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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Zero Tolerance

by digby

Not that I advocate operqating like this because it smacks of fascism and makes me sick, but if you want to see how an extremely effective right wing advocacy group works, this is how its done:

'Terrorist' Remark Puts Outdoorsman's Career in Jeopardy

Zumbo's Criticism of Hunters Who Use Assault Rifles Brings Unforgiving Response From U.S. Gun Culture

SEATTLE -- Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.

Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."

The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over.

His top-rated weekly TV program on the Outdoor Channel, his longtime career with Outdoor Life magazine and his corporate ties to the biggest names in gunmaking, including Remington Arms Co., have been terminated or are on the ropes.

The NRA on Thursday pointed to the collapse of Zumbo's career as an example of what can happen to anyone, including a "fellow gun owner," who challenges the right of Americans to own or hunt with assault-style firearms.

In announcing that it was suspending its professional ties with Zumbo, the NRA -- a well-financed gun lobby that for decades has fought attempts to regulate assault weapons -- noted that the new Congress should pay careful attention to the outdoors writer's fate.

"Our folks fully understand that their rights are at stake," the NRA statement said. It warned that the "grassroots" passion that brought down Zumbo shows that millions of people would "resist with an immense singular political will any attempts to create a new ban on semi-automatic firearms."

Kevin says the message is that there's no point in apologizing in America today. But I have never seen any liberal advocacy group completely destroy one of their own's livlihood over one remark with which they disagree, apology or not. I'm not saying some wouldn't want to, or haven't tried even, but they just don't have the clout with their followers or that kind of killer instinct. The NRA is the most effective lobbying group in American history because of its savvy political lobbying and its take no prisoners attitude. They are totalitarian gun nuts who have completely cowed the political system of this country. If that doesn't keep you awake night, nothing will.