Remember growing up and watching TV or the movies where the characters would sometimes get devoured by quicksand. Just one false step and the substance would suck the living victim down into an inescapable, perhaps bottomless pit with very little opportunity for self-rescue. It made for good movie plots…and when the victim disappeared from sight and would never be heard from again…about the only evidence of their unfortunate plight was usually a cowboy hat floating on the surface of the mysterious sand.
I can’t help but think that the once popular Jim Zumbo, Outdoor Life’s long-time hunting editor, has stepped into the proverbial “quicksand.” Comments made on his blog post from last Friday have stirred such a raw passion (perhaps call it an obsession) in cyberspace among many gun owners the likes of which have never been seen by this group in the modern age of internet communication. In a nutshell, Zumbo posted on his blog that he saw no legitimate purpose [my words] for the “assault” style rifles in the hunting community. In fact, he went on to refer to them as “terrorist weapons.” In a matter of hours after making this faux pas, Zumbo was the topic of a fire storm of folks looking to hang his storied outdoor writing career and his personal reputation at the stake.
So, you don’t think any of this is serious business, huh? Well, think again. Not only has Outdoor Life removed Zumbo’s blog from their website and issued a statement instead…Remington Arms has also quickly acted to sever all ties to their once high-vis outdoor spokesperson. In a bit of irony, Zumbo was actually with some of Remington’s top brass testing Remington products during a coyote hunt earlier in the day when the infamous blog post was made later that evening. Some insiders believe that sponsors like Cabela’s, Gerber Knives, and others could now drop like dominos thanks to this expanding P.R. nightmare Zumbo has created for himself. Ultimately, I’d be surprised if Zumbo’s television show sponsorships don’t also begin to dry up, too, as companies act to divist themselves from this proven lightening rod of a spokesperson.
Perhaps the best place to begin reading this now infamous blog post is here.
Click here to see that this controversy has even hit the mainstream newspapers and I’m sure more will follow.
I think we can all agree that what Zumbo said was a really stupid thing. Hell, he even admits that now…“activating his mouth before engaging his brain.” On Sunday during the Gun Talk Radio program with Tom Gresham, Zumbo was a guest and used that nationwide forum to explain himself and offer an apology. In effect, he stated how he had underestimated the popularity of “AR-15 style guns” with sportsmen throughout the country. You can down-load and listen to the entire interview here. I might add several of the callers who followed Zumbo rejected his apology and his reasoning.
I guess here’s the problem I have with Zumbo. Granted, he is a self-professed “hunting writer” and not much of a “gun writer.” I suppose it’s possible to be one exclusive of the other…but that doesn’t quite cut it for me. Look, Zumbo boasts on his personal website that he has hunted deer in every state. Personally, I have always hated that sort of in-your-face opportunity gluttony when many sportsmen who help support the corporate sponsors for this guy feel lucky to hunt in just their own home state. How can a guy with that much hunting experience, lucky enough to travel throughout the country, be so ignorant and unaware of what many common sportsmen perceive as important guns in their hunting collection.
Yup, Zumbo stepped into the equivalent of the bloggers quicksand with his comments posted last Friday night. Stated he was tired after a long day in the field and didn’t give much thought to what he was writing about before hitting the “send” button on his computer. If you ever needed an example of just what a powerful tool the blog can be just look how it has changed Zumbo’s life. When all is said and done, it just might be Zumbo’s big ol’ hat that we find floating on the quicksand as evidence someone recently treaded where perhaps they ought not to have been.
© 2007 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.