Confession of an Ex-Zumbo

Discussion in 'Hunters Rights Forum' started by The Other David, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    This is an interesting discussion by someone who went from being a us vs. them gun owner (we must get rid of those Assault weapons, and they will never want to take away my shotgun) to a strong supporter of all gun freedom rights. The link is at the bottom.

    Confessions of an ex-Zumbo

    After reading about all the brouhaha regarding Mr. Zumbo, I thought perhaps my experience might give some of you a window into the mindset of our hunting/target shooting brethren who had no problems whatsoever with Mr. Zumbo?s (now recanted) position.

    For 20 years I was a skeet/trap shooter who dismissed the NRA as ?extremist?. I was enlightened, you see. I was for gun ownership, of course, but I looked at the yokels and knuckle-draggers with their AR15 ?machine-guns? and thought, ?THOSE people should have their guns taken away. Sitting safely in my suburban sub-division, I saw the carnage in the cities and said, ?We?ve got to have gun control to stop this sort of thing.? Among my shooting friends hardly anyone owned a handgun, or admitted to it. I was white, educated, upper-middle class and looked down my nose at the ?gun nuts? who seemed to be giving the rest of us ?decent? gun owners a bad name. ?From my cold dead hands?? Oh, please. Just look at the newspapers! Can?t you see the inner-city crime? Something must be done. And the NRA wants people to have machine guns! Ludicrous! Besides, whatever laws they pass, they?re not going to affect my Perazzi or my Browning Superposed.

    One day, about ten years ago, I was sitting at a posh gun club, waiting for the others in my sporting clays group to arrive when I over heard a conversation going on across the room. This fellow was telling a couple of guys that they?d better join the NRA. I vaguely knew one of the listeners, so I discreetly joined the group. The speaker was saying that if you wanted to be able to shoot anything, you?d better get with the NRA. I simply couldn?t stand this arrogant ignorance, so I interrupted him and stated flatly, ?I?d never join the NRA, they?re a bunch of nuts ? extremists who give the rest of us a bad name. How can you defend their positions? The guy looked at me for a second as if I were a soup stain on his tie - and then, to his everlasting credit ? he smiled at me. He simply asked me, ?What is it, exactly, that you know about the NRA?s positions?? Well, they want everyone to be able to have machine guns. They oppose everything and won?t let even the most basic and necessary gun laws pass. Our cities are shooting galleries and the NRA won?t do anything to stop it.? He nodded a couple of times and then asked me, ?Where did you get that information?? ?Where? Everywhere! It?s in the newspapers, on the TV news ? why just last week in Time magazine there was an article.? There followed a brief silence during which he calmly absorbed what I?d said. I didn?t want to be rude, he was dressed well and seemed nice enough, so I just assumed he was misinformed ? and I was happy to set him straight. Still smiling, he asked me, ?Have you ever actually gotten the NRA?s positions? I mean, what you know ? or more appropriately ? what you think you know about the NRA hasn?t actually come from the NRA itself has it? You?re only hearing what the mass media want you to hear, aren?t you?? I had no response. He had me there. ?Well, I suppose you?ve got a point there.? He continued, ?Do you believe that the media is unbiased? Do you believe that they don?t have an agenda that they?re pushing?? ?Well, sure. Of course they?re biased. But they can?t be THAT biased.? Now his smile got wider, ?In fact? he stated pleasantly, ?you really don?t know anything about the NRA?s positions, do you? Isn?t it actually the case that all you know is the media?s characterizations of the NRA?s positions?? That last question hit me like an elbow in the gut. ?Well, uh, that is?I mean?? Dammit! This guy was right! I didn?t know anything about what the NRA?s actual positions were. My newly arrived squad mates interrupted and I excused myself to go shoot. By the time I?d gotten home from shooting I?d quite forgotten the discussion.

    About a week later I was driving to work listening to NPR (I knew they were somewhat left-of-center, but I liked the fact that they would give a story 10 minutes) when one of their commentators started talking about the need for common sense gun control, to save lives ? and how the big, bullying NRA stood in the way. As I began to shake my head at the deplorable intransigence again demonstrated by the NRA, the previous weekend?s conversation came back to me and I asked myself, ?Is this right? Is the NRA totally wrong on this?? I determined to get the NRA?s position on it?from the NRA. I was, however, completely convinced that I would be proven correct, that the NRA was an organization that was way out of the main stream. I did not have internet access in those days, so I called the NRA and basically told them what I was trying to do. The staffer I spoke with told me that the best thing he could do was to send me a packet of information. When it arrived about a week later, I was startled at its size. I began wading through it ready to dismiss the illogical rants and distortions I was sure I?d find. As I got into it I was confused. Was the NRA talking about the same things I was reading about in the newspapers? Slogging through the information, I began to realize ? and was chagrined to find - that the NRA?s arguments and positions had the better logic. I was surprised to discover that what I thought were sensible regulations were, in fact, poorly written laws which could easily trap an honest individual. Then, I was shocked to learn that the people who were shouting about ?common sense? gun laws didn?t know the difference between a machine gun and a semi-automatic skeet gun ? and didn?t care about the difference. I saw, in the explanation of a bill which had sounded reasonable on the news, the potential ban of guns I saw being used every weekend. This was getting close to home. Two hours later I had found the distortions and lies all right, they were on the pages of the newspaper I read every day. The illogic I was looking for was on the television every night and on the radio and in the periodicals I?d read for years. What I learned that night was that it was the NRA which was reasonable and the forces of ?gun control? which were extreme. I could scarcely credit what I had just read. It had to be wrong. I read it again the next day. No, it was the same. I was conflicted. I just could not accept that I?d been so wrong. I contacted the Brady Campaign to get their side. When their information arrived I discovered that, indeed, their positions were based on appeals to emotion and that facts were, for them, flexible things. I couldn?t help but notice that when gun control hadn?t worked, they had no answer ? except more gun control. Worst of all, to me, was that when they discussed leading pro-gun authorities, rather than argue the merits of their work, they just tried to discredit the individual. That clinched it for me. Shortly after this, I got more involved in the issues. I learned as much as I could about the various bills being introduced in my state and at the federal level. Everything that I learned subsequently demonstrated that, while the NRA was sometimes wrong, the other side was rarely ever right.

    I never met that guy again, but approximately six months after that discussion at the gun club, I joined the NRA ? and three years ago I became a life member. Over the years, I?ve come to realize that the right to keep and bear arms truly is the bedrock upon which our Constitution rests. And, therefore, while it may not be perfect, the NRA is the only civil rights organization in the United States that stands up for ALL the people. You can talk all day about your right to free speech, or your right to petition the government for the redress of grievances, or your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and to be secure in your papers and effects. You can talk until you are blue in the face about all your rights, but, if the day ever comes when the government decides they no longer apply, what are you and I - what are "We The People - going to do about it? Without the second amendment, we?re going to put our hands up and go along quietly. If you think it can?t happen here, ask yourself why not? I think what you?ll find, upon reflection, is that the only thing that separates us from those places where it has happened is this short phrase:

    ?A well regulated militia, being necessary to the defense of a free state; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.?

    That is why I support the NRA?and that is why I believe that Mr. Zumbo should be eagerly welcomed back into polite society.

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