Sunday, February 25, 2007

Meditations on forgiveness

I was always under the impression that if someone wished to be forgiven for a trespass, that person first had to redress the wrongs that he (or she) committed. In other words, a person had to prove that he (or she) was truly contrite, through actions, before that person could be forgiven.

To the best of my knowledge, merely apologizing for a wrong is not grounds for forgiveness -- except in family matters.

An apology is a start on contrition, but it's not the be-all/end-all act itself -- unless you are six years old and apologizing to your mother.

Alas, this seems to no longer be the case.

I have no earthly idea how many critters I have run across in my Law Enforcement career who have attempted to tell me -- some most eloquent in their fervor -- that they apologize for whatever it was they did that got me involved.

And it's not just criminal critters. Bill Clinton's apology for lying about his affair with Ms. Lewinsky was most poetic; and a casual search can find any number of politicians apologizing for various and sundry excesses.

Entertainers are another group who can frame the most beautiful of apologies for the most sordid of acts.

Maybe I'm cynical, but I always have to wonder if they're apologizing for the act, or for getting caught.

More often than not in these modern days, I get the impression that folks are sorry they got caught in the act, rather than being sorry for the act.

The old saw about leopards and their spots is still as viable today as it ever was.

All of which brings us to Mr. Jim Zumbo.

Ted Nugent -- and others -- believe that since Mr. Zumbo has issued an apology he should be welcomed back into the fold. That Mr. Zumbo is "upgraded".

Folks, an apology is simply words. Nothing more. And until your actions prove them, the words, "I'm sorry" mean less than a container of warm rodent expectorant.

Deeds, not words, lead to redemption. Deeds. I get enough pretty pillow promises from politicians, movie stars and their ilk; I am not interested in hearing more words.

When Mr. Zumbo begins performing his acts of contrition, then -- and only then -- will I even consider forgiving his trespass.

Until such time as performs such deeds his words -- no matter how practiced, nor rehearsed, nor eloquent they be -- are merely the promises of a leopard as regards his spots, or the words of a man who is sorry he got caught.

So. Until I start seeing some acts on Mr. Zumbo's part that demonstrate to me -- through deeds -- that he is truly repentant, there shall be no forgiveness on my part.

Period.

Thus endeth the lesson.

LawDog

19 comments:

Hammer said...

Like I said on another blog, when I see Zumbo hold an AR15 or other similar EBR over his head and publicly scream: "from my cold dead hands" His apology isn't worth the elecrons it was posted with.

Jason said...

I'd be curious what deeds on his part would suffice...

Anonymous said...

I was starting to wonder if I was the only one who looked at all these public figures apologizing and wondered what they would do for penance...

I truly enjoy reading your words, LD - I read two other blogs every day, but your's is the first one up... and only then will I read mAssBackwards and The Other Side of Kim.

Ross

Desertrat said...

Cowboy Blob's blog had a fairly thorough program for Zumbo's redemption.

I see where Denny Hansen has invited Zumbo to visit the Valhalla training facility, courtesy of S.W.A.T. magazine, and Zumbo accepted.

Let the man go see, go take part in these "evil activities" and then write about it.

Then we shall have some insight as to the man's sincerity.

Art

edward_m said...

This goes a little further.....

'The Gun Nut' blog has been taking heat because they not only defended Mr. Zumbo (correctly, as he has the right to speak his mind, good or bad), but chided those blogers calling him to task.

Using the 1st Ammendment as a shield to dodge responsibility for your comments is a poor idea at best, yet many gun writers seem to think it protects them from criticism.

I wonder if this is why so many bloggers and writers take offense when the comments go against them?

Mr. Fixit said...

Hammer,
I would go so far as to say that just useing one of the Ar's is not enough. I want him to write about the 2nd Amendment. I want to see him trying to convince the hunter elitist that my AR and FAL are the same as their Holland&Holland double rifle. I want him to shout from the rooftops that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting.

Then, maybe.....

WildFire said...

Nope!! No forgiveness here! Sorry, can't do it! Yes, it does take more than mere words to get forgiven, I think. Anyone can say they're sorry.....watch....."I'm sorry", see how easy that was. Meaningless in it's simplicity.

Mark@C said...

