcast contains discussions of violence that some people may find disturbing. It's okay. We find them disturbing too.
Speaker 1:
0:44
Welcome back
Speaker 2:
0:45
everyone to a, it's a mini so we're so excited to have you here with us at red, blue and Brady and we are celebrating two things today. One, this is actually a mini-sode with JP. I am not by myself. This is great. Also, we are joined by Ross Misher. Ross is a phenomenal human being. He's a survivor. He's a very long time activist and I'm going to go ahead and call him the [inaudible], the original Brady youth team member and Ross. It's, it's so great to have you with us and here to share your story. Thank you so much for coming on
Speaker 3:
1:18
and thank you for having me on your podcast today. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened in January, 1980 for sure. Back in. It was actually January 11th, 1984 I was living in Boca Raton, Florida. My family just moved there from New York and my dad moved his company down to Florida and my family wanted to live the Florida lifestyle. And so they moved from Chile, New York to Florida. And my dad moved to his whole company down to Florida and built a brand new building, uh, including kind of his right hand man, a guy named Gino who had been with him for almost 20 years. And so on January 11th he was officially living in Florida and they literally were spending the day putting up all the pictures in the brand new office building and we were having a little celebration dinner party, you know, at our house to celebrate him officially being with us in Florida.
Speaker 3:
2:20
And as the night went on, he didn't come home for dinner, which was obviously odd and he knew the time that the party was starting. But back then in 1984 there was no cell phones, there was no emails. So we sent my grandfather to find out where he was, maybe he, you know, got caught up late and work or he was spending more time hanging up the photos. And while we were waiting for my grandfather to come back, two police officers showed up at the door and extremely in a very stoic kind of way, just said, you know, mr Misher is deceased and mr [inaudible] is deceased. And kind of turned around and walked out the door and we screaming. We didn't understand what happened. We thought there was a car accident or a burglary. And, um, you know, later what we learned was that, you know, Geno went out on his lunch hour that day, put on his visa card and bought a gun, a Billy Bob's gun shop and Pompano, and decided to take some practice rounds and then return to work and finish the day.
Speaker 3:
3:24
And you know, when everybody left the office and him and my father hanging up the pictures and he shot my dad and then shot himself. You know, this was a man that he knew for 20 years. He was a manager of his company. You know, and they very well could have had a, a disagreement on, you know, some small issue. I think one of the bookkeepers told us they had a discussion that morning about something. But you know, to be able to go and buy a gun and be able to get that gun immediately in the heat of the moment where you're upset, maybe you're upset with a loved one or you're upset with something that happened at that moment. And what a cooling off period allows you to do is you can apply for the gun, but it gives you in some cases, three days in some cases, 10 days, um, time to kind of reflect of why you need a gun and allow you to kind of cool off and realize maybe what you're doing.
Speaker 3:
4:23
I mean, everybody has right, you know, arguments with a friend or a kid or a loved one. And you know, you have a lot of different perspective the next day. And I think that having a weapon so easily accessible to people, um, a cooling off period allows you to really reflect of why you need a gun. What I want to go get, uh, renew my driver's license. That takes hours. You know, um, my, you want to buy a gun, you can go to, uh, a gun show or you can go anywhere, you know, you can get your gun delivered to your house like Postmates now, you know, they have apps that can, you know, deliver your gun. I mean, it's, it's incredible the amount of access that people have to guns if they want them. And there's just, you know, so many other parts of our culture that require, you know, that are so much less dangerous but yet require so much, uh, more, you know, rigorous checking of who you are and why do you need it.
Speaker 4:
5:24
And how old were you Ross when this happened? I was 12 years old. And you had just moved to Florida when that had happened. It must've been an incredible change in your life to move to a new place and then obviously have that tragedy happened with your father. How did your family react?
Speaker 3:
5:44
It was a, obviously without saying a very difficult time. I mean we, you know, I didn't have many friends there. I just lived there for three or four months. And you know, my mother literally was extremely strong. She came in, went back into that building where he was killed and she cleaned everything up and got the staff together and she said, you know, I'm in charge and I'm gonna, you know, continue to run his company. And she did for another, I think seven or eight years, almost 10 years. But it was a, it was an extremely horrific time for the family.
