Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jim Zumbo Broohaha continues...

Jim is supposed to show at the Nugent forum and has here. You tell me, has he saved himself? Can he? Remington, Gerber, Outdoor Life, the NRA, etc. have dropped him like a hot potato.

So far he's said:
The last few days have been an educational experience, to say the least. My ill-conceived inflammatory blog, as all of you now know, set off a firestorm that, I’m told, has never before been equaled. I’m not proud of that.
Let me say this at the outset. My words here are from the heart, and all mine. No one can censor me, and I answer to no one but myself. And I have no one to blame but myself. Outdoor Life, a magazine that I worked for full-time as Hunting Editor for almost 30 years, fired me yesterday. My TV show was cancelled yesterday. Many of my sponsors have issued statements on their website to sever all relationships. This may cause many of you to do backflips and dance in the streets, but, of course, I’m not laughing, nor am I looking for sympathy. I don’t want a pity party.

They say hindsight is golden. Looking back, I can’t believe I said the words “ban” and “terrorist” in the context that I did. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that. I can explain this as sheer ignorance and an irresponsible use of words. What I’ve learned over the last few days has enlightened and amazed me. As a guy who hunts 200 days a year, does seminars on hunting, wrote for six hunting magazines, had a hunting TV show, and wrote 20 books on hunting, how could I have been so ignorant and out of touch with reality in the world of hunting and shooting?

But I was. I really can’t explain it, maybe because I just summarily dismissed the firearms in question in my mind when I saw them in magazines and catalogs. I saw one “black” firearm in a hunting camp in all my 50 years of hunting, and I shot one last year off a boat when fishing in Alaska. To tell the truth, it was fun and I enjoyed it immensely, but I never considered one for use in hunting. I have to tell you that I have had a revelation. I’m learning that many of my pals own AR-15’s and similar firearms and indeed use them for hunting. I was totally unaware that they were being used for legitimate hunting purposes. That is the absolute truth.

My biggest regret is not the financial impact of all this. I’m almost 67 and retirement is an option. The dreadful impact here is that I inadvertently struck a spear into the hearts of the people I love most…America’s gun owners. And, even though this huge cadre of dedicated people have succeeded in stripping me of my career, I hold no grudges. I will continue to stand as firm on pro hunting as I’ve ever done. But what’s different now is that I’ll do all I can to educate others who are, or were, as ignorant as I was about “black” rifles and the controversy that surrounds them. My promise to you is that I’ll learn all I can about these firearms, and by the time this week is out, I’ll order one. The NUGE has invited me to hunt with him using AR-15’s, and I’m eager to go, and learn. I’ll do all I can to spread the word.

I understand that many of you will not accept this apology, believing that the damage has been done and there’s no way to repair it. You have that right. But let me say this. I mentioned this above, and I’ll repeat it. I’m willing to seize this opportunity to educate hunters and shooters who shared my ignorance. If you’re willing to allow me to do that, we can indeed, in my mind, form a stronger bond within our ranks. Maybe in a roundabout way we can bring something good out of this.

Jim Zumbo

There are many, many questions here that I'll attempt to answer. Please be patient with me. Right now I'm reeling from the shock of what's happened and am trying to get my feet back under me.
But I want to share a phone call I just received from one of America's oldest and most prominent gun writers. He was absolutely amazed at all this, and had no clue of the misunderstandings on both sides. That leads up to the issue that some of you have brought up regarding "preaching to the choir." Let's think about that. I disagree that we are preaching to the choir. I believe that within America's gun owners, we can be classed into three groups: hunters, hunters/shooters, and shooters.

It's become obvious throughout all this that in order to strengthen our position to take on the Sarah Brady's and others, we must first be unified -- ALL of us. And the best way to unite is to first begin to understand our viewpoints as hunters and shooters. I believe that talking together will help enlighten us all.

Ok, poor choice of words again. I offered my resignation to Outdoor Life because I figured the axe was coming. Technically, I wasn't fired, though I believe I would have been had I not resigned.
Hey folks, give me a break. Many of you are demanding instant replies and answers. I'm just getting the hang of this. If I had been a newspaper reporter instead of a magazine writer all those years, maybe I'd be trained for rapid-fire chat. I'm plugging along as best as I can.
Someone asked if I'm an elitist hunter, wondering how I feel about hound hunting. I hunt with hounds as much as I can, I hunt bears over baits, deer over corn.
Someone said that I didn't explicitly mention the words "I'm sorry". I thought those words rang throughout my statement. If not, here it is: I AM SORRY!
Let me put it this way. I am sorry that I said the words "ban" and "terrorist" in the context that I did.

I called myself ignorant and irresponsible. If you want to keep kicking me in the butt, go ahead. I AM sincere about this, despite what some of you might think to the contrary.

Go and read the whole topic but be prepared to spend some time as it was at 16 pages when I left. UPDATE it is now at 35 pages AFTER a number of posts unacceptable to the moderators were deleted. Also, David Hardy has put me on to these comments by The Martialist which sum it up nicely. Now MSNBC has weighed in.

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