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From The Comments

My friend Jym (I didn’t put him up to it, I swear) comments something that I think is worth pointing out in a post:

A good example of the damage you’re doing to yourselves over this is my father. My father was a hunter and NRA member for many years and brought me on several hunting trips when I was a kid, but as he became older and grew apart from his hunting buddies he’s just gradually gotten out of it, let his NRA membership lapse, etc.. When I told him about the Zumbo thing, he was somewhat upset. He read Zumbo’s articles for many years, and was disappointed by the way that so many had just completely turned on him. My dad, who when I mentioned Sebastian and Bitter’s upcoming shooting trip with a smirk, was actually really excited. You’re not going to be luring back any old dogs like him to your cause in this manner.

The shooting community is already facing an uphill battle in many ways. Many people are rather dismissive of gun owners as mostly being wackos. These are not exceptionally liberal people, either, just middle of the road moderate Average Joes that think driving to Texas with a car full of guns and ammo is absolutely terrifying and insane, not a fun vacation. These are the people you need to convince you’re not crazy in order to hold your ground, and incidents like the Zumbo thing are not going to help them think that. There is a time for war and a time for diplomacy, and unfortunately from what I’ve read in things Sebastian has linked to I think that some of the community does not realize when their interests would better be served by the latter.

Yes. We have to be very careful not to get into the mode of drumming “heretics” out of the movement because “thou art not gun nut enough.” We should never compromise on the fundamental principle that the right to keep and bear arms is our birthright, but we need everyone we can get, and a lot of people, quite honestly, aren’t going to care quite as much about the issue as we do, and that needs to be ok.

Politics is never a neat, tidy game, and it can often make for very odd bedfellows. If you have any doubts as to the effectiveness of a political movement that continually drives away the impure and roots out heretics in its mist, I point you to the Libertarian Party. Do we want to emulate their success?

19 Responses to “From The Comments”

  1. GeorgeH says:

    I think we have to be sure people like Zumbo are really on board, and his talk about black rifles being ok for hunting after all doesn’t convince me.
    People who think like him are very likely to get the chance to ‘save’ the Remington 7600 and the Browning semi auto sporting rifles by throwing us over the side. I want to see another article by him clarifying his understanding of the Second Ammendment.
    I don’t want him stabbing us in the back in the middle of a tight filibuster of the next Assault Weapons bill.

  2. straightarrow says:

    I don’t care if your friend’s father thinks it is ok for me to be a full citizen with all the rights of one. I don’t care if my father didn’t. If they are wrong and can’t see the light of liberty we are talking about, they will sell us out when their idea of acceptable allowance for their desires has been made and paint the rest of us as unreasonable anyway.

    Obviously your friend’s father already thinks we are unreasonable. If he is as his son has represented, I don’t want him on my side, I don’t trust him, and I have all I can do watching the enemy in front of me without worrying about the compromisers, enablers, and accomodaters at my back.

    More than 70 years is enough time to have waited for them to “get it”. If they haven’t gotten it by now, they are not going to. I am tired of being hamstrung by the extra weight of the unprincipled. If they can’t help pull the load, they need to quit demanding that we don’t pull so hard. Not while our cause is just.

    I am completely out of patience with people who refuse principle for expedience, who fear for no reason, who are looking for another “daddy”.

  3. Jym says:

    This is exactly what I was talking about.

    You are perfectly representing the face of that which scares away anyway not immediately and fully embracing your view with the same fervor as you, and that is why, ultimately, you will lose this battle and have your rights taken away.

    Why exactly should I support your cause when this is how you react to anyone, even somewhat who is sympathetic? Why should anyone consider you reasonable when your reaction smacks of such arrogance?

    The same arrogance will ultimately doom your entire movement.

  4. Sailorcurt says:

    You are perfectly representing the face of that which scares away anyway not immediately and fully embracing your view with the same fervor as you, and that is why, ultimately, you will lose this battle and have your rights taken away.

