Posted by: Scott | Friday, March 9, 2007

Comparing Zumbo and Coulter

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.

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Responses

  1. Doh. I typed a rather long comment and then accidentally clicked something else, and now it’s all gone!

    My main gist was that I am inclined to agree with both you and Mr. Zumbo on the issue of assault rifles and small game hunting, even though I have absolutely no knowledge of hunting and next to no knowledge about guns other than your basic variety of handguns.

    I have no doubt that Ann will survive this latest round of detraction, as she always does. It would be extremely unfortunate if Mr. Zumbo’s career is over because of this.

  2. OK, so I’ll say up front I don’t like Ann Coulter in the first place. That’s my personal opinion.

    Aside from that, the fact that she said “faggot” is inexcusable. While I believe homosexuality is a sin as Romans 1 says, that’s a terrible word akin to a curse word. What if she was talking about Barack Obama and called him a “nigger”? Even if she said, Oh, I was just joking/being sarcastic, using such an ugly word is wrong.

    That’s the way I see it — using the f word is like using the n word.

  3. Jennifer, I can kind of understand where you’re coming from as far as not liking the word “faggot” in and of itself. It’s not really a word I throw around all the time either. That said, I honestly don’t feel it is comparable in any way to calling Obama a nigger. Why? Well, I can’t exactly explain why it doesn’t affect me the same way as far as “offensive” words go, but one rather important key is that Ann Coulter did not call Edwards a faggot.

    Her joke had two angles: 1. Mocking the latest PC fad of going to rehab after every slip of the tongue and 2. Mocking the fact that John Edwards is a complete and utter wuss. Unless you actually think that Edwards is homosexual, “faggot” is not a slur of any sort. As Ann explained on Hannity and Colmes the other night, it was a “sophomoric” word, a playground taunt of sorts – not a homophobic slur.

    (As a shameless plug for my own blog, I have a link there to the video from HotAir and a somewhat more detailed defense of Ann’s comments. I’d also encourage you to check out Ms. Underestimated’s site where she has the video of Ann’s entire speech at CPAC. Although, if you weren’t an Ann fan to begin with, it might not make a difference. At least it could give a little more context.)

  4. Tieki Rae, thanks for your replies, particularly the further explanation of the Coulter comment.

    Jennifer, thank you too, for posting you thoughts. I would agree with TR as far as not being a fan of previously mentioned word (particularly why I didn’t put it in the post, figuring that either people readers would already know what the word is or that they’d find out through links.

    I would like to think that I wouldn’t have used the word (even in joking) though I do know that I am human and quite capable (again, not necessarily making the word OK to use). I would agree that it was sophomoric/playground taunt (at the same time, I would like to have seen more about what the candidates said rather than a guest speaker who isn’t running).

    I may not like/appreciate the entirety of her statment , but I see the point she was trying to make (something that I’ve had to say many times of some of the Rush Limbaugh parody spots).


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