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In the last 44 years, over a million American civilians have been killed by gunfire. Last year 100,000 were killed or wounded, with 33,000 going toes up immediately. We lead the world in a lot of things—and shooting guns at people and hitting them is one of them. Europeans say we have so many gun deaths and horrific wounds because we are not quite civilized yet. The man who was invited to talk to the recent National Rifle Association’s annual convention in St. Louis proves that at least the hierarchy of the NRA loves red meat, whether on the table or in the killing fields of politics. They invited that great rock-and-roll philosopher-barbarian Ted Nugent to roil the natives into buying lifetime memberships and more guns and ammunition.
I don’t have space to elaborate on Rotten-Mouth Nugent, but to give you some idea of his history on the political stump, he once called First Lady Hillary Clinton “a worthless whore” while she was in the White House. So the NRA folks knew exactly what they were getting in this kind of entertainment. To the cheering audience, Rotten-Mouth called President Barack Obama a “criminal” whose “vile, evil, America-hating administration” is taking the country down to socialism. He said that Obama, who once taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, is “wiping his ass with the Constitution.” I guess Ted must advise the NRA on Constitutional issues.
Then he aroused the interest of the Secret Service (Obama gets about 30 death threats per day, about four times any “white” president) by going over the top, as he usually does: “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either dead or in jail by this time next year. If you can’t galvanize and promote and recruit people to vote for Mitt Romney, we’re done. We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.” How are you going to do Obama, Ted? With pistol, rifle, knife, or bow and arrow? This is a direct threat. We need to lock up these Sirhan Sirhan, Lee Harvey Oswald nutcases so they cannot inspire other nutcases to kill our presidents. We have millions of “postal” possibilities out there. Remember that the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 26 percent of Americans over 18 suffer from diagnosable mental disorders, with about six percent with serious disorders. Nugent must be one of them.
He Already Is A Birther,
When Texas governor Rick Perry had his inaugural party in 2007, he invited his longtime friend Nugent to “entertain” at the celebration. The Houston Chronicle described Nugent’s “music” program this way: “Nugent appeared on stage wearing a cut-off T-shirt emblazoned … with the Confederate flag and shouting … unflattering remarks about non-English speakers. His musical props were machine guns.” Classy stuff.
As early as 2007, Nugent suggested in a nightclub show that he would like to see presidential candidate Obama dead (or gravely wounded): “I was in Chicago last week. I said, ‘Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these (machine guns), you punk! Obama, he’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun! Let’s hear it for them. I was in New York and I said, ‘Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.’ And since I’m in California, how about Barbara Boxer? She might want to suck on my machine gun! Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these, you worthless whore.” I’m surprised he isn’t running for office on the Republican ticket. They approve of him and keep inviting him back for more entertainment. Mitt Romney must feel he is a good fit.
At the NRA convention, Nugent praised fellow NRA members but warned them, “If the coyote’s in your living room, pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him. If Obama wins we will be a suburb of Indonesia next year.”
With guys like Nugent running around loose with presidential candidates and weapons groups such as the NRA, perhaps Christopher Hitchens, an atheist who recently passed to his own heaven, was right: “My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum, and dumping ground by a superior organization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either.”
Even Wyatt Earp And
Bat Masterson Believed
In Gun Control
Matt Dillon often “stood his ground” in Dodge, with Festus as a rather reluctant but capable backup. Good for TV and Dodge funeral parlors, not good for economic development. The real Dodge City, Kansas, had a big Boot Hill and started out as a rowdy place with guns blazing around and drunks gambling their way through meager pay. But the city fathers and mothers in the 1870s soon realized that if they were to remain the largest cattle market in the world, they would have to bring law and order to the streets and saloons. They also realized they had to keep a safe station for the Santa Fe Railroad.
The town council decided to bring as much civilization as possible to the cow town. In order to keep walking in manure at a minimum, no more livestock on sidewalks. No more horses above the ground floor in any building. Cowboys had a bad habit of sometimes riding their horses upstairs to their second– and third-story rooms. No more public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. All public accommodations had to have a room of pegs where weapons could be hung up. Guns could be fired within the city limits only on important holidays such as the Fourth of July and New Year’s.
Dodge at one time or other hired some real shy, retiring guys as sheriffs and constables. They included Bat, Jim, and Ed Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Big Bill Tilgman, and Mysterious Dave Mather. The word got out quick. Anyone toting a gun within the city limits would be shot on sight. All of these guys were good shots. Of course, cowboys who had been trail-drivers for two or three months and starving for whiskey, women, and cards sometimes stepped over the lines established by the Dodge folks and ended up on Boot Hill. Cowboys who were former Redneck Rebs and who had blown three months’ wages on sinning in just a few nights on the town sometimes were unreasonable. But Dodge businessmen did not tolerate drunken violence. Gun control was absolutely necessary for their bottom line. When the cattle market collapsed they could no longer afford the likes of Bat and Wyatt. But gun controls had been established.
