Zumboing Politics

I want to talk about another meme moving around in the gun blogosphere that goes something like this: “Wow, look at what we managed to do to Jim Zumbo! If we only applied that kind of pressure to Congress, we’d be buying MP5s from Wal-Mart in no time!”. Oh, how I wish that were true. But it’s not.

What we have done with the Zumbo thing is demonstrate that shooters, particular we evil black rifle shooters, are now a force to be reckoned with within the shooting community. When we talk, the industry listens. This makes sense for them, because we constitute one of the growth markets for the industry. We’re buying more rifles, we’re buying more ammunition, and we’re active politically. They can’t afford to piss us off, so it’s no surprise they dumped Zumbo like a hot potato when we started to squeeze them.

That doesn’t translate into political power outside of the community. Jim Zumbo was one man, and the number of players in this industry are few, and they depend on us. Once you’re talking Congress, you’re talking 435 memebers of The House and 100 members in The Senate. Now you’ve gone from a handful of people you have to infleunce, to 535 people. And those 535 people have hundreds of other interests they listen to, and can count on for votes and money. In short, we can rule our little estuary, but that’s not to say we’re the big fish once we swim into the sea.

The new voice we’ve found as a community with the whole Jim Zumbo thing is great, and useful. It will come in handy the next time we have a big political fight on our hands. But we still need to reach out to more people who might not be as involved or as informed as we are about these issues, and will still have to play the dirty game of politics as we have been. What I don’t want to see happen is people thinking, because we managed to destroy Jim Zumbo’s career, that we can just make demands on politicians and get our way; we can’t.

We’re still just another interest group, a powerful one, no doubt, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Zumboing will be another political tool in our arsenal, but we will have to be careful about how we use that tool. Using it in the wrong place or the wrong time could wear it out, and ruin it’s political effectiveness. So my advise to everyone out there is that we continue to work hard to bring more people into the issue, and not get too cocky with our new found power.

3 thoughts on “Zumboing Politics”

  1. I agree with the small picture premise of your argument: We are nothing more than just a big, relatively powerful, interest group in Washington politics.

    I dsiagree with the big picture conclusion however: the implication that we can’t be more effective if we mobilize on Washington Politics like we did on Zumbo.

    Many gun owners don’t get involved in the realm of political activism because they have the “but I’m only one person…What can I do?” disease.

    That is a deadly disease. Some politicians will always be anti-gun and there is nothing we can do about it…but many can be influenced by their constituents. We may not even get them to change their vote on the particular issue that we write about, but when a politician receives a a hundred emails on an issue, it reminds him that we are watching and that this issue is important to us. It increases the chances that the next time the issue comes up, he or she will take the right side.

    The bottom line is that we CAN make a difference. But not if the “I’m only one person” disease is allowed to fester and choke the life out of us. Each and every one of us has to be as committed to effecting Washington politics as we were to shouting down Zumbo’s ill-considered remarks. If we could maintain that level of involvement for more than a few days at a time…As a gun rights activist who has seen the power of the people in action, I am convinced that we could right some of the wrongs that have been inflicted upon us in the past and prevent new ones from being enacted.

    “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
    — Edward Everett Hale

  2. I dsiagree with the big picture conclusion however: the implication that we can’t be more effective if we mobilize on Washington Politics like we did on Zumbo.

    I decided to change this into a post. See here.

    My thoughts on this are still kind of gelling.

  3. I think Sailorcurt’s right to the extent that we now have good evidence that Hunters and other “outdoorsmen” work to blunt the insturment of the political tool that RKBA activists seek to sharpen. When he says “Many gun owners don’t get involved in the realm of political activism” – I would simply modify that and switch “gun owners” to “proiminent hunters,” given what we now know about Petzal at “Field and Stream” as well.

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