Speaker 2:
6:21
How, how do you deal emotionally with, with the aftermath of that? Can you even deal with that sort of trauma?
Speaker 3:
6:28
Yeah, I mean, you know, when this happened to our family, we, we felt an, you know, a measurable amount of pain. I mean, our, you know, when, when people don't even think about or realize is that when, when you lose a family member, you know, your whole family structure changes. You know, my sister was going off to college, my mother now had to step in and run his company and had to fly to Europe. I mean, you really kind of feel powerless and you at least, I felt at that time that I, I wanted to do something that made sure that he didn't die in vain. You know, that, you know, gun violence is something that is completely senseless. You know, it doesn't have to happen. Um, you know, there's a lot of ways people you know, die, whether it's through cancer or through other things that are, you know, out of their control. But gun violence is something that can change. And so I felt like at that time, emotionally I had a choice whether I could have just been depressed and sad and you know, let it change the course of my life. And I was really determined to, I hate to say turn this negative horrible thing that happened into something that was positive so that another 12 year old kid wouldn't have to lose their dad.
Speaker 2:
7:54
And so you go on then, not, not very long after, which is, I mean, incredible strength yourself because you're, I mean, you're a child, no one wants to be called a child at 12 or 13, but you're, you're a kid. And you form this group called students against handgun violence.
Speaker 3:
8:12
Actually that, that organization happened a little bit later. What I did was I got involved with a group called the handgun control network. I mean this was, you know, the front page news in Boca Raton at that time, you know, a, you know, a handgun, you know, murder suicide was something that didn't really happen that often. And so, you know, I said to my mother, you know, right after this happened, I can't imagine how, you know, our laws in this country would allow somebody to be able to go out on their lunch hour and buy a gun at the same ease as you buy a cup of coffee. I don't understand how that can happen. I really didn't understand, literally don't understand the laws that allowed you to get a gun so easily in this country. And I met a guy named Joe Schutt. W also had a family tragedy. It was working on a local law to pass a waiting period in Palm beach County, which was the County that I lived in. And so Joe and I and together with a group of people literally, you know, petitioned and mailings and door to door and pretty much passed, you know, I Palm beach County, uh, legislation for a waiting period,
Speaker 2:
9:24
which is amazing. I,
Speaker 3:
9:27
it was great. I mean at that time it was a, you know, a small victory. But, um, I felt like it was the beginnings for me of kind of turning that, that anger into action and really doing something that I felt made a difference go, could have made a difference in what happened to my dad and hopefully for other families as well. And I think from there, Sarah Brady heard about this kid who was passing local laws in Florida and she contacted. And how did that conversation go? Was it, you kinda got a phone call and your mom said that, Hey, there's a Sarah Brady on the phone. How did that, how did that happen? Oh, it was incredible. I mean, she congratulated me for, you know, what we did in Palm beach County and she said that she was working on a bill called the Brady bill. And obviously I knew the story of, of, of Jim and Sarah, and she asked if I was willing to join her and testifying in front of the Senate hearing committee for the Brady bill. Um, and I was so excited and to help and participate in any way I could. And it was, it was a really unbelievable experience, um, to be able to go, to go to Congress and be able to testify in front of all the senators. And then afterwards, Sarah and I, we went kind of door to door to each of the senator's offices and told our stories and really, you know, made the case for the Brady bill back in 1986
Speaker 2:
10:52
and what was it like testifying and in particular with Jim Brady on the, the cooling off period, but then also on mandatory background checks. What does that like, cause you were at that time, 1516
Speaker 3:
11:04
I was about 16.
Speaker 2:
11:06
Yeah. So what does it like to be a student activist at that particular time in 1986
Speaker 3:
11:13
it wasn't a, it was a great experience. I mean, I obviously, you know, I was nervous. I was, um, in front of all these senators and you know, you see all those, you know, the testifying, uh, on TV and, but I really felt like the best thing that I could do is authentically tell my story as a, as someone who, you know, show the impact that, you know, waiting periods and or lack of a waiting period had as well as a background check. You know, I mean this is, you know, there was no background check run on the, the man who killed my father either. So it was a, it was a great experience for me. And actually from that experience I ended up wanting to get involved in politics and attending the George university and GE and starting students against handgun violence was really the first Brady, a student organization that, you know, now we have team enough. That was kind of the early precursor to the team enough. So it was a really life changing experience for me.
