An Open Letter To Ted Nugent.

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Hey Bro!  Why don’t you stop appealing to the lowest, common mental denominator and start talking seriously about guns?  Nobody doubts your fervent joy in hunting with a bow or a gun, nobody can argue with the fact that you honestly believe in 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ But the fact that our current President uses profanity and insults to explain his positions on various public policies isn’t a reason that you should do the same. You make a very powerful argument when you tell Andy Parker that the Constitution gives him the freedom to protest your promotion of guns. But other than selling a few more concert tickets, calling him a ‘piece of sh*t’ or a ‘dumb fu*k’ does nothing to explain or justify your beliefs

nugent1If you would take the trouble to actually sit down and think through the issue of the Constitution and guns, you would discover that the most powerful defense of the 2nd Amendment was made not by your buddy Alex Jones, but by a pointy-headed, liberal intellectual named Sandy Levinson, whose 1989 Yale Law Review article first raised the issue of the 2nd Amendment as a ‘civil right.’ Basically, what Levinson argues was that if liberals wanted to be taken seriously in their defense of 1st Amendment guarantees, particularly the protection afforded speech, then they also needed to defend the 2nd Amendment’s protection of guns. Levinson’s liberal defense of private gun ownership, not surprisingly, became part of the argument made by gun-rights advocates in the run-up to the Heller decision in 2008.

Which happens to be the same argument that you are making, Bro, about the 2nd Amendment, with one difference. And the difference happens to be your continued attempt to present yourself as some kind of right-wing, radical noisemaker who won’t accept the slightest degree of compromise when it comes to the issue of guns. And maybe this is your way to keep your name in front of your fans, maybe it’s a way to sell a few more albums, maybe it’s simply something you do because you have nothing better to do except when you’re on a stage strumming your guitar.

But here’s the point, Bro.  There’s a good chance that the Congress may shift from red to blue next year, and if that happens, I guarantee you that a new gun-control law will wind up on 45’s desk. And if you think for one second that your buddy Trump wouldn’t shove the NRA under a bus if, all of a sudden, he has to make some kind of deal with Democrats on the Hill, then you don’t know your ass from your elbow about Donald Trump. Want to know how much he really values the loyalty of his friends? Just ask Mikey ‘I’ll do anything to protect the President’ Cohen – he’ll be glad to fill you in.

As of today, Americans believe two to one that gun laws should be stricter than they are right now. The last time we had numbers like this was 1993, right before we got both Brady and the Assault Weapons Ban. For gun nuts like you and me Bro, those laws are just a pain in the rear end, because neither us nor just about any other legal gun owner needs the government to tell us how to behave properly with our guns.

Which is why someone like you needs to be given a seat at the big table when it gets down to talking about a new gun bill. Not that you have to compromise your views, but what you should do is stop pretending that gun ‘rights’ are the next best thing to Godliness and start talking without indulging in the profanity and vulgarity that some of your fans enjoy, but for the rest of us just mark you down as being a big, dumb jerk.

I want people promoting gun ownership whom I can respect, not because I agree with what they say, but because they say it in a proper and decent way. Maybe you can, but maybe you can’t.


Ted Nugent And Alex Jones: A Perfect Pair.

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Let me say this about Ted Nugent.  He is a remarkably-talented musician.  And the few moments when he played some licks for Alex Jones demonstrated why this guy has sold more than 30 million albums in a musical career that is in its sixth decade. Unfortunately, in order to enjoy Ted’s music, you also have to listen to him and Jones repeating the same clichés over and over again although the media reports that he wanted liberals shot down like ‘rabid coyotes’ wasn’t exactly true.

nugent1              Ted’s beginning to remind me of what I experienced every time I went to Florida to visit my grandparents who lived in South Miami Beach before it became known as South Beach. My grandfather and several of his cronies would sit on a bench in Flamingo Park debating this subject and that, and whatever came out of their mouths was true because it came out of their mouths.  God knows what the filtering mechanism was that put the ideas into their brains in the first place. But what always struck me about their conversations was the degree to which they knew that what they said was completely and totally true.

