Second thought: "Steve is in no danger of losing credibility in the gun club."
Third thought: "Maybe this Zumbo guy had the same thought?"
I don't hunt with a gun. I own two: both .22s (a rifle and a pistol); both hand-me-downs from great-grandfather and grandfather, respectively. I killed a squirrel with the rifle once. That is the extent of my firearms experience.
Yet I hunt about 90 days a season (with hawk and dog), and I have opinions about it.
I have to say, I dislike the idea of a military gun as a hunting weapon. Why is that so out of line? Hunting is not war. War has a very specific purpose and needs its own tools. If you face multiple human attackers, each with his own weapon, you need the right tool for that. Thankfully, these are available. (...And if there is anyone of any political stripe who claims there is no legitimate need for effective personal defense from multiple armed attackers, I refer you to any homeowner in post-Katrina New Orleans. Obviously, other examples are available.)
And yet, again, hunting is not warfare. Hunting is accused of being a lot of different evils, but 'a metaphor for war' is one I always hated (notwithstanding Harry McElroy's "war on quail," which tickles me). No one who works that particular angle has ever been hunting, or at least, hunting for real. The lampooning of hunters as square-jawed paramilitaries makes a good cartoon, but it bears little similarity to actual people who hunt. I'll submit my own weak jaw (and cammo-free wardrobe) as evidence.
If Mr. Zumbo, in a moment of probably unwise light speed communication, expressed his opinion that military weapons seem out of place on a hunt, he did nothing more than state what many hunters would find obvious. Why cannot an adult at (...luckily) retirement age not make this perfectly defensible observation?
Well, as I said, I don't hunt with a gun. So I was surprised by the reaction Zumbo received. But my question stands: Why should one man's opinion about proper hunting tools be interpreted to say anything about his views on tools of war or self defense? For all we know (and this seems the case), Zumbo supports everyone's right to own whatever sort of gun they want.
He was stating, essentially, an artistic opinion. Right?
I sent Steve an email with this question. Steve knows I am ignorant of guns and gun issues generally, and he is a natural teacher. He wrote back:
"It's definitional. There are some guns based on the American military 'platform' that are pure, high- tech, rather expensive hunter's guns (AR varmint-style heavy-barreled .223's-- things poor ignorant Zumbo didn't know existed). There also are poor people all over the world who use SKS's (old Soviet rifles from before the AK, less "machine gun" looking) because they are cheap and the widely available old 7.63 X 39 cartridge is a passable deer round (similar ballistics to .30- 30). I own one myself as a backup to my pretty classic rifles-- and 1000 rounds of cheap ammo. Several of the Russian nomad photo- anthropology books show tribal folks with them (an added draw for me
"The main thing that antis hate is that they are 'semiauto', a new swear word (heard it recently on Cold Case-- Dad's eevil semiautos made his kid a Columbine- style spree killer)-- which means simply that you don't work a bolt between shots. So?? THEY ARE NOT MACHINE GUNS.
"SOME mil-spec semiautos are not accurate-- mil. configuration AK's for instance. Therefore, nobody hunts with them. Even in that case, Saiga of Russia made a reasonable hunting- style version.
"Antis don't like these (so- called) 'assault rifles' because they look scary. Snob hunters because they are 'Non-U' (look it up) and CHEAP. Poor people can afford them, people 'not like us'. It is a non-issue, with most people (as usual) uninformed and talking past each other."