Over 800 Years Of
Researchers have been trying to find out why the United States has the highest homicide rate in the Western world. Our murder rate is four times that of France and Great Britain and six times that of Germany. Why? Most researchers end up conceding there is an American way of murder and that it is the price of our politics. Experts have determined that the murder rate in the 14th century in Europe was right around 35 per 100,000. As duels and personal combat gradually replaced outright murder, the murder rate in Europe declined to five per 100,000 by 1700. Today the rate is less than two per 100,000 in Europe.
The U.S. has had a higher rate than Europe from the start and has fluctuated wildly during some periods. During our colonial period, when we were very close to European citizens, our murder rate fell but was still higher than Europe’s. In the 19th century, Europe’s rate kept falling but our rate doubled. We dropped to five per 100,000 during World War II. But by 1991 we were back up to 11 per 100,000, almost ten times that of Europe. Presently we are down to five, about four times that of any other affluent society, but our current social and economic problems and the fact that we have almost one firearm for each of our 312 million adults, children, and babies (106 million handguns, 105 million rifles, 83 million shotguns) tell the experts our murder rate is going up again. Since 1991 we have had 95 mass murders and hundreds wounded at 21 of our universities. The murder rate at K-12 schools is much worse.
Europeans who research firearm deaths attribute our high rate to the fact that we are not as “civilized” as Europeans. European governments grew slowly into democracies over a long period of time, allowing the citizenry to get used to centralized governments and their ability to control violence, enforce law and order, and hold a big monopoly on weapons in the use of force. The Europeans say we have not completed our civilizing process yet. In Europe the populations have accepted the authority of the state. That has not happened in the U.S. yet. The American Revolution happened long before the citizenry got used to the state having all the power.
In other words, we are backward because we became free before we learned how to control ourselves. The Europeans say we are impulsive, crude, and have a “Stand Your Ground” attitude. We are still living under some parts of the dueling code. We don’t seem to realize that shooting at each other at 20 or 30 paces with .45s is really pretty stupid. Most Europeans realized this when armor got to weigh 200 pounds and when they had to ride a Belgian draft horse in single combat to carry the weight of armor and weapons. This argument makes a lot of sense.
The Trauma And Drama
Of Machine Guns Vegas
I think the new “thrills” available in our Las Vegas playgrounds in machine gun ranges such as Machine Guns Vegas prove the European point. We are not civilized yet. As a commander of a Marine heavy machine gun platoon, I never realized shooting such guns was so much fun. For $699 in Vegas you get to handle 16 different fully automatic machine guns and fire off 1,550 rounds of ammo.
The machine gun ranges do not allow alcohol on site. I wonder why. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons is the hawker at a hockey or football game running up and down the aisles yelling “Guns and alcohol! Hey, I’ve got guns and alcohol!” We now have 23 “Stand Your Ground” states, with several allowing bar patrons to conceal and carry within bars. As a bartender who handled his share of drunks over a two-year span, such a rule certainly would add a bit of spice to an evening’s work. Twenty of the 23 states are “Red” Republican states. In Ohio a bar patron can carry a .45 into bar but can’t order a drink. Let’s see. He’s sitting with three of his friends who are not carrying so they can order drinks. According to the law, the waitress has to make sure the carrier is not drinking! This proves the European point that we are still not civilized and that we are still stupid. When will the NRA endorse the slogan “An Armed Child Is a Safer Child?” The NRA is pushing at least two states to allow weapons in day-care centers and on school buses.
We Once Had
Reasonable Gun Laws
The NRA has gone over the top numerous times, particularly when they fought the elimination of “cop killer” bullets, pushing the sale of .50 caliber spotting rifles that can fire an armored bullet that will penetrate an engine block. (The Mexican drug cartels snap these up the minute they hit the gun stores or gunshows.) They oppose any regulation that would require the registration of guns. The NRA even opposes any regulation that would require the manufacturers to make “safe” weapons. Numerous kills have been made by weapons dropped accidentally on hard floors.
But this online ad for hoodies put out after the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida describes the organization to a T: “We want concealed carry to fit around your lifestyle—not the other way around. That’s why we developed the NRAstore TM exclusive Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt … Inside the sweatshirt you’ll find left and right concealed pockets. The included Velcro (R)-backed holster and double mag pouch can be repositioned inside the pockets for maximum draw. The NRA Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt gives you an extra tactical edge, because its … design appears incapable of concealing a heavy firearm—but it does so with ease! Includes one holster and one mag pouch. Colors black and navy.” Crazy. Only jack-booted thugs would think of capitalizing on the murder of an unarmed kid.