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February 22, 2007

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ZUMBOMANIA: David E. Petzal’s take on the Jim Zumbo fiasco

In case you just emerged from a coma and have not heard, the shooting world is agog over a blog posted by Jim Zumbo, former contributing editor at Outdoor Life, over the weekend of February 17. In it, Jim stated that any semiauto rifle with an AR or AK prefix was a terrorist rifle, had no place in hunting, and should be outlawed for that purpose. Then, courtesy of the Internet and all its blogs and chatrooms, the roof fell in.

The speed with which Zumbomania spread, the number of comments it drew, and the rabid nature of same were a revelation. Overnight, this thing became as big as Janet Jackson’s clothing failure or—dare I say it?—Britney Spears’ shaved head. Jim Zumbo is now as employable as the Unabomber, and Sarah Brady will no doubt adopt his comments to her own gun-control purposes.

For the last several days I’ve been visiting all manner of blogs and chatrooms, which has reminded me of when I used to deliver used clothing to the local mental hospital. I’ve tried to make some sense of it all, but because the waters are still full of blood and body parts continue to rain from the sky, I haven’t come up with any Great Truths. Lacking that, here are some Lesser Truths.

What Jim said was ill-considered. He’s entitled to his beliefs, but when a writer of his stature comes out against black guns, it sure as hell does not help our cause.

Even so, Jim made an immediate apology. He did not equivocate, or qualify, or make excuses. He acted like a gentleman and said he was wrong, and he was sorry. Apparently this is not enough anymore. We now live in the era of one strike and you're out.

For 40 years, Jim has been a spokesman and ambassador of good will for hunting. Through his tireless efforts as a teacher and lecturer on hunting and hunting skills, he has done more for the sport than any 250 of the yahoos who called for his blood.

Jim has paid dearly for what he said. He has lost his blog and his association with Remington. Cabela’s has suspended its sponsorship of his TV show; and Outdoor Life has accepted his offer to sever ties. To all the chatroom heroes who made him unemployable, I have a word of warning: You’ve been swinging a two-edged sword. A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place. Today it was Jim’s turn. Tomorrow it may be yours.

If Sarah Brady is smart—and she is very smart—she will comb through the same blogs and chatrooms I’ve been reading, excerpt some of the most vicious and foul-mouthed entries, print them up, and distribute them to Congress. Then it will be interesting to see how the men and women who wrote that stuff enjoy seeing their efforts being put to use by every anti-gunner in America.

Stay tuned.

Editor's Note: Read Dave's response to your comments here


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Clay Cooper for the record!

Mr. Petzal

I agree with you .99.9%. I left out .01% just in case there is something I don’t. Show me a competition shooter that has never cross fired and I’ll show you a shooter that hasn’t been around long enough! I don’t know what Jim was he thinking at that moment? Perhaps he blurted out what he has been hearing.

The bottom line is this David. You and I do have our deference’s in subjects. You don’t like long shots and love shortening barrels on 338 RUM. I will get over it! This does not in any way shape or form disqualify you from the position and editor of this blog! I do in fact respect your position and I have more than the average shooters knowledge to think and say otherwise.

Jim Zumbo got railroaded by those of an IQ of a worm and less knowledge of a Range Monkey! Just like the Crossbow debate, the hate and discontent. There are those wanted to go as far as to do bodily harm to a crossbow hunter. Over zealous they become, they did! I don’t use a Crossbow, don’t have the desire for a crossbow and never will have a crossbow. I will not use my personal choice of preventing another sportsmen from hunting. I am a Prosportsman for Sportsmen and I will standup for those that I believe that they to have the same God given right that I have.

If anyone should be fired, it must be those that turned there back! How in the hell can I support them and not the other? You cannot have it both ways.

Political correctness can just go to HELL!

Clay Cooper

Richard Goins

Wow I totally missed Mr. Zumbos comments until today. I find his words to be more than unfortunate but certainly not unforgiveable. I wonder how many people in the 1800s thought that metalic cartridges were the wrong things to use for hunting. I my self find great distain for people using scopes with Lazer rangefinders. But would like to have one just for the fun of it. I doubt that Jim was saying what he said to make a point about gun control. So come on everyone lets give the old guy a break. I do think that it points out what many of us really feel about the elite that make up the professional hunting crowd in America. They say bad things about hunting in ways that seem less than sporting and then hunt 90% of the time they hunt on private land near a feeder.
I know that Jim does little if any of that but the poor guy gets lumped in with all those who do that sort of thing. He is one of them. I think that people are just angry.
And with it being a STUPID thing to say, well that made it way worse. Dont forget when you get on the backs of the people who said those things about Jim that they are "your" employers Mr Writer, Mr Profesional hunter. We are angry with our government and some times if you look like your standing with Nasty Pelosi when your supposed to be on OUR side your probably going to get hit with some friendly fire. To every one bashing Jim lets show the guy some grace. I am sure he has earned it.

Zeke Boer

cal 44 x 40 what do the numbers mean?

Del in KS


That would be a .44 caliber bullet with 40 grains of black powder in the case hence the name 44-40.


I saw Jim Zumbo on video appologize, and I saw him shooting an AR15 with a smile on his face.:) Click on broadband, then shooting, 2nd story from the top. 8 minute video. Sounds like he's back in business. Cool.


The Zumbo video is on Outdoorchannel.com

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