I’m not sure how many times in the hour-long conversation Ted said that he was always guided in everything he did by “truth, logic and common sense.” I stopped counting when he repeated this brief homily for the ninth or tenth time. But every time he repeated this profound phrase his interviewer, whose entire career has been built on never saying anything which remotely connect to the truth, nodded his head up and down.

I never realized until I watched this video that Nugent considers himself to be a true, civil rights pioneer.  He pridefully mentioned how much he loved various Black musicians like Little Richard and James Brown, noting that it was America’s ‘freedom’ that allowed these artists and other Black performers to achieve fame and renown. That civil rights laws were the handiwork of all those liberals and Democrats who are trying to destroy what patriots like Nugent try to protect went unmentioned. But why let a few facts get in the way of opinions, right?

The best part of the show was when Nugent and Jones were out on the shooting range and Ted was trying to explain to Alex why the AR-15 was just like any other sporting gun. What makes the AR just another sporter, according to Ted, is the fact that it only shoots in semi-auto mode, and “no society would be so irresponsible to send the military into war with a semi-automatic weapon.” The fact that the current battle rifle carried by U.S. forces can be set to semi-automatic firing status probably means that the guns will only be shot that way when a trooper is wandering around Ted’s ranch.

Ted also made a point, multiple times, about how he’s ‘studied’ all the mass shootings, and every such event, including the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, could have been prevented if patrons inside the club had been allowed to carry guns. You may recall that D.D. Trump said the same thing during the 2016 campaign, and it was left to Chris Cox to remind him that the NRA didn’t support the idea of people mixing booze with guns.

The one thing I never did while listening to my grandfather and his friends concoct one harebrained explanation after another was to speak up and interject my own ideas. Because if I had said anything that didn’t support their nonsensical views, I would have been immediately told to shut up and learn something from what the older generation knew to be true.

When Ted Nugent stops playing his guitar and starts shooting off his mouth, what you have is a quintessential case of arrested mental development; here’s a guy who has not been told to his face that he’s full of sh*t for at least fifty years. But he sure knows how to play that guitar.

Thank God The Liberal Media Can Still Find Someone Who Loves Guns.


Now that the Parkland kids have managed to put gun-control laws in the middle of the upcoming off-year election campaign, we have to assume that Gun-nut Nation will rev up their noise machine and say whatever they can say to deflect attention away from the whole issue of violence caused by guns.  Except the last time I looked, all those 2nd-Amendment stalwarts who have been marching around with their trusty AR-15 rifles slung over their backs seem to have quit the scene.

antifa            But where are all the pro-gun marches that were going to be held to counter the national protests on March 24th?  Where are all the gun-toting patriots screaming to lock up Hillary at all those Town Halls? Even Ted Nugent ends up going from a White House dinner to a boring interview with Alex Jones.

But not to worry about how the 2nd-Amendment gang is being marginalized and pushed to the sidelines in the continuing discussion about guns. Because we can count on the mainstream media (read: liberal, gun-grabbing media) to keep Gun-nut Nation alive.  Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a story about a young guy down in Texas who finally saved up enough dough to buy his first AR-15.  The compassion, the humanity of this new AR owner dripped from every page.  Here’s some of the better quotes:

“He’s here this weekend [at a gun show where he bought the gun] not because he worries about an imminent ban, but because he just sold his Mustang and finally has the cash.”

“Rodriguez has long been a gun enthusiast. He learned how to shoot when he was in elementary school, and he purchased his first gun at 18.”

“He learned more about guns through YouTube, got a job and settled into a responsible life with a gun hobby on the side.”

Get it?  This guy’s not a nut; he’s not going to run into a school with his AR and start blasting away.  He’s actually a married man with a real job and he always wanted an AR because taking it out to the range is a “lot of fun.”  He’s not even worried about a terrorist attack and says that for self-protection, he would rather rely on a handgun than on his newly-purchased AR.  Of course, it turns that he’s never actually been involved in a criminal event of any kind. But he knows that if it actually happened, he would have no trouble engaging in defensive gun use because, “Can you think of a more honorable way to [die] than trying to save people’s lives?”

