Bernstein Crisis Management. Crisis response, prevention, planning, and training.

Crisis Manager Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management

© 2008 Jonathan Bernstein
Circulation: 4,500+
Estimated Readership: 17,000+


Character is not made in a crisis, it is only exhibited.

Robert Freeman


Firearms Manufacturer Misfires
By Claire Wolfe

Toward the end of November, people in the gun-owning community discovered that H-S Precision, a South Dakota firearms company specializing in hunting and tactical rifles and parts, was using an endorsement by former FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi on its 2008 catalog.

Lon Horiuchi is best known as the FBI sniper who shot through a door, killing Vicki Weaver, a mother holding a 10-month old baby, in 1992. The case was nationally publicized, and eventually the federal government paid the Weaver family $3.1 million dollars.

When Idaho state officials attempted to try Horiuchi for manslaughter, the feds blocked their efforts. Horiuchi went unpunished -- a fact that has rankled with many people for 16 years.

The idea that H-S Precision would print an endorsement by Horiuchi was not only morally repugnant, but incredibly stupid in terms of "precision" shooting, since the man's most famous shot was as bad as it gets.

H-S's choice was SO awful at first many people assumed the catalog quote was a joke. But it was verified.

Word of H-S Precision's choice FLEW around the Internet on the wings of outrage.

And just when you'd think things couldn't get any worse for H-S Precision, they made it worse for themselves.

The company remained absolutely silent. They didn't respond to emails. (I know because I wrote one and heard from others who did the same, including well-known gun bloggers and heads of shooting sports groups.) They made no public statement. Bloggers and others who called the company got only the most vague and neutral responses, if any.

So the 'Net-based rage swelled, resulting not only in threats of boycott against H-S Precision and their distributors and associates (including Midway, Cabelas, Remington, etc.), but in barbed -- and well-deserved -- attacks like these against H-S Precision:

Gun blogs and forums crackled with jokes about H-S Precision getting O.J. Simpson to endorse knives, or Jeffrey Dahmer to endorse food products.

And still no word from H-S Precision.

Finally, on December 5, nearly two weeks after the story began circulating, H-S Precision issued what might just qualify as the world's most wussy and missing-the-point statement:

It reads, in full:

To Our Valued Customers:

H-S Precision has received comments relating to individual testimonials in our 2008 catalog. All of the testimonials focused on the quality, accuracy and customer service provided by H-S Precision.

The management of H-S Precision did not intend to offend anyone or create any type of controversy. We are revising our 2009 catalog and removing all product testimonials.


The Management of H-S Precision

Regardless of one's position on firearms, one fact is undeniable and is certainly well known to every company in the shooting-sports business: Piss off gun-rights activists and you will pay.

Evidence of this is famously abundant.

  • Recently, firearms owners wiped out the 30-year career of outdoorsman Jim Zumbo when he made a single bigoted remark about certain types of guns. (Within a week, because of boycott threats, he had lost virtually every endorsement, column, and TV contract.)
  • Smith & Wesson cooperated with the Clinton administration — and gun owners nearly destroyed them.
  • KMart chose the virulently anti-gun Rosie O'Donnell as a spokesperson and a gun-owner boycott helped force the company to its knees.
  • Angry gun owners have also been credited with knocking out the Democratic majority in Congress in 1994, after passage of the Brady Law and the (now defunct) "assault weapons ban." Since then, even the most anti-gun Democrats tread with care when proposing legislation.

It's simply incredible that in the face of all that, H-S Precision would not only choose Lon Horiuchi as an endorser but would then respond so laggardly and foolishly, once confronted.

As one activist recently wrote, "Seems H-S has decided they really, REALLY want to go the way of Zumbo..."

After a long career in PR, advertising, and corporate communications, Claire Wolfe is now a part-time gadfly and full-time artist.

Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation & Certification Program
By Donald L. Schmidt

Title IX of Public Law 110-53 ("Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007") requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a voluntary private sector preparedness accreditation and certification program. DHS was charged with tasks to establish the program including:

  • Designate one or more organizations to act as an accrediting body
  • Designate one or more standards for assessing private sector preparedness
  • Provide information and promote the business case for voluntary compliance with preparedness standards

Since the law was passed in August 2007, DHS has designated FEMA Administrator Paulison to administer the program and chair the Private Sector Preparedness Council. The council includes leadership from the Science & Technology Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, and the Private Sector Office.

"We believe that compliance with the [preparedness] Ôstandard' should define the standard of care owed by a company to its employees and the public for legal purposes." — 9/11 Commission

DHS has signed an agreement with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to develop and oversee the certification process, manage the accreditation, and accredit qualified third parties to carry out the certification in accordance with the accepted procedures of the program.

ANAB has organized its "Committee of Experts" to advise ANAB on the qualifications of the "Certifying Bodies" that will accredit qualified third parties. Don Schmidt, CEO of Preparedness, LLC and Chair of the NFPA 1600 Technical Committee, is a member of the ANAB Committee of Experts along with representatives from other standards developers and private sector industry representatives.

DHS has not yet formally designated any standards for assessing private sector preparedness under this law, although DHS' Science & Technology Directorate has adopted NFPA 1600. At the October ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel plenary meeting in Washington, officials stated they are not picking a "winner" and that all reasonable standards will be included. DHS, however, has privately informed ANAB to begin work using NFPA 1600.

DHS has also published an initial draft of their "target criteria," which will be used to select standards for assessing private sector preparedness. The "target criteria" for selecting standards includes:

  • A scope and/or policy statement.
  • Identification and conformity with applicable legal, statutory, regulatory and other requirements.
  • Objectives and strategies.
  • Hazard and threat identification, risk assessment, vulnerability analysis, and impact analysis.
  • Incident management, strategy, tactics, operational plans and procedures.
  • Communications and warning.
  • Training.
  • Resources management and/or logistics.
  • Assessments, audits and/or evaluation of programs.
  • Program revision and process improvement including corrective actions.

These "target criteria" align almost exactly to the elements within NFPA 1600. Accordingly, we will discuss each of these criteria within upcoming newsletters.

Although this program is voluntary, businesses are watching closely. Whether they choose to seek certification or not, business leaders are evaluating their preparedness program. In the end, that's what it's all about—protecting employees, property, business operations, the environment, and the business entity itself.

Donald L. Schmidt is the CEO of Preparedness, LLC a client-focused risk consulting company. He is also the chair of the NFPA Technical Committee on Emergency Management and Business Continuity, which is responsible for NFPA 1600. Contact him at or by phone at 781.784.0672.

New Column About Online Reputation Management
By Jonathan Bernstein

I have a new monthly column, "REPUTATION MANAGEMENT ONtheLINE" in the Media Bullseye newsletter published by online news and blog tracking service If you're interested, you can read it here.

Have An Opinion? Blog It!

The Bernstein Crisis Management Blog exists for your editor AND his readers to spout off about crisis management related topics. If I haven't already started a topic you're interested in, then be part of the solution and suggest one to me by writing to


Holiday Deals at the Crisis Manager Store

Recordings of four teleseminars are available for 30% off of their retail $95 price:

  • Crisis Management & The Law
  • How to Conduct a Vulnerability Audit
  • The Nastiest Media Tricks and How to Prevent Them
  • Internet CounterIntelligence

Full descriptions of the contents can be found at Use Coupon Code SUCHADEAL when checking out to receive your discount.

Keeping the Wolves at Bay 3.0 Reviewed

"Keeping the Wolves at Bay" is much more than another media training guide - it is perhaps one of the most concise, insightful, useful and savvy guides to strategic thinking about reputation issues available.

Gerald Baron
Founder & CEO of PIER System and host of

"It's like a Swiss Army knife -- lots of cool tools in a compact package. In case of emergency, grab this."

Steven R. Van Hook, PhD
Publisher, About Public Relations

In addition to individual and business usage, the manual is now being required as a textbook at Seton Hall University, Grand Canyon University, and Singapore Management University, amongst others. It is available in both PDF and hard copy formats at, with reseller arrangements available for collegiate bookstores.