I'd really like to see Mr. Zumbo DO something to bridge the gap between the 'Fudds' and the shooting community.
That would validate his apology, and really be a worthwhile contribution.
I've read several comments about how the term Fudd is degrading and divisive. I find it a useful descriptive term for the 'shotgun snobs', or '2 months a year shooters' who aren't really part of the shooting community. It is really past time for the industry, the public, and especially the politicians to discover what class of shooter makes up the driving force of the 'gun culture' - and Fudds ain't it.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right!

Acts of contrition.

Cindi

Anonymous said...

And what's more, the more polished the apology, the less I trust it.

People who work with words for a living can always come up with something that sounds good.

The secret to success in life is sincerity - once you can fake that, you've got it made.

I guess the only act of contrition that I could start to believe would be something like on-camera endorsements of Barrett sniper rifles, or brand x silencers, or something equally non-pc.

Anonymous said...

Well stated, Mr. Lawdog.

Meaningful actions, and lots of them, not words, are the basis for redemption here, given the nature of Mr. Zumbo's particularly foul betrayal.

Calling millions (tens of millions?) of law-abiding gun owners terrorists requires more than a tepid "I was tired" excuse. Mr. Zumbo needs to read the Bill of Rights, reflect upon its true meaning, and use his public, albeit now notorious, position to publicly and tirelessly expound on the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

So how should Mr. Zumbo go about rehabilitating himself in the eyes of his fellow gun owners? He should start by buying a selective-fire M-16, AR-15, AK-47 or AK variant, FAL, M14 (semi-auto M1A acceptable), MP-5, and an Uzi. (If he doesn't live in a Class III friendly state, he must move to one.) Throw in an M1 Garand and '03A3 Springfield for good measure.

Next, he should take every photo opportunity to showcase himself with these newly acquired arms, particularly the M-16/AR-15, AK-47, and FAL, while wearing a T-shirt that says "The 2nd Amendment Isn't About Hunting." Indeed, he should hire an assistant, equip that assistant with a bar of soap, and instruct that assistant to thoroughly scrub out his mouth with said bar of soap at any mention of "hunting" as having anything to do with the Second Amendment.

Mr. Zumbo should for the foreseeable future do most of his hunting with the very same arms he called terrorist rifles, where legal to do so. He must publicly take to task and debate any other "assault-weapons-are-evil" bigots, i.e., anyone who espouses his original view.

After all these actions, he can then publicly get down on his knees and beg forgiveness for his bigotry, arrogance, and betrayal from the millions of law-abiding Americans he called terrorists.

Maybe then we'll forgive him.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

My Dear Sir,

I would like to propose a single exception to your position on contrition:

I am sick and tired of the whole game of 'Political Gotcha!', whereby any casual remark by a public figure that some special interest group can twist into an offense becomes a national issue. It annoys me almost as much when pulled on some Leftwing Democrat Pinhead as when (as is more usual) the target is somebody described as 'Conservative' because he's to the Right of Trotsky. I'm not talking about major speeches or writings where the point of view ticked off a lot of people, just off the cuff remarks that used a Bad Word or were insensitive about something.

For these little gaffes an apology should be enough and more than enough. I'm tired of the presumption that somebody who stepped on his tongue in public must go to "sensitivity training" and then support his political enemies forever as an 'act of contrition'. It makes politicians even more mealymouthed then they naturally are, and reduces the level of public discourse, if such a thing be possible in this day and age.

Zumbo made a substantive blunder. You find his position wrongheaded. Fine. But nowadays he'd be in almost as much trouble from many of the same people if he'd said "Second Amendment issues aside, I just don't LIKE the ugly assault rifles".

Anonymous said...

LawDog:

To be quite honest, I don't think Zumbo's life of dedication to the NRA and his shooting career and interest in shooting sports should be deminished because of a single comment made which even he apologized for. I suppose you can dig his grave and beat the man into a pulp, but we shooters have bigger enemies out there and Zumbo is not it! So be had a blunder... big deal... he's our friend you know... You may be wrong on this matter Lawdog but I respect your opinion...

IntheNet

Anonymous said...

No offense to you all, but don't you guys think that this poor guy is being treated a -little- bit too harshly? I understand what you mean Lawdog. Apologies are meaningless without one's full heart and soul backing them. But Mr. Zumbo expressed his honest opinion regarding this topic. That's what he really believes, unless what he wrote was just a spur of the moment thing. No hollow apology can change that. But crucifying this guy over his preference of firearms just don't seem right, even if you think he's representing some elitist hunter group. I say let him go for now.

