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Enjoy the Hillary/Obama show? You'll love the Zumbo/NRA show

By       Message Martha Rosenberg       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Just as the Hillary/Obama bowl winds down there is a new match-up between like minded players: The NRA/Zumbo show.

If you've never heard of Jim Zumbo, you certainly won't now.

The outdoors personality and big game hunter had his weekly TV show on the Outdoors network and position as hunting editor with Outdoor Life magazine abruptly terminated last week for criticizing the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters to shoot coyotes and prairie dogs and calling them "terrorists rifles."

Thousands of knee jerk assault rifle fans hunt and pecked their outrage to the TV station, magazine and respective sponsors and Zumbo was dispatched like the Canadian bear he posed with in 2004.

Having made an example of Zumbo, the NRA lost no time in telling Congress You're Next if it attempts "to create a new ban on semi-automatic firearms." As if Congress lives off Mossy Oak, Cabela's and Viagra ads like commerical media. Or 5,000 angry emails would sway an election.

But the fail-to-toe-the-party-line-and-you're-dead-meat threat rang out as unmistakable as the bully's threats on the schoolyard.

Nor was the NRA through.

It accused Billings, Montana Mayor Ron Tussing of being part of an "anti-gun coalition" for his membership in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns which seeks to prosecute illegal gun traffickers and dealers and improve firearm tracing laws.

Mayor Jared Furiman of Idaho Falls, Idaho, actually resigned from the 150-mayor group after similar pressure.

"It boggles my mind that anybody would want to handcuff law enforcement," says Tussing, a former law enforcement officer himself with memories of 28 rounds fired at his SWAT team by criminals during an operation in Nebraska.

Tussing tried to soften his position--saying he doubted Billings would conduct the New York City style "stings" against gun dealers that have outraged the gun crowd--but no cigar. Zumbo also apologized saying he'd had a rough day hunting coyotes in bad weather.

Yeah, Yeah. We heard you the first time.

Still, not everyone's genuflecting before the NRA.

"The NRA is off the deep end, and doesn't speak for me or a lot of other gun owners," wrote a retired firefighter on the Billings Gazette web site.

"They have used half-truths and sometimes outright lies to smear and intimidate public servants who don't share their narrow extremist agenda, which includes making 'cop-killer' bullets and machine guns legal to own."

"The NRA has turned into a weird cult and totally lost sight of reality," seconded a commentator named MK. They may define "the mayor as anti gun. I'd define them as anti cop."

There are Jim Zumbo supporters too.

"People who think Zumbo is worse than a traitor need to take some Prozac," wrote a commentator on dailypundit.com. "I think that he represents a strong majority of the shooting community."

Finally there's outdoors writer Pat Wray, who was himself Zumbo-ed and Tussing-ed by the NRA last year for appearing to side with its enemies.

"For decades the NRA has fostered a climate of fear and paranoia among gun owners," writes Wray in the Corvallis Gazette-Times in Oregon. (Notice he's still writing?)

"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 danger in the NRA's "friendly fire bowls" is not ruined careers but appeasing the NRA, no matter how outrageous its demands.

(Is "Leave my Rocket Propelled Grenade alone" different from "Leave my gun alone"? asks Frank Abderholden of the News Sun.)

Because everyone knows to appease a tiger who's chasing you and your friend you only need to run faster than your friend.

 

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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