Speaker 2:
12:08
You know, we, we see so many student activists now almost out of necessity because young people feel very much under attack in the U S today. And what do you think about today's student activists?
Speaker 3:
12:18
Oh, I, I mean, I think that is where the real energy comes from this movement. Because, you know, not only, um, I'm now like an old guy, but the, the students can really talk about personal experiences and about the, you know, they're, they don't want to have this gun violence in their future. They don't want to have this, you know, have, you know, their own children, be scared to attend schools or to go to concerts. So, you know, when, when Parkland happened, actually a week later, I flew down there and I met with a lot of the Parkland students and I met with several of the teachers that were in the building and I, you know, and I talked to them about what I did and testifying in front of the Senate and, um, the Brady bill and my activism. And really quite honestly, I was there to not only hopefully be a support system for them, but also to get them, you know, engaged and kind of fired up in the sense of realizing that their voice can really make a difference in this movement because they are the victims that could actually speak to what was happening, you know, in Parkland.
Speaker 3:
13:26
And, uh, they were really a amazing inspirational group of, of teenagers. Um, and I think that, you know, that tipping point was something we will look back on, I think in this movement and say it really was a turning point for how the country felt about gun violence prevention
Speaker 2:
13:45
being 16 and testifying. Did you think that this fight would have to still be going on now in 2019 or was there some hope that you and the Brady's were gonna look at you? We're going to solve it?
Speaker 3:
13:58
Yeah, I mean, you know, I thought that, you know, the Brady bill, you know, when that got passed in the 90s, that would be the start of reasonable gun violence laws. And I really thought that would be, you know, the first step in many steps and you look at the assault rifle ban and others and then, you know, in this, in this, uh, movement, I think it's a lot of two steps forward and one step back. So, you know, we, we obviously, you know, back to where we are now, where we don't even have the legislation that we had 20 and 30 years ago.
Speaker 2:
14:30
Yeah. I think I read an interview from you and I think actually you said it just now a few minutes ago to the turning anger into action, which I think that's a feeling a lot of people have in this anger that this has happened to their family anger, that it's allowed to continue to happen in. But I also feel like that's a lot of weight for a person to carry at a child. And so my question then would be, what would you want people to know about the trauma felt by the people left behind?
Speaker 3:
15:01
Well, I mean, good violence, you know, really goes beyond just homicides, right? It's suicides. There's eight kids a day that are dying from gun violence. Kids are feeling unsafe in their schools. I mean, it's really become an epidemic. You know, Joan Peterson, you know, one of your previous guests, you know, talked about the PT LSD and how, you know, she believes that our youth today, you know, feel that way over gun violence. Um, I mean, even my wife and I, we think twice when we think about sending our kids to a concert or to a venue that has, you know, lots of people and that just shouldn't be, you know, in our country.
Speaker 2:
15:45
So one of the things that you've done that I think is so incredibly cool is you've debated the NRA before in one of those debates with the NRA, you said, quote, they can go home to their families. I go home and my father isn't there. I'm a living victim. If people want a gun for the right reasons, like protecting their homes, they can wait seven days until their record is checked by the police and quote. And that really struck me. I was curious what you meant by a living victim and why that was important for you to get across. And then just what it's like, that responsibility of sort of speaking for the people that you've lost and speaking to the NRA.
Speaker 3:
16:25
Well, after I testified with Sarah Brady and we spent a couple of days together, you know, in DC, she said, um, you know, you're articulate young man, uh, I'd love you to join me in, you know, some television appearances. You know, we're, we're, we're going on in, in debating the NRA, would you, we'd like you to participate in. I said, of course I would. And in this particular one that you're mentioning, you know, the NRA was, they made up a fictitious person called Tina timid. Um, and they were talking about, well, you know, if Tema timid needs a gun, you know, today to protect herself, you know, you're not going to wait seven days. And so, you know, we really debating that issue. And I just kinda came and said, I know we're talking about Tina timid, but I'm talking about Ken Mischer. Like, that's a real person, you know. And Ross Mischer his son.
