Thursday, February 22, 2007

Still unclear on the concept

(Via Timebomb 2000)

Jim Zumbo, after losing his entire career because of one of the most incredibly stupid blog posts in the history of the Internet, still can't issue a straight-forward apology. I'm going to quote his latest attempt, in total (something I usually don't do) because I want you to notice that nowhere in it does he say "I'm sorry for all the damage I've done" or anything remotely similar, IMHO.

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, you're absolutely right about one thing--I'm not going to accept your apology, because it's hard to recognize that as one. I don't see the phrase "I'm sorry" or the phrase "I apologize" anywhere in that entire post. I was taught that one or both of those phrases are mandatory when making an apology. I'll stipulate that making a clear, well-worded and sincere apology is probably one of the hardest things a man can do, but the ability to do so is a mark of a gentleman. Prove yourself a gentleman, Jim.

What you did was universally stupid. You were so involved in your insular world of manufacturer sponsored hunting that you missed what had been going on out here in the "real world" for the last 30 years. There's a huge community of gun owners who aren't hunters, but who are utterly aware of everything that goes on in the gun culture, and who aren't in the least afraid to speak their minds. We're a pretty organized bunch. We've learned that organization is part and parcel in the fight to keep our "evil black rifles" (along with the rest of our guns) out of the gun grabbers' hands. Writing and emailing manufacturers and editors is pretty much the same as writing and emailing politicians and newspaper editors, and a lot of us are just as practiced at that as we are shooting.

What you did was also highly damaging. With the political changes brought about by the last election, we're already facing a fight to keep our Second Amendment rights. HR 1022, submitted just days before your little missive, will remove a vast swath of our rights if it becomes law, and you've just played right into the hands of every gun grabber who supports it. Expect to see yourself quoted in support of this bill soon.

It's pretty easy for you to calculate what this has cost you in terms of dollars--from what you say, I'm sure you've already done so. But try to calculate what that single, ill-advised post has cost the community of gun owners. You're going to be shocked. Even though Outdoor Life has removed your entire blog from their site, I'm sure it live on in the various archives out there, and we're going to see it again on the web, in newspapers, in ads and on billboards. Those few words are going to cost gun owners for years.

I don't take any pleasure in what's happened to you. No rejoicing, no backflips. It's a self-inflicted wound, and those are never pretty. Still, the punishment fits the crime. You threw those of us who happen to love our evil black rifles to the wolves. After all we've went through, we take that sort of thing seriously, and serious acts have serious consequences, as you've found out.

Jim, if nothing else, you're a cautionary tale to everyone, gun owner or not. You spent decades building up your reputation, and you managed to piss it all away in the time it took to write that post. Maybe that is the good that will come from all this.

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