    What you don’t seem to be getting is that MY rights are going to be taken away anyway with the full support and cooperation of people like your father. They will do everything in their power to protect THEIR rights and the rights of others who participate in shooting sports using the tools of which they approve, but I will be thrown under the bus because the tool that I choose doesn’t meet with their standards.

    In other words, I’m screwed whether I piss your father off or not because HE’s not on MY side.

    However, how is your father’s opinion going to be swayed when a person he admires, a lifelong advocate of hunting and a highly respected journalist in that field, says things like THIS?

    Nothing I could EVER say could sway your father to back me up in this fight. He would just see me as a nut and possibly even consider me dangerous. But when his hunting hero says it, what weight does THAT carry?

    That was the point in the wakeup call sent to Mr. Zumbo. He has seen the light. Had he not be excoriated so thoroughly, do you think he woiuld have bothered himself to re-evaluate his position? I don’t think so.

    Now that he has seen the light, and has committed himself to supporting the Second Amendment in ALL it’s aspects, he can be a powerful ally versus the powerful enemy he was before.

    Whether it pissed your dad off or not: Mission Accomplished. We now have a powerful advocate with a HUGE amount of streed cred in the hunting community on our side.

    No offense, but that’s MUCH more important than the few old curmudgeons that won’t even consider the validity of an activity or use of a tool that they are unfamiliar with and “see no need for”. If my choice in allies lies between one Jim Zumbo and a legion of “Jym’s Dad”s, I’ll take Mr. Zumbo any day.

  5. Sailorcurt says:

    Sorry, I goofed on the link the first time, please delete the first instance of this comment as the link is non functional.

    You are perfectly representing the face of that which scares away anyway not immediately and fully embracing your view with the same fervor as you, and that is why, ultimately, you will lose this battle and have your rights taken away.

    What you don’t seem to be getting is that MY rights are going to be taken away anyway with the full support and cooperation of people like your father. They will do everything in their power to protect THEIR rights and the rights of others who participate in shooting sports using the tools of which they approve, but I will be thrown under the bus because the tool that I choose doesn’t meet with their standards.

    In other words, I’m screwed whether I piss your father off or not because HE’s not on MY side.

    However, how is your father’s opinion going to be swayed when a person he admires, a lifelong advocate of hunting and a highly respected journalist in that field, says things like THIS?

    Nothing I could EVER say could sway your father to back me up in this fight. He would just see me as a nut and possibly even consider me dangerous. But when his hunting hero says it, what weight does THAT carry?

    That was the point in the wakeup call sent to Mr. Zumbo. He has seen the light. Had he not be excoriated so thoroughly, do you think he woiuld have bothered himself to re-evaluate his position? I don’t think so.

    Now that he has seen the light, and has committed himself to supporting the Second Amendment in ALL it’s aspects, he can be a powerful ally versus the powerful enemy he was before.

    Whether it pissed your dad off or not: Mission Accomplished. We now have a powerful advocate with a HUGE amount of streed cred in the hunting community on our side.

    No offense, but that’s MUCH more important than the few old curmudgeons that won’t even consider the validity of an activity or use of a tool that they are unfamiliar with and “see no need for”. If my choice in allies lies between one Jim Zumbo and a legion of “Jym’s Dad”s, I’ll take Mr. Zumbo any day.

  6. Sailorcurt says:

    OK, the link still didn’t work. I was trying to point you here:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=3172843&postcount=1

  7. Jym says:

    Sailorcurt:

    You seem to be embellishing quite a bit on my father’s reaction!

    Nowhere did I state that my father did not support your right to bear arms, just that he was sorely disappointed that someone he had read for years was so quickly turned upon. Where exactly did you get that from? Just because he used to be a hunter a decade ago? Seems like a pretty strong case of stereotyping. I think you’re jumping to far too many conclusions based on FAR too little data, and it’s making you look pretty ridiculous. You’re flat out making things up!

    No where did I say my father was “pissed off”, against owning the type of guns you want to own, or anything of the like. Just that he read Zumbo for years and was saddened by how quickly everyone dismissed him as The Enemy.

