The MSM Takes Notice of Zumbo's Folly
The Blog Heard 'Round The Industry
Jim Zumbo angers firearm enthusiasts
by Jim Shepherd
February 20, 2007
Jim Zumbo, Hunting Editor for Outdoor Life magazine, angered firearms enthusiasts across the country with a weekend blog posting. His blog has now been suspended and sponsors are severing ties with Zumbo in spite of his apology.
This article is provided by Jim Shepherd in association with the "Outdoor Wire," a feed service specializing in the outdoor industry.
Legendary hunting writer Jim Zumbo has incurred the wrath of thousands of shooting enthusiasts with a weekend posting on his now-suspended blog for Outdoor Life magazine.
In the posting, Zumbo said "assault rifles" (or "terrorist" rifles as he went on to refer to them) had "no place" among "our hunting community." Adding that in his "humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting" because "We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern."
Zumbo went on to say "game departments should ban them from the praries (sic) and woods."
That kicked off a firestorm among owners of so-called "black rifles". Within hours, internet sites had reproduced the offending blog, kicking off thousands of angry emails and internet postings.
Subsequently, in what may one day be classified as the worst apology ever written (aptly titled "I was wrong, BIG TIME") Zumbo attempted to soothe readers, attributing his remarks to being tired following a long day of hunting coyotes in extreme weather conditions.
He went on to recount his 40 years of NRA membership and the United States Sportsmen's Alliance, an organization, which, he wrote, "actively fights anti-hunters and animal rights groups for hunter's rights." He also told readers he had plans to go hunting with an AR-style rifle to give them a try.
At that point, however, there was little, if anything, that would assuage an angry horde of electronically mobilized AR fans. They considered Zumbo's remarks as being tantamount to a sellout, with Zumbo offering up "black rifles" as a sacrificial lamb for anti-gun forces.
In an appearance on Tom Gresham's national radio show "Gun Talk" Sunday afternoon, Zumbo attempted to apologize, but listeners didn't seem to be buying his verbal apology. If anything, any attempt to assuage them only fanned the flames of outrage.
Over the course of the afternoon and evening, various executives associated with Zumbo posted their own comments on his blog site, attempting to deflect the anger at directed at Zumbo away from their companies.
It didn't work.
Instead, they found themselves under attack with angry feedback calling for everything from a boycott of all Remington products (a pair of Remington execs were mentioned as having been with Zumbo on his now ill-fated hunting trip) to cancellation of Outdoor Life magazine subscriptions and campaigns against all companies with connections to Zumbo.
Yesterday morning, responding to an onslaught of negative publicity, Remington CEO and President Tommy Millner released a statement severing "all sponsorship ties with Mr. Zumbo, effective immediately."
Zumbo was entitled to his opinion, Millner wrote, but the inflammatory comments were solely his and did not reflect the views of Remington.
"Remington has spent tens of millions of dollars defending our Second Amendment rights to privately own and possess firearms, " wrote Millner, "and we will continue to vigorously fight to protect these rights. As hunters and shooters of all interest levels, we should strive to utilize this unfortunate occurrence to unite as a whole in support of our Second Amendment rights."
In conclusion, Millner expressed regret at the termination of a long-standing relationship with a "well-respected writer and life-long hunter."
Outdoor Life announced they were discontinuing the "Hunting With Zumbo" blog "for the time being" due to the "controversy surrounding Jim Zumbo's latest postings."
Their notice went on to remind readers "Outdoor Life has always been, and will always be, a steadfast supporter of our Second Amendment rights which do not make distinctions based on the looks of the firearms we choose to own, shoot and take hunting."
Yesterday, anyone who didn't comment risked being lumped in with anti-gun forces. Any voices calling for reason and tolerance found themselves shouted down. And those writers professing support for Mr. Zumbo privately certainly weren't willing to go on the record with that support.
Additionally, Cabela's has not yet dropped their sponsorship of the Jim Zumbo Outdoors television show, Cabela's Frank Ross is being quoted as having said their legal department is "currently reviewing contractual obligations and commitments regarding our sponsorship of the Jim Zumbo Outdoors television show. "
"Jim's comments are as unfortunate as they are inappropriate," said National Shooting Sports Foundation president Doug Painter. "No one should divide firearms into good-gun, bad-gun categories."
Zumbo's ill-considered blog may not have been intended to create good-gun, bad-gun categories, but it has certainly raised firebrand rhetoric to an art form. Rather than hunters being supported by recreational and competitive shooting enthusiasts, they have now become "Fudds" to shooters who feel they have been labeled "terrorists" by a "hard-core hunter."
It's truly not a pretty picture, but may observers say it accurately reflects a widening gap between "traditional" and "non-traditional" shooting enthusiasts.
With Congress reconsidering the Assault Weapon Ban and Connecticut and New Jersey considering legislation that would limit handgun purchases to one per month, this latest schism is already being used as further evidence of the "need" to regulate firearms -all firearms - more stringently.
Your interpretation is incorrect Mr. Shepard.
There is no "widening gap between "traditional" and "non-traditional" shooting enthusiasts".
There is a closing of ranks.
This is not a schism.
This is solidarity.