Cleaning up America

A couple of guys who had just finished eating at the little barbecue place in China Spring were standing outside, talking, when a girl who works there came by hauling a big bag of trash toward the back of the restaurant. As she passed the loiterers, one of them said, ‘Do you need some help with that’ That doesn’t happen terribly often, but it does happen often enough that it really isn’t worth mentioning. And I wouldn’t mention it, except that it offers an answer to a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately’What is Ted Nugent like’ Ted was the guy that offered to haul the trash. Ted’s a nice guy, is what he’s like. He’s also probably the most energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic, and outspoken proponent of the Second Amendment (2A) in America today. It’s no wonder he’s on the NRA board, or that the anti gunners are constantly taking potshots at him. Ted and I both write monthly columns for Texas Fish & Game magazine. He writes a bowhunting column, which is designed to get people excited about bowhunting. I write a commentary column, which is designed to irritate people. Our editor is Don Zaidle, who is designed to keep us from sticking our feet in our mouths. It works out pretty well, most of the time. Ted invited Don and I to his ranch last week to spend an afternoon with Jim Zumbo, who has been one of the most respected outdoor writers in the country for over 40 years. Jim has been involved in numerous programs promoting hunting and 2A and is a strong advocate of youth hunting in America. A few years ago he resigned from an organization whose board of directors reprimanded the NRA president for pointing out the true agenda of the Sierra Club. Jim is a good guy. But Jim made a mistake recently which cost him his television show on the Outdoor Life Network, caused his sponsors to abandon him and pretty much derailed his, till then, brilliant career. He made some comments in his web log on the Outdoor Life website that were not popular with hunters and shooters and expressed views that are inconsistent with, well, common sense. It was a bonehead stunt, for sure. But then, we all make mistakes. What Jim said, basically, was that AR and AK type rifles, which he referred to as ‘assault’ rifles and ‘terrorist’ rifles, have no place in hunting. He differentiated them from ‘sporting firearms,’ and said that game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods. The backlash was immediate and immense. Within a few days, Jim’s lifetime of achievement was forgotten, and he became an orphan in the outdoor world. He apologized in the blog a couple of days later and again on the nationally-syndicated radio show ‘Gun Talk,’ but the damage was done. The mistake came about because Jim wrote about ‘AR and AK’ rifles without knowing anything about them. He had only shot one once and had never considered them ‘hunting guns.’ Which doesn’t excuse what he wrote, but helps explain the problem. So, Ted decided Jim needed an education and didn’t see any point in waiting around. We met at his ranch less than two weeks after the horrible blog hit the Internet, with the idea of giving Jim a firsthand look at AR-15 type guns and letting him see how useful they can be as hunting firearms. And he had a blast. Ted’s email to me about the effort said, ‘Bring black guns and ammo,’ so my friend, Joel Draper, and I had loaded up as many guns as we could get in a Jeep before we headed for the Spirit Arrow Ranch. Ted, Don, Joel and I spent the better part of an afternoon answering Jim’s questions. He had no idea what a forward assist was, didn’t recognize a bayonet lug and was generally unfamiliar with fun guns. But the most important thing that happened Monday was Jim’s epiphany. Like many hunters today, Jim had always equated 2A with hunting. He finally got the point’the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It protects guns, with the purpose of allowing citizens to protect themselves, primarily from corrupt governments. The guns 2A is most aimed at protecting are the ones the anti-funners refer to as Evil Black Rifles (EBRs), such as ARs, AKs and other military-type firearms. The 60 million gun owners in America who don’t hunt are getting a little miffed at the 20 million American gun owners who do, because many of us think just like Jim. They call us Fudds, which I thought was kind of funny, but it’s not meant to be flattering. They want us to wake up and realize that the anti-funners don’t just want to ban ARs and AKs, they want to ban ARs and AKs first. Then they’ll come back for the rest. Jim gets it now, and his mistake has opened a lot of other hunters’ eyes, too. Fudds are jumping on the bandwagon in droves, because someone has to take out the Brady Campaign trash, and no one is too good for the job’ ‘ Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who could play a guitar just like Ted Nugent, if he had a guitar just like Ted Nugent’s. Write to him at P.O. Box 1600, Mason, Tex. 76856 or

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