January     ►
Archive RSS
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/490387-An-Open-Letter-to-Jim-Zumbo
Rated: 13+ · Book · Community · #1031057
My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
#490387 added February 24, 2007 at 8:56pm
Restrictions: None
An Open Letter to Jim Zumbo
Outdoor Writer and Editor of Outdoor Life, Jim Zumbo took a stance against the use of assault style weapons for hunting in his blog last week. It cost him his TV show, his sponsors, his job at OL and probably several other things I'm not aware of. Here is my letter to Jim (hopefully, by way of Pat McManus) as I sent it.

Hello Pat,

First, I would like to thank you for all the great stories you've entertained me with down through the years. Several of them seemed strangely familiar...liked I lived them in my youth. You are a great writer and I look forward to each and every one of your new books...and I can see by your web site a trip to my local bookstore is needed. But that's not why I'm writing to you.

I know from following your career (and Jim's) that you and Jim Zumbo are friends. I just read about the unfortunate turn of events that is wrecking havoc with his career, and I presume, his life, and I want to offer my support. I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find an email address for Jim, but I did find this address for McManus Books and am sending this in the hope that you can forward it to him. I'm hoping it's as simple as hitting the forward button. (grin) With that said I offer Jim the following:

Hello Jim,

I have been a lifelong outdoorsman ever since I was old enough to hold a fishing rod. While most of my time in the outdoors has been limited to Pennsylvania, I eagerly looked forward to each and every issue of Outdoor Life, for you took me on hunting trips I never otherwise would have had the opportunity to experience. I was there when you sold your first story to OL. It saddens me to hear that I will no longer, at least at OL, have that opportunity. And, I believe, it was through no fault (or at least very little fault) of your own. I haven't read your original blog post, only the news reports covering it on MSNBC so I sit here aware that I may not have all the facts, but for what I want to say it really doesn't matter. Whatever you said, you took a position, you stated how you felt about an issue and in this case that issue was assault rifles.

I don't own one and I have no desire to own one. I, too, don't see the sense in using them to hunt. I don't begrudge their ownership or legal use, but it's not for me. Each to his own. But in reading the report of your undoing, you made me aware of something I never really understood until now. Assault rifles make me nervous. Sure, I can admire them. But whenever I would walk through the gun department and someone would be handling one at the counter, I would get nervous. Deer rifles don't make me nervous, shotguns don't make me nervous, and until you categorized them as "terrorist weapons" I never truly understood why assault rifles did. Their original design was military in nature. In my mind I associate them with the hunting of human beings and not of game animals.

The argument can accurately be made that all firearms had their origin in militaristic uses. It's a "what came first, the chicken or the egg" scenario when we think back to the first weapon. Was it for obtaining food or offing some competing tribesman? We will never know. I think we are far enough removed from the first flintlock, or the M-1 to think of them as being much more than weapons of the "past". Still, they hold the same lethal capabilities now that they did when they first appeared. Maybe in two hundred years when someone's phaser is on overload society will look back at assault rifles with the same view. I don't know.

But Jim, you stated your feelings, your position, your opinion. And for that you were vilified. This I believe is a great wrong. It is true that freedom of the press sometimes comes at a high cost, but in this was a cost wrongly applied. I am proud, most of the time, to be a member of the brotherhood of oudoorsmen and women. This is not one of those times. For the record I am not an NRA member either. I was at one time but I found I didn't agree with their position on a number of issues, and more importantly, how they presented those issues, so I decided I didn't want the NRA to represent my views. In other words, I took a stand.

Apparently, in your case your sponsors are more interested in employing someone who espouses only their views and are not interested in encouraging the independent thinking that at one time made this nation great. Now, if your blog site was bought and paid for by your sponsors, if you signed a contract with them saying you would positively support their positions, regardless of your personal views, I suspect they may have a point. And in that case you are guilty, guilty of not choosing the correct venue to voice your opinion.

There is one thing that still concerns me. It appears, when faced with the insurmountable onslaught of opinion against you, most of which, I believe, is largely manufactured by those parties that stand the most to lose, (It must be extremely satisfying to know that they believe you wield enough power within the sport community to single handedly strike the death knell for assault weapons), you have gone into apology mode. Do you need their financial support that bad, Jim? Was it truly a lack of sleep that caused you to write those anti-assault rifle words? I have lost what respect I had for the NRA and your other sponsors because of this incident. (Even though I don't agree with the NRA on all their issues I still think they serve a purpose.) In this case, they are, plain and simply, wrong. they should be encouraging open discussion amongst their members, not stifling the voice of dissent (reason?)

Jim, I do admire that you voiced an opinion that I'm sure you knew would be unpopular amongst the powers that be and I offer you my wholehearted support but if there is anything in this whole debacle that causes me to lose any respect for you it is the "tail between your legs, whipped puppy" outcome.

Say it ain't so Jim.

Joe Umholtz

PS Jim and Pat, I wrestled with whether I should leave my signature below, fearing that you might interpret this as an attempt by some wannabe writer to gain your attention. It is not.I am not in your league. I decided to leave the signature because I am also posting this letter to my blog. I don't work for your sponsors. I was a potential customer. They can whine all they want.

Like to read?
Check out my portfolio at:


or Check out my Blog:

You never know, you might be in it!


© Copyright 2007 Rasputin (UN: joeumholtz at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Rasputin has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/490387-An-Open-Letter-to-Jim-Zumbo