Okay, our boy has a few fantasies about life and death, so do we all.  But does the WaPo reporter at any point even hint at the possibility that this kid just spent a thousand bucks on a new toy?  Of course not. Because the truth is that these same reporters couldn’t stop writing about all those gun-toting, proto-fascist kids last year who were getting ready to mount the barricades and defend freedom against the Antifa hordes.

What happened to all that nonsense?  I’ll tell you that happened. It was nothing except whatever the mainstream media decided it should be. And once the brouhaha about Charlottesville died down and nobody really cared whether this Civil War statue or that Civil War statue stayed up or came down, the whole big deal about crazies running around with guns also died down. Instead, we now have an African-American gun instructor, Michelle Tigner, whose goal is to train one million women to use guns and also touts herself as “the  perfect mediator for a civil dialogue between ‘unwilling’ to talk gun advocates and ‘uninformed’ anti-gun crusaders.”

All of a sudden everyone’s interested to talking to both sides. Am I the only person out there who sees this as nothing more than the latest manifestation of good, old American entrepreneurship to make a quick buck by promoting the idea that most gun owners are actually normal people when it comes to what they do with their guns?

Gun-nut Nation Better Come Up With A Better Rant Than What Nugent Said.


If nothing else, the emergence of a national gun-control movement led by a bunch of high school students has not only forced the pro-gun cabal into a defensive mode, but raises the possibility that the NRA’s cherished ‘good guy with a gun’ mantra may finally be running out of steam. And who among the ‘good guys’ has been more vocal in promoting the pro-gun anthem than Ted Nugent, who took a shot at the Parkland kids by calling them ‘mushy-brained children’ who have been ‘fed lies’ by the usual liberal, moneyed types, you know, Soros, Bloomberg, et. al.

nugent1              After the 2016 election I wondered how alt-right attack dogs like Palin, Nugent, Loesch, Hannity, Rush and Coulter would adjust to defending, rather than verbally assaulting the status quo. Because no matter how many times Schmuck-o Trump pretends he’s ‘cleaning the swamp,’ he now represents the Beltway crowd and he can only survive by making deals which means giving up something for everything he gets. And don’t think the NRA and their noisemakers aren’t sitting in Fairfax wondering what they’ll do if the Congress turns blue later this year and Trump has to strike some kind of deal over guns.

I happen to think that Ted Nugent is a genius when it comes to writing lyrics for his songs. I also think he’s pretty smart for having figured out how to sustain a musical career by occasionally saying extreme and crazy things that other artists and public figures would never dare say. Am I accusing Ted of using his celebrity status to promote himself both on and off-stage? He’s certainly not the only entertainer to mix politics and show-biz by appealing to a following that will respond to both. After all, Joan Baez just announced a new concert tour by spending several days with ‘more than two hundred Indian tribes who have gathered to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.’

I hate to break it to Ted, but if the best he can come up with for criticizing the Parkland kids is the idea that they are being ‘fed lies’ by the gun-grabbing crowd, he won’t get much traction from this rant. Because what makes this moment so different from every previous effort to use a rampage shooting to spread the gun-control gospel is that Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg don’t have a friend in the Oval Office on whom they can lean. And there’s an old rule in military strategy which says you can’t come up with an effective way to deal with the enemy unless the enemy is right in the middle of your sights.

When Wayne-o went on national television a week after Sandy Hook and blabbed on and on about ‘good guys with guns,’ he wasn’t trying to besmirch the parents from Newtown, he was reminding the faithful that these parents had been invited to the White House by Gun-Grabber Number One. But what can the boys from Fairfax say when the guy whose political campaign cost them thirty million sits there respectfully listening to the Parkland kids and then issues a statement commending these same kids for their ‘courage’ in marching against guns?

