Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Suicide on the Web

The other guys have an(other) article up now about the Zumbo affair. They quote this article by Pat Wray (AHSA [fake hunting organization] supporter) as he decries the "Zumboing" of Jim Zumbo.

In a few short days the career of the best known hunting writer in America was served in small bloody pieces to a crowd of vicious, vengeful, vitriolic jackals. This is worth analysis.

…What’s interesting about this entire situation is how quickly it escalated into a feeding frenzy that destroyed a good man’s career. The easy answer is the Internet. We’ve seen examples before, blogs and e-mails developing into uncontrolled windstorms that destroy everything in their paths. The danger of such a thing happening is a fact of today’s world and no one, even the most mighty, is immune.

But we need to look beyond the Internet, into the genesis of the anger and fear that fueled the Internet attacks. If we look closely, we will find the National Rifle Association, or NRA. For decades the NRA has fostered a climate of fear and paranoia among gun owners. They have hammered home the message that everyone is out to take our guns and that compromise is tantamount to treason. They created an attitude within their membership that anyone who disagreed was an enemy and the best defense was a good offense. Nowhere has that message taken root as strongly as within the owners of the military style rifles, and it was they who came after Zumbo in their thousands.
Pat Wray here begins to sound a lot like another Jim Zumbo apologist David E. Petzal (supporter of the 1994 AWB). I think the three things that really touched off the firestorm around Jim Zumbo was he used words that were sure to get him into big trouble with a lot of gun owners out there. They are: "Terrorist", "Ban" and "Assault".

Here's some quick facts for you. There are, according to the NRA (and they should know), around 80+ Million gun owners out there. At the same time, there are about only about 18+ Million hunters. For the sake of full disclosure I will also list the NRA's membership at around 4.5+ Million gun owners and hunters. AHSA and Bob "Turncoat" Ricker would have you believe that these numbers mean that most gun owners don't agree with the NRA. In response, I would remind him that the membership of the AHSA (at last count) stands at around 150. No, that isn't Millions, that is in HUNDREDS. I think it's pretty obvious who really does stand for gun owners rights in this country. They may be able to fool some of the more gullible gun owners out there, but most are smart enough not to buy the song and dance that the AHSA is promoting. John Kerry in cammo anyone?

As to the assertion that the NRA jumped on this and aggressively went after Jim Zumbo, that is patently false. It was several days before the NRA posted any kind of press release at all having to do with the situation. The facts of the matter are, firstly, the second amendment is not about hunting and it never was. Hunters just enjoy the fact that they are allowed to keep their guns to hunt with, not the other way around. Non-hunters outnumber hunters by a factor of almost 5:1 and when you start tossing around hot button words with impunity, it's going to piss off a lot of people. I think Tom Gresham said it best in his latest post on guntalk.com when he said:

Jim basically committed career suicide. In short, he wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life web site that he had just learned (while on a hunt) that some people use AR-15 rifles for hunting. He offered his thought that this was a bad image for hunters. Okay, that's his opinion. But, he went even further, calling for game departments to ban the use of these rifles for hunting. After crossing the line and calling for a banning of those guns for hunting, he firmly planted his foot on a land mine and called AR-15s "terrorist rifles." The explosion from that misstep was heard throughout the firearms industry.

You see, the AR-15 is one of the most popular firearm platforms going. I own three of them and love to shoot them. I don't consider myself a terrorist, and neither do the millions of others who own them and shoot them for recreation, or who own them for personal defense. On "Personal Defense TV" we have been showing that the thinking among security trainers has moved away from the shotgun as the ideal home defense gun, and in many quarters, it now favors the AR-15 or some other carbine (short rifle).

...The outrage by gun owners is completely understandable. To put it in context, Zumbo's comments came only days after we saw the introduction of a bill in Congress to bring back the Clinton Gun Ban (the so-called "assault weapons" ban). The final nail in the coffin was when-- Sunday afternoon -- the Brady Campaign (the leading group working to restrict gun rights) posted Zumbo's comments to several places on the net, saying, in effect, "See, even the top hunting writer says these rifles have no legitimate use."
Jim Zumbo has since posted a second apology, one that I actually believe this time, but the damage has been done. After thinking it over for a number of days, I have no animosity toward the guy, he simply spoke out of ignorance and bought into the "assault weapon" hysteria spread by the other side without doing his homework. I sincerely hope he does work for the education of others who think like he used to, but I have my doubts that anything he does from now on can undo the damage.