This blog entry was originally posted this morning (3/9/2007) shortly before 9 AM MST. It has been updated for addition of citation links, clarification, and correction. SEB
OK, so I’m not “on top of it” when it comes to publishing this, but I wanted to think about what to say on these two issues. I think it is interesting to compare and contrast the situations of Jim Zumbo and Ann Coulter. A brief review for those of you that either don’t know or have forgotten:
Ann Coulter ruffled feathers and raised hairs when she labeled John Edwards with a derogatory name often given to homosexuals. Her defense:
- she was not implying that Mr. Edwards was himself of a perverted nature, but rather of a “sissy” nature.
- she didn’t directly label him, just implied it with a humorous point about going to rehab (i.e., she would have to be the one going according to her statement).
Granted, the statement was at a CPAC event and instead of it ending up about the Republican ’08 Presidential candidates, it ended up being about her. Conservatives have divided over the issue (much in the same way we have divided over if we’d vote for someone whose “Regan conservatism” is only a facade). Why is it that she gets all the heat and no one calls Rush on labeling Edwards as the Breck Girl or even a columnist that recently said if Edwards were elected in ’08, he’d be the first woman President??? Tieki Rae summed up her disgust with anti-Coulterism pretty good here.
Jim Zumbo is a nationally known sportsman from right here in Cody Country. He used to write for the magazine Outdoor Life, the NRA, and had a show on the Outdoor Channel. Around the same time of the explosion over Ann Coulter, Jim Zumbo, with two words in a blog post (terrorist rifles), caused a fire storm of controversy. He simply said that small game shouldn’t be hunted with assault rifles (AK-47’s and the like) but he termed them “terrorist rifles” and thus anyone that owned any such variety, felt labeled as a terrorist. The NRA called its grassroots to arms and Jim Zumbo became the sacrificial lamb for an example to elected officials if they dare say something that even remotely resembles anti-Second Amendmentism (the belief that guns–and only guns–kill people).
So, what’s there to compare? Well, we can see in both situations that conservatives have deeply held beliefs. I think that the majority of conservatives that are now anti-Coulter are probably more disgruntled at more being said about her joke than what any of the candidates said at the CPAC. Had she made the exact same statement in one of her articles or books, the magnitude of controversy would likely have been a lot less noticeable.
The anti-Zumbo crowd has severely overreacted on his statement as well. He never said a law-abiding American citizen shouldn’t be allowed to own a particular make of gun, just stating his opinion that someone should not hunt with certain makes of guns. Interestingly enough, the First Amendment crowd has rushed to the defense of Jim Zumbo (though Ann Coulter was also just stating an opinion…).
I seriously doubt that as an avid hunter from Wyoming, he was calling for legislation (state or national) that banned the use of assault rifles for hunting purposes. I was wrong. He did say that assault rifles should be banned for hunting purposes:
Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I’ve always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don’t use assault rifles. We’ve always been proud of our “sporting firearms.”
This really has me concerned. As hunters, we don’t need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons. To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let’s divorce ourselves from them. I say game departments should ban them from the praries (sic) and woods. (entire article here)
OK, so he did call for assault rifles to be banned from hunting, but not from being owned by law-abiding citizens. I don’t see a problem with rules in the area of hunting. Guess what advice Mr. Zumbo was given when he started blogging. You may be surprised to learn that he was advised to do what most bloggers do already:
When I started blogging, I was told to write my thoughts, expressing my own opinion. The offensive blog I wrote was MY opinion, and no one else’s. None of the companies that I deal with share that opinion, nor were they aware of what I had written until this firestorm started. (from his apology)
And before you all get in a fuss that I’m following Commandment 11 (No speaking against your fellow Republican/countryman), there are many a time that I speak against my “fellow Republican/countryman.” For instance when a Republican says they personally oppose abortion but still believe in a woman’s right to choose (a lot of good that stance is) or when a citizen says they support the troops but not what the troops are doing (what do you support then???). I don’t even know Mr. Zumbo’s political affiliation. However I still believe that he supports the Second Amendment (even though he thinks there should be rules about hunting)
I am saying that there has been a huge over-reaction on a couple of good commentators. Mr. Zumbo’s writing career seems to be gone; let’s hope Ann Coulter can rescue hers.