~Vin

Anonymous said...

G'Day, LawDog;

I think that some of the comments miss the point.

When we are stressed ... whether through fatigue, anger, whatever ... we might say (write) things that we shouldn't. Our internal censor is taking a break, in other words. The reality is that we still mean what we've said or written. Those words do truly reflect what's in our heart of hearts. The apology just means we're sorry; it doesn't mean we've changed our minds ... no matter what actual words make up the apology.

Secondly, a careful read of his original post and original apology make it unmistakable that Zumbo separated the firearm carrying public into two classes of people. And while he may have been thinking about foreigners and their AK-47s when he ran off about 'terrorists', he didn't make that clear. IMHO, his words reflected the elitist views of the 'pure' hunters ... a market he and his suppliers have assiduously coveted.

If your words and/or deeds cause damage, LawDog is absolutely correct. Not until the damage has been remedied does the offender have the chance of entertaining forgiveness.

Regards,
George

KCSteve said...

Mr. Zumbo has made his apology and is apparently working on his education and contrition.

This is enough to move him off of my spit list and into the 'pending' file. I'll be watching his future actions to see if he's moving toward condemnation or contrition.

Ted Nugent thinks he can be swung to the light, and if Ted's right then that would be a good thing. While most of us never really gave a toss as to his opinions, there are a lot of 'Fudds' who do.

NukemJim said...

"No offense to you all, but don't you guys think that this poor guy is being treated a -little- bit too harshly?"

No, not at all.

"But crucifying this guy over his preference of firearms just don't seem right"

I am afraid that you as well as Mr Zumbo still do not get it.

If Mr Zumbo likes wood stocked, bolt action rifles fine, cool, wonderfull. That is his right to like the kind of firearm he likes no problem and I could care less what kind of firearm he likes. The problem comes in when he calls anyone who owns or uses a firearm he does not like a "terrorist" ) as in who else owns a terrorist rifle" This is insulting to all the men and women of the armed forces for the last 40 years who carried and used a AR. This is insulting to me personally, I own an AR. And last but most definetly not least he is putting the cart before the horse. The reason the hunters have the right to own firearms is because of the 2nd Ammedment. The USSC ruled in USvMiller that the 2nd Ammendment only covers firearms that have a military/militia use.
NukemJim

Grunt said...

He can earn my forgiveness when he drags one of those wood and blue steel legitimate guns into his den, locks the door and does what Gordon Liddy calls the honorable thin. Of course he should write a note stating he was tired, and shouldn't have partaken of so much Mescal and mexican whores after the hunt and that in his altered state of mind he said things he didn't mean.
That or his head on pike as warning to future idiots willing to give up my gun rights so they can continue with theirs.I'm easy either will do.

Porta's Cat said...

When this entire mess broke loose, I called for on my blog, and Tams, for "us" to use a little more discretion and restraint in dealing with Zumbo. Not that his actions and words were defensible, but that he is very much salvagable.

Being salvageable is good enough on its own merits, but if you add in the fact he has an audience of folks (now called "Fudds", which IMO is stupid of "us" to do) whi believe essentially as he does, or did.

He could have, and possibly can still, reach that audience and work to bring them over. But as much beating as he took, and continues to take, the less viable or reasonable that option is for him. And that same "beating" is likley angering and frightening many of the same folks he could work to convert.

The blood in the water and the resulting feeding frenzy was probably good for a bit frustration release, but as said then, it does nothing to promote the cause of RKBA by working for a reasonable understanding of the 2nd Amendment, and instead became a mass chest beating.

When Zumbo offered his apology and basically pled for some sort of honorable resolutiuon, "we" scorned him for making a false apology and would not accept it. Again, it made "us" feel good, but did nothing to support "our" cause.

Zumbo is not our enemy. George Bush is more of an enemy of gun rights, based upon his waffling on AWB and the like, than Jim Zumbo will ever be. And Zumbo was salvageable.

I, for one, will accept his apology as such, and support his efforts to redeeem himself to the shooting sports community by good faith work to educate others as he has been. If he fails to do so, or breaks with his promises to do so, then he has truly proven himself to be dishonorable. So far, in my mind, he has proven himself so far as being nothing more than ignorant and human. When that becomes a crime worth banishment and ridicule, I imagine I will be standing outside the fence with Zumbo.