Speaker 3:
17:20
You know, we're, we're the real victims, not a hypothetical victim. We're the living victims. You know, we're the ones who I have to wake up every day or think about my dad or hear a song that reminds me about him on the radio or the opportunity that my children didn't get a chance to meet their grandfather. You know? So you are almost a victim of gun violence because you know by means of the loss that you've had. Although my father of course is the one who really lost on everything, you know, being killed at 39 years old. Sarah was fantastic and kind of her back and forth banter with them and really hammering home the F the facts that, you know, obviously I feel are very clear and in favor of reasonable legislation.
Speaker 4:
18:04
Do you have any thoughts on, particularly from your debates with the NRA versus some of the, the rhetoric used now of how you've seen things change or not change over the last 30 years?
Speaker 3:
18:17
Even back then? I would argue that they were, I don't think very in touch with their membership. I don't think that, you know, I think that they were really driven and controlled by the gun lobby and by gun manufacturers and they were in touch with kind of everyday people who really, and most and a lot of the research shows that most people, even NRA members, um, you know, believe in background checks, expanded background checks and a lot of the positions that they were taking even in the debate in the 80s was very unreasonable. You know, it was very extreme. You know, they are a organization that is I think a Relic of, you know, what it used to be. And even NRA really started as a sportsman organization that was really about hunting and you know, about safe storage, which has now turned into, you know, basically a lobby organization for gun manufacturers.
Speaker 4:
19:17
Is there anything else that you'd want our listeners to take away from, from your personal story of advocacy and surviving gun violence?
Speaker 3:
19:25
Well, I mean, I think that from my story, hopefully, you know, my story is really a, is a, a case study in, you know, how gun violence impacts people's lives and how, you know, gun violence is an issue that has been going on for years and years and years. I mean in, in 1983 the year before my father is killed, you know, 9,500 people were killed with guns and this year it's over 36,000 people. So this is an issue that isn't getting better, it's getting worse. And that, you know, I think that my story is about one, as a young advocate, you can stay with an issue that you believe in personally and passionately and stick with it, you know, and not give up on, on what you believe in. And secondly, that a young kid, you know, like, like Gretta in the om or others, you can make a difference just by one voice, by testifying in the Brady bill.
Speaker 3:
20:22
I feel like hopefully I helped move that legislation forward by the work that we're doing today. You know, with our Brady regional council. I hope and feel like we're moving the issue forward and that go with what you believe in and never and never give up. And I think that, you know, today there are really three main issues as people who are familiar with Brady know, you know, expanded background checks and a waiting period, which is by 97% of Americans, you know, crime guns, you know, we know who those bad Apple gun dealers are. And in 90% of those guns come from 5% of those gun dealers. And then we're doing a lot of work on our West coast regional council in LA on ending fam family fire because we feel like Hollywood and entertainment can really do a lot of good to change those social norms and help people understand the right thing to do and with safe storage.
Speaker 5:
21:16
So final question before, unfortunately we have to say goodbye, you know, for now, what's one thing that our listeners could do right now to help fight against this epidemic of gun violence? I mean, no one has an excuse. You started doing this at 12. So
Speaker 3:
21:31
I mean obviously you know, get involved with Brady, whether if you're a, if you're a student, join team them enough. If you're someone who's active in the issue, join one of our regional councils or join, you know, what Brady's doing on a national level. Um, and of course there's the obvious things like calling your Congress people and passing legislation and all those things. But I would say really think about what is your special skill? What are the things that you do that no one else can do that you can bring to this issue? You know, everybody's got something that they contribute and really think about what's the one thing that you know well or maybe someone who you know and focus on that.
Speaker 5:
22:09
I mean, that's excellent advice. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you so much Ross.
Speaker 6:
22:15
[inaudible]
Speaker 5:
22:15
thanks for listening. As always, Brady's lifesaving work in Congress. The courts and communities across the country is made possible. Thanks to you. For more information on Brady or how to get involved in the fight against gun violence, please like and subscribe to the podcast. Get in touch with us@bradyunited.org or on social at Brady buzz. Be brave and remember, take action. Not sign.
Speaker 1:
22:41
It's [inaudible].
Speaker 6:
23:02
[inaudible].
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