    Also, your characterizing my father as following the words of Zumbo in a zombie like daze mirror the propoganda of the likes of anti-gun campaigners everywhere saying that you yourself are following the dogma of the NRA like zombies! If you’re capable of free thought, why do you think someone else isn’t?

    Basically, you’re putting a LOT of words into the mouths of people that didn’t say them. I understand your anger on this issue, but once again, this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that’s very alienating. If you’re going to be losing the votes of people like my father for anything, it’s going to be because you’re maligning him and putting words in his mouth, and not because of something he read in a Jim Zumbo article ten years ago.

    You have created an extreme “with us or against us” mentality, and when people who are in the middle of the road and could be swayed either way appear, the reaction is not, “Let me tell you what our stance is, ” it’s, “You don’t believe what we do so you are now our enemy!” As Sebastian mentioned, this is the thing that has completely hamstrung the Libertarian Party. Don’t make the same mistake!

  8. Ahab says:

    I’m glad Sebastian posted this; although I think that people are going to start thinking we’re comparing notes because this is basically what I talked about in my Hoplophobia Redux post a couple of days ago.

    We look crazy to a lot of people, a lot of middle of the road Joe Sixpack and Suzy Soccermom people. The problem is that those people have votes, and right now, their votes aren’t going our way.

    We don’t do enough to win over the middle of the road people; and a lot of the times we alienate them with an “all or nothing” sort of attitude.

    I want the Black Rifle people to keep their guns, I want the 1911 wankers to keep their guns, I want the duck hunters and the deer hunters and the target shooters and fucking everyone to keep their guns; but if as a movement we don’t get our shit together then no one is going to have guns.

    And when I say “get our shit together”, I don’t mean kick the monkeyass of anyone who doesn’t toe the party line. If some guy likes $6000 shotguns and doesn’t see a use for your CQB Tactical-Destroyer then here’s a crazy idea: Let’s get him on board instead of hanging him.

    The media doesn’t need our help to make us look crazy. They’ve got decades of pop-culture stereotypes working against us already.

  9. Jym says:

    Thank you, Ahab, that is EXACTLY the point I’m trying to make.

    I have a passing political interest in gun rights, but it’s definitely not my main focus, as it doesn’t effect me much personally. But there are enough people out there like me, or like my father, who aren’t really active supporters of gun rights that could be swayed to be a lot more for your cause if you stopped kicking us in the nuts for not being super activists and started to extend the hand of friendship!

    Mostly because Sebastian has been a very good friend of mine for a very long time, I’m trying to give the gun community more interest and attention than I ever normally would, and trying to give an outsider’s perspective on how exactly to get more people like myself to be supporting you when it counts. Some of the reactions I’ve seen, though, are having the opposite effect, and instead of making me want to support you guys, they’re making me dismissive and driving me away.

    As someone who is for the most part economically and foreign policy conservative, and fairly liberal on social issues, my initial inclination is to go with Rudy in the Republican primaries, but since he doesn’t have the best track record on guns, you guys have to get me on your side and convince me to support someone more gun friendly. And to do that, you need to stop pulling stuff like telling me you don’t need my vote and insinuating I’m a metrosexual, and start showing me the more reasonable side of the gun community!

  10. Sebastian says:

    I see you’ve all been busy beavers while I was sleeping. Play nice kids ;)

  11. Rustmeister says:

    While I agree in principle, I think the mark was missed. Jym says:

    Many people are rather dismissive of gun owners as mostly being wackos. These are not exceptionally liberal people, either, just middle of the road moderate Average Joes that think driving to Texas with a car full of guns and ammo is absolutely terrifying and insane, not a fun vacation.

    These people are called “hoplophobes”. they are scared of guns and the people who like them. They’ll never bother to learn that an “assault weapon” is only cosmetically different from “normal” hunting rifles. They don’t care.

    However, the Average Joe who isn’t afraid of guns also has the image of assault weapons given to him by the media. My dad was a prime example. Once when I mentioned the AWB he said “People don’t need machine guns”. When i told him his M-1 Carbine was a possible candidate for banning, his attitude changed. He didn’t know, and didn’t care to at that time.

