These Colors Don't Run - Remember 9.11.2001 Equipped To Survive
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Aron Ralston Threatens Doug Ritter

Seems that Aron Ralston, or perhaps his lawyer, took exception to our use of his name in an article publicizing the availability of seminars on the subject of 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacons. Through some unfathomable stretch of logic, or perhaps misunderstanding, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they decided that we were selling the beacons, which we were not, or we were selling the seminars, which we do not. They also took exception to some of the comments made in the course of a discussion on our public forums regarding Aron Ralston's unfortunate survival experience where he cut off his own arm.

In any case, we had done nothing wrong. Whatever fortitude he demonstrated by self-amputation doesn't excuse him having gotten himself in that situation in the first place for lack of following common sense safety practices and we have every right to cover his actions as a media outlet and to comment upon them as such and to promote public discussion for educational purposes to promote safety to the general public. Using his survival experience as an example of the sort of unfortunate experience that someone might easily avoid by use of new technology just becoming available is a legitimate use of a newsworthy item for journalistic purposes.

As of this date that I write this update, July 1, 2003, we have had no further contact from either Aron Ralston or his attorney regarding this matter. Perhaps they realized that we were neither intimidated nor impressed by their absurd threats, that they had not a leg to stand on and that our adherence to ethical journalistic practices is well protected by the first amendment of our Constitution. An any case, we wish Aron well in his future endeavors and hope that in whatever he does he serves to remind others that some careful preparation and the right equipment can prevent loss of life--or limb.

See related articles below

To: "''"
Subject: FW: DEMAND TO CEASE AND DESIST USE OF ARON RALSTON'S NAME Scanned document -- 6/5/03 4:04:23 PM

Dear Mr. Ritter:
Attached is our demand that you cease and desist from any and all use of Aron Ralston's name on your website and/or in any and all promotion of your business.

Ronald E. Elberger
Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP
135 N. Pennsylvania Street
Suite 2700
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 684-5195
(317) 223-0195 (Facsimile)

-----Original Message-----
From: ShareScan
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 4:05 PM
To: Elberger, Ronald E.
Subject: Scanned document -- 6/5/03 4:04:23 PM


This message is from the law firm Bose McKinney & Evans LLP . This message and any attachments may contain legally privileged or confidential information, and are intended only for the individual or entity identified above as the addressee. If you are not the addressee, or if this message has been addressed to you in error, you are not authorized to read, copy, or distribute this message and any attachments, and we ask that you please delete this message and attachments (including all copies) and notify the sender by return e-mail or by phone at 317�-684-5000. Delivery of this message and any attachments to any person other than the intended recipient(s) is not intended in any way to waive confidentiality or a privilege. All personal messages express views only of the sender, which are not to be attributed to Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, and may not be copied or distributed without this statement.

Click here to read the Cease and Desist Demand letter from Ralston's lawyer.
(This is an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file, Get Free Acrobat (PDF file) Reader)

My Response:

To: "Elberger, Ronald E."
Subject: Re: FW: DEMAND TO CEASE AND DESIST USE OF ARON RALSTON'S NAME Scanned document -- 6/5/03 4:04:23 PM

Dear Mr. Elberger,

Equipped To Survive is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt educational organization and the Equipped To Survive Web site is its legitimate non-profit and non-commercial educational and news outlet and has the same right to use Mr. Ralston's name in news coverage and commentary of and about his self-imposed survival experience as does any other legitimate media outlet.

So, to be blunt, stick your ridiculous cease and desist demand where the sun don't shine. If you'd like to look like the fool, along with your client, the Foundation would welcome the considerable national publicity generated by any further attempts by you to try to enforce your absurd demand.


Doug Ritter
Equipped To Survive
The Survival Equipment and Techniques Web Site

The Lawyer's Response:

To: 'Doug Ritter'
Subject: RE: FW: DEMAND TO CEASE AND DESIST USE OF ARON RALSTON'S NAME Sca nned document -- 6/5/03 4:04:23 PM

Dear Mr. Ritter:

Received your response, noted that your tax-exempt status does not provide you with any shelter or immunity from liability, and further noted the possibility that you may well face significant penalties. You made a decision which is untenable as a matter of law, but evidently are amenable to facing the consequences. We will respond as is appropriate.

Ronald E. Elberger
Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP
135 N. Pennsylvania Street
Suite 2700
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 684-5195
(317) 223-0195 (Facsimile)

red pin NOTE: This letter dated June 5, 2003 was the last communication we had from Mr. Ralston or his lawyer. As such, we consider this matter closed.


Please support Equipped To Survive with a tax-deductible donation

Doug Ritter's commentry regarding this incident and the important part that true life survival stories play on Equipped To Survive®.

Read comments from Dean Russell, a survivor himself, on Aron Ralston's threats against Doug Ritter and Equipped To Survive®

A National Geographic interview with Rex Tanner, a ten-year search and rescue (SAR) veteran and commander of Grand County Search and Rescue, an organization responsible for the area near Bluejohn Canyon where Ralston had is unfortunate experience.

Cheating Death in Bluejohn Canyon by Shane Burrows compiled from various interview's, Aron Ralston's news conference, Associated Press news releases, local news releases, Aron Ralston's website, and other sources.

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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
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First Published: June 5, 2003
Revision: 03 August 10, 2003
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