Jonathan Bernstein also offers on-site media training worldwide, using this manual as the basis for training. Write to

Internet Counter-Intelligence CD-ROM

In a one-hour teleseminar recorded in December 2007, search engine optimization expert Diana Huff interviewed Jonathan Bernstein, a pathfinder and innovator in the field of Internet-centered crisis management, who described how a wide range of companies have been damaged by the Internet's virtual terrorists, and how some companies have been responding effectively.

In this one-hour session, you'll learn how to conduct your own Internet vulnerability audit; develop strategies for identifying your foes -- activists, disgruntled employees, or unhappy customers -- and tracking Internet chatter; build the case within your organization for ensuring someone is monitoring the blogosphere, news, and Internet forums every day; plan for an Internet crisis and, when one hits, assess the situation to determine an appropriate response; develop the action steps you can take to neutralize attacks, including starting your own blog and developing collateral such as brochures, video, podcasts, and Web links to other reputable and informative sites; and effectively use search engine optimization tactics -- not just because you want customers to find your products -- but so you can beat these guys at their own game!

Available at, as are our other titles.

Disaster Prep 101

Bernstein Crisis Management is pleased to present one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly family preparedness texts available today. "Disaster Prep 101." by Paul Purcell, goes above and beyond the simplistic "72-hour kit" concept and provides simple, yet detailed educational material that will drastically improve the ability of any family to respond to all manner of disasters or emergencies. This preparedness package contains over 400 pages of well-organized, original preparedness material written in an easy-to-understand, non-panic format; 80 pages of family data forms and worksheets (many of which are also useful to the employer); and a 2-CD set containing two interactive and searchable links collections for additional educational sources; all the family data forms and worksheets in softcopy format; and a complete emergency reference library of over 450 additional books and training manuals! US$59.95. Available here.


Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. has formal or informal co-promotional and mutually beneficial business associations with a number of the services we mention periodically in this newsletter. No, we can't go into details because that's confidential, proprietary, etc. But our relationship is NOT "arm's distance" and you should know that, since we regularly write about these services as we use them for crisis and issues management or other purposes. That said, you should also know that Bernstein Crisis Management sought the relationships because its staff is convinced that these services are the best of their kind for Bernstein Crisis Management's needs and those of its clients. If you have any questions about these relationships, please contact Jonathan Bernstein, (626) 825-3838.


Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.,, a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting. Write to


GUEST AUTHORS are very welcome to submit material for "Crisis Manager." There is no fee paid, but most guest authors have reported receiving business inquiries as a result of appearing in this publication. Case histories, experience-based lessons, commentary on current news events and editorial opinion are all eligible for consideration. Submission is not a guarantee of acceptance.


When I find a site that I think will be useful to my readers or site visitors, I put it on our Links page. If you have a site that would be of specific use to crisis managers and want to discuss a link exchange or other cooperative effort, please write to me,


All information contained herein is obtained by Jonathan Bernstein from sources believed by Jonathan Bernstein to be accurate and reliable.

Because of the possibility of human and mechanical error as well as other factors, neither Jonathan Bernstein nor Bernstein Crisis Management is responsible for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Bernstein Crisis Management and Jonathan Bernstein make no representations and disclaim all express, implied, and statutory warranties of any kind to the user and/or any third party including, without limitation, warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose.

Unless due to willful tortuous misconduct or gross negligence, Jonathan Bernstein and Bernstein Crisis Management shall have no liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability), to the user and/or any third party.

Under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

A service of this newsletter is to provide news summaries and/or snippets to readers. In such instances articles and/or snippets will be reprinted as they are received from the originating party or as they are displayed on the originating website or in the original article. As we do not write the news, we merely point readers to it, under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever due to the distribution of said news articles or snippets that lead readers to a full article on a news service's website, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Authors of the original news story and their publications shall be exclusively held liable. Any corrections to news stories are not mandatory and shall be printed at the discretion of the list moderator after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.


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Articles in "Crisis Manager" were, unless otherwise noted, written and copyrighted by Jonathan Bernstein. Permission to reprint will often be granted for no charge. Write to