Thinking of Liberty, Freedom, Rights and Responsibilites… and not so much about Ted Nugent
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Some may not be familiar with Ted Nugent nor the “Motor City Madman” antics for which he became renown… or infamous, take your pick.
Certainly, there are things about which many of us are passionate, and hold dear – among them, family, freedom, and for some, firearms.
While by no means am I anti-gun, I am anti-nutcase. To be explicit, the reader should understand that what I mean to express by that sentiment, is that no one takes the ramblings of a madman seriously, and to be taken seriously, one should not behave or carry on as a madman. When on one hand someone appears civil, well-spoken even erudite, then later appears obscenely venomous, vitriolic, rude, crude and perhaps even diabolical, then it causes one to wonder if there is some degree of mental instability present, such as – for example – schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Individuals with such mental defect are automatically excluded from, and denied firearm ownership.
Since 1968, federal law has forbidden firearm ownership to those whom are declared mentally unfit. However, the problem with that has been twofold, which means that first and foremost, a court must first declare someone mentally unfit. Then secondly, the resident’s state is required to supply those individual’s mental health records to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which was created in 1998 to help carry out background checks of would-be gun buyers.
Further complicating matters is a September 2011 study performed by the National Center for State Courts which found there should be nearly twice as many mental-health records in that national database as there currently are. The study was based on responses from 42 of 56 states and territories.
Another problem is that someone whom has been banned from firearm ownership because of mental illness can still purchase firearms by purchasing from an unlicensed dealer at a gun show, or from an individual, because no background check is required for such transactions.
As a case in point, Arizona suspect Jared Lee Loughner – accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Gifford, murdering six, and wounding 14 others in Tucson, AZ on Saturday, January 8, 2011 – had no problems buying a gun in that state. He walked into a federally licensed gun retailer in November 2010 and legally purchased the Glock 9mm pistol used in that attack.
According to the ATF, which is charged with enforcement of federal firearms laws, neither a diagnosis of mental illness, voluntary commitments or mental health assessments are sufficient to forbid firearm ownership. One ATF official said that there is “nothing that we could do legally to prevent them from buying a gun if they weren’t adjudicated mentally ill or involuntarily committed.”
After the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which 33 students were killed and 23 wounded, it was discovered that the perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho had been had been considered dangerous by a Virginia court which ordered him into outpatient treatment, but his records were never sent to the background check system. That solitary omission allowed him to pass numerous background checks on separate occasions, and subsequently purchase firearms.
Congress quickly enacted legislation after that incident which was designed to strengthen efforts to prevent dangerously mentally ill people from obtaining guns.
As an aside, I can foresee a time in which an argument will arise before the United States Supreme Court in which the basis of the argument could invalidate all such restrictions on firearm ownership to those whom have been forbidden from owning firearms. That would include the seriously mentally defective, and convicted felons.
What might that argument be?
The Second Amendment states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Further, our Declaration of Independence states that all “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Accordingly, our rights have not come to us from man, but from a Higher Source. And it could further be argued that one such right, liberty – defined as the state of absence of “oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views” and which is also considered “the power or scope to act as one pleases,” and further construed as “participation in the operations of government, particularly in the administration and making of the laws,” and as “freedom from dictation, constraint, or control in matters affecting the conscience” – has already been limited or restricted.
Based upon those two statements – even the Second Amendment by itself – one could make an argument that infringement has already occurred, because the definition of the word means to limit, undermine, encroach, violate or actively break the terms of agreement. So therefore, any law concerning firearms would automatically become invalidated.
Following is a blog entry from 2010 that is, in my opinion, one of the most even-handed treatments of the venomous vitriol sprewed by Ted Nugent on his numerous rants about firearm ownership.
Accompanying is a video of about 8 minutes duration, which was made in Chicago around July 20, 2010, when Mr. Nugent performed there. It is not a lovely, peaceful or serene video. It is of Mr. Nugent parading around on stage, in the spotlight, brandishing what he presents as “machine guns,” (though I rather doubt it, because federal law requires reporting the transportation of such federally licensed firearms across state lines to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), and spouting obscenely vulgar diatribes and gestures against Mayor Daley and President Obama.
Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Ted Nugent
July 20, 2010
When you think of Vietnam War protests, you probably think of hippies. Grass. LSD. Woodstock. Marches. Tear gas. Police beatings. The Kent State massacre. And no wonder: the peace movement of the late 60′s and early 70′s was almost entirely defined by its “extreme” elements. Less well known: the anti-war efforts of lawyers, journalists and gainfully-employed peace activists who worked tirelessly to sway public opinion against the war. In fact, there’s a school of thought that says hippies damaged the anti-war movement by alienating mainstream Americans, sending them straight into Richard Nixon’s loving embrace. See where I’m going with this?
Ted Nugent is not wrong in his defense of America’s Second Amendment rights. When the the NRA board member sits down with a journalist to talk about gun control issues, he’s intelligent, coherent, charming and persuasive. But this? This doesn’t help the fight for gun rights. It makes freedom-loving gun owners seem like belligerent gun nuts spoiling for a fight.
I’m sure Nugent doesn’t get it. For the Motor City Madman, a no-holds-barred assault on gun control advocates from a guitar-shaped bully pulpit makes perfect sense. It reflects deeply held patriotic beliefs. Equally important, it answers the question Marlon Brando posed when an angry white citizen asked what he was rebelling against. “Whaddaya got?”
Gun control is what Nugent’s got. At this point, Ted is WAY too old to rail against parents, teachers or adults in general. He can’t bitch against restrictive sexual or social morays (those are long gone). He certainly can’t play the hate the rich guy routine. Mayor Daley and the Gun Grabbers are all that’s left for a rebel with a cause.
I’m not sure Ted Nugent knows—or cares—that his infantile, middle-finger waving, gun-waving rants are damaging the cause. First Amendment, Second Amendment, Kiss My Glock. Done. (Except for cashing the checks.)
But Nugent IS hurting the gun rights movements. His “case” against gun control is all about killing and eating Bambi (ha!), defending freedom against commie bastards and shooting the shit out of stuff just for the redneck hell of it. As you can see in this video, this “message” is a big hit with his fist-pumping fans. And?
It’s hard to believe that Nugent’s on the same side of the gun control debate as the Chicago resident who quietly and patiently spoke up for his right to defend himself against neighborhood thugs. And yet the two are connected in the minds of their opponents.
That’s not a good thing.
Does gun owner Nugent have a responsibility to tone it down? To make gun ownership more politically palatable for the silent majority by de-ratcheting his rhetoric?
Even though any such diminution of his pro-gun ammunition would work against his well-established not-to-say-lucrative balls-to-the-wall public persona, I say yes. All gun owners should do what they can to de-demonize and normalize gun ownership. It’s in their best interests to do so.
The best way to do that? Walk softly and carry a big caliber.
Obviously, Ted Nugent has the right to say whatever he wants to say about guns and gun control advocates however he wants to say it. But he has a responsibility to speak less stridently. Otherwise, he’s prolonging the fight for Second Amendment rights currently being waged—and won—by cooler heads.
“Freedom. Don’t you just love it? I love it so much I can’t stand myself.”
Join the club.