Promptly labeled a "turncoat" who has "put a stake in our hearts," Zumbo issued an unctuous recantation. "I'll do all I can to educate others who are, or were, as ignorant as I was about 'black' rifles and the controversy that surrounds them," he vowed. "My promise to you is that I'll learn all I can about these firearms, and by the time this week is out, I'll order one. The NUGE [Ted Nugent, NRA board member] has invited me to hunt with him using AR-15's, and I'm eager to go, and learn. I'll do all I can to spread the word." In the words of George Orwell, he loved Big Brother, too.
The outdoors writer Pat Wray, however, would not be silenced. "For decades the NRA has fostered a climate of fear and paranoia among gun owners," he wrote in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. "They have hammered home the message that everyone is out to take our guns...[and nowhere] has that message taken root as strongly as within the owners of the military style rifles, and it was they who came after Zumbo in their thousands."
The NRA launched a similar attack, the same year, against former Billings, Montana Mayor Ron Tussing for joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "It boggles my mind that anybody would want to handcuff law enforcement," says Tussing, who was Billings police chief before being mayor. "The NRA has turned into a weird cult and totally lost sight of reality," wrote a commentator on the Billings Gazette web site. They may define "the mayor as anti gun. I'd define them as anti cop."
Last year, a simple plea for mandatory gun-owner training in the magazine Guns & Ammo also activated the NRA's Taliban wing. Contributing editor, Dick Metcalf was terminated and the magazine's editor, Jim Bequette, resigned. First they train you how to operate your lethal weapon, then black helicopters appear to confiscate your guns.
And this week the NRA again savaged its own. After an unusually rational statement calling demonstrations by Texas open carry hooligans "downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself," the NRA's statement became inoperable. The condemnation was "a mistake" and" shouldn't have happened," said NRA's flak, Chris Cox, adding "our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners." The inoperable statement was written by a "staffer," said Cox who "expressed his personal opinion" and is likely pounding the pavement for a new job.
The NRA's Taliban tactics toward local and national lawmakers, anti-gun violence activists, bereaved families of gun victims and its own would-be moderates are reminiscent of the saying about what to do if a tiger is chasing you and your friend. You don't have to run faster than the tiger, says the joke, just faster than your friend. Who will be the NRA's next target that runs too slow?
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