    Average gun owners like my dad thruly don’t think their guns will ever be targeted. My dad wasn’t a hunter, he was a cop, deputy sheriff and Air Force Policeman (Korean War). Even with all that background, the AWB was about “machine guns” in his mind.

    What’s done is done, we can’t un-Zumbo anything now. What we need to do is lose the sour grapes and move forward. If we play this right, we could use the Brady Campaign to our advantage. They are holding Jim’s comments up as an example of “common sense”. If (and when) Zumbo returns to the media, he will do it as 100% pro-gun. He has already started.

    Shooters need to embrace him. Maybe he can reach some of those who were like my dad. He has a better chance than most of us do. We’re gun nuts, after all.

  12. Yosemite Sam says:

    Let’s put this all in perspective.
    1) Zumbo wrote a blog post that basically calls black rifle owners terrorists and calls for a ban on them for hunting uses.
    2) Black rifle advocates and gun rights supporters get angry and fight back against someone who they thought was on their side.
    3) Zumbo gives a half hearted apology that makes gun rights advocates angrier.
    4) Zumbo loses his TV show and magazine gig.
    5) Zumbo apologizes for real and starts to make amends.
    6) Gun rights advocates start to forgive him.

    My question for you Jym, is what were gun rights advocates supposed to do? If everyone had said nothing, Zumbo would have assumed that people agreed with him and would continued advocating restrictions on black rifles.

    Now we have Zumbo apologizing and working to advance all of the 2nd amendment.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Good to have you on Sam. I’m not sure that Jym was saying that what we did to Zumbo was bad, but that maybe that some of us are taking it a bit too far, which I generally agree with. Jym can correct me if that’s not what he’s saying, but it’s my personal opinion that what we did in reaction to the incident was entirely appropriate, but I am hoping to convince some other folks that it’s time to start burying the hatchet.

  14. Yosemite Sam says:

    Good to be here, Sebastian.
    I agree with what you are saying and I also think it is time to forgive Zumbo and welcome him back into the fold, as long as he continues to remain an advocate for all of the 2nd Amendment.

    As far as Jym’s comment, I took that he meant that his Dad was disappointed in how Zumbo was treated after his notorious comment.

    “When I told him about the Zumbo thing, he was somewhat upset. He read Zumbo’s articles for many years, and was disappointed by the way that so many had just completely turned on him.”

    I guess my question for Jym’s dad would be, How do you expect someone to react when he calls you a terrorist? That was what really angered me, and it was worse coming for someone I thought was on our side.

    But, I am willing to and do forgive Zumbo. now that he has apologized and is working on making amends.

  15. Jym says:

    Yeah, Sebastian is pretty much correct in his interpretation of what I was saying.

    My dad was disappointed that, basically, someone he read for many years quite a long time ago and remembered fondly was kissing goodbye to his career because of one stupid thing said. It’s not that he didn’t think what Zumbo said was stupid and basically a career suicide move, it’s just that if you can read someone’s articles for much of your adulthood and then find out his career went up in flames, you’d have to be pretty heartless to not at least feel some sadness and regret.

    I don’t think anyone is saying that there shouldn’t have been repercussions to what Zumbo said, it’s just that by spouting off rhetoric about how you’re never going to forgive him and he’s now The Enemy despite him trying to make amends, you just end up basically coming across like an asshole, and no neutral party wants to throw their support behind an asshole. :)

  16. Sailorcurt says:

    I apologize if I came across as angry, I’m not and I wasn’t when I wrote that, I’m just passionate about this issue. Perhaps saying that Jym’s father was “pissed” was a bit too strong in reference to the statement that he was “somewhat upset”…but that is primarily a matter of symantics.

    I also was guilty of making an assumption, but I feel it was justified.

    Basically, I have a serious problem with shooters who only support THIER style of shooting or the firearms that THEY find useful or acceptable. That is a selfish, narcissistic and arrogant attitude. I can understand an accept an outright hoplophobe’s position moreso than the Fudds’. Basically they are saying that shooting sports are great…as long as THEY approve of the particular sport and/or the implements used in it.

    That is the position that Jim Zumbo took. Jym’s father was “disappointed” that others in the shooting community held Mr. Zumbo accountable for his egregious statements. That tells me that Jym’s father was and/or is sympathetic to Mr. Zumbo’s position. That was the assumption that I made.

    Whether my gripe applies specifically to Jym’s father or not, the point still stands.

    Right after pointing out that I may have overstated his father’s support of Zumbo’s statement, Jym accused me of saying that his father was “following the words of Zumbo in a zombie like daze”. I’d say that that mischaracterizes MY statement. One doesn’t have to “follow…in a zombie like daze” to be influenced by someone…especially someone with a significant amount of credibility and respect in their field.

    Zumbo’s newfound support for shooting disciplines that he previously saw no “need” for will not convince ALL hunters to support black rifle and defensive shooters, but it will have an impact. His opinion is respected by hunters and SOME will, especially over time, be swayed by him. That is not an insult and is not an implication that hunters cannot think or make up their minds on their own. Even the most independent of thinkers are influenced to some degree or another by the positions, statements and opinions of those whom they respect. To imply otherwise is just…well…silly.

    I have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Zumbo. It is truly a shame that he had to lose his job to get the message, but that’s what it took; that’s on Mr. Zumbo, not on the people who held him accountable for his words.

    I was one of the condemners from the get-go. I was one of the ones who ridiculed his first lame apology. Now I’m one who is welcoming him back home where he belongs now that he has seen the light. He absolutely needed that wakeup call. Yes, it did some damage to the way some outsiders view the shooting community, but in the long run, I believe it will have much more beneficial impacts than detrimental. That is my point.

  17. straightarrow says:

    Go here, read this. Enough said. We are not going to get the people you say we need to convince. They aren’t going to be convinced until it becomes them in the crosshairs, by then we will have already lost. And people like your father will demand to know why we didn’t do more to save their rights.

    http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2007/03/hanging-separately.html#comments

  18. Sebastian says:

    David is on my Bloglines feed, so I’ve come across that. There’s no doubt that it’s difficult to mobilize people, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done or we shouldn’t bother. For every 10 people you try to convince, you might only get 2. But that’s still two more than we had. This kind of thing isn’t just specific to guns. When I used to be more passionate about copyright issues, getting people to understand and car is just as difficult.

    The sad fact is that most people are fairly unmotivated to care about politics, rights, what have you, if they can’t see the impact it will have their daily lives. But that doesn’t mean you give up, and just assume you can write certain people off. We have to try.

  19. straightarrow says:

    Agreed. I try, but I don’t hold a lot of hope or respect for people that only want to get out the other end of life with the least effort and no concern for the conditions they leave their children or grandchildren.

    I have heard far too many tell me, unashamedly, that they just didn’t care. Those conditions would be their childrens’ problems because “I will be dead, and not care.”

    They were unashamed of that attitude, not in one case. So, I don’t rely on them to have my back. Hell they don’t care about their own kids, so long as their lives are relatively comfortable and they can live a normal span without the stress of duties incumbent upon men.

    If expecting men to act like men and not lower form males is macho, then perhaps Jym is right and I am macho. I have spent my life trying to emulate good men I have known, who didn’t think they were being macho because they tried to do no harm and if possible leave their part of the world better for their having been there. They would sometimes despair of their duty, but never shirk it. I have too much respect for them to dilute it pretending respect for lesser males who shirk their duties.

    As you have stated we must try, but if a male reaches maturity and doesn’t understand his duty to his posterity he is most likely unreachable on any level. He will let better men than himself secure his blessings, and think he was the smarter for it. So, we must try, for the odd one out who never understood for lack of exposure, but has the capacity to comprehend and the willingness to walk the walk once he does. But we should waste no more effort on those who know and don’t care. Those non-concerned are, unfortunately, the majority of the uncommitted and are weak reeds under the best of conditions, and absolutely useless when called upon to stand for principle.

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