When Schmuck-o Trump showed up at the 2016 NRA show I knew right then that the NRA might have made a tremendous mistake. Because you don’t spend eight years selling the idea that ‘gun rights’ can only be threatened by a liberal President when the guy you decide to back has a long history of being less than enamored about guns.

I’m not saying that Trump wasn’t a clear alternative to Hillary who would have made a new gun law a priority if she had won the gold ring. What I am saying is that the Gun-nut Gang and its acolytes like Ted Nugent better come up with a narrative that goes beyond accusing some high school students of being ‘dupes’ or ‘pawns’ in the national debate about guns. Because if nothing else, these kids witnessed first-hand a rampage shooting, and for all his tough talk, Motor City Ted’s career can’t compete with that.

Wishing Everyone a Peaceful and Joyous Easter!



All Of A Sudden, Talking Nicely About Gun Violence Is ‘In.’

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If Alex Jones was really the conspiracy expert which he claims to be, instead of just huckstering to the crowd that believes the aliens landed in Area 51, he would take a look at the way in which Gun-nut Nation develops and puts out its messaging, because he would discover that it starts and ends at the same place.  And that place happens to be the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where Donald ‘I could shoot someone in the street’ Trump is trying to change his tune on violence and guns.

nugent             I said last week that Trump’s muted and respectful response to the shooting of Steve Scalise and others represented an awareness that his dwindling base doesn’t provide enough traction to get his political agenda through Congress, never mind keep him from getting burned by Russiagate.  And his foolish attempt to promote himself by posting a tweet about a Rasmussen 50% score, a poll result which went south the very next day, can’t hide the fact that unless he starts appealing to folks outside of his crazy base, he’s all done.

So now it’s almost a week since the ‘good guys’ with guns in Alexandria turned out to be cops instead of civilians, but that didn’t stop John Lott from going on a right-wing noise-making radio show and saying how important it was to have people with guns on the scene. And it really doesn’t matter whether those guns belong to cops who may actually be trained to use lethal defense, or belong to civilians who aren’t required to undergo any training at all.  And if the gun is in the hands of a ‘good guy,’ then everything’s going to be okay. I know, it’s as dumb as you can get.

But when it comes to real dumbness, this week’s award has to go to none other than Ted Nugent, who figured out how to prolong his career by creating a new standard for saying dumb and stupid things about violence and guns. And I don’t mean a high standard because here’s a guy who’s so friggin’ dumb that he posted pictures of gun-control politicians on his Facebook page, all of whom happened to be Jewish, adorned each pic with an Israeli flag, and then claimed he didn’t ‘know’ that something so tasteless would be taken as an anti-Semitic slur.

Anyway, this jackass has now publicly disowned every hateful and nasty remark he ever made, and has promised to tone down his remarks, become ‘more respectful to the other side,’ and if “it gets fiery, if it gets hateful, I’m going away.” What? The man who told Obama to suck his you-know-what is pulling back from the rhetorical venom which Trump imitated again and again during the 2016 campaign?

This can only be happening because the alt-right has realized that since they now own the White House, that their brand of hate won’t sell.  Oh, it will still sell to the ‘make America great again’ crowd that will line up at Trump rallies and buy the hats and other overpriced paraphernalia which generates revenues for the Trump Organization bottom line. But that’s not going to work with the rest of us, and it’s the rest of us who will ultimately determine whether Trump keeps his job or not.

So now we have a report that Chris Collins (R-NY) whose announcement that he will always go around with his gun marks him as one of the dopiest schmucks in the U. S. House, is now crafting a bill to protect lawmakers from getting shot, and he’s doing it with help from the NRA. Perfect, just perfect. The NRA, which wants no restrictions of any kind on concealed-carry, is going to help write legislation that will make it easier for jerks like Rep. Collins to walk around DC with a gun. But this is a ‘responsible’ way to react to a mass shooting, right? And ‘responsible’ is now what Donald Trump is all about.

The Way Things Are Going Isn’t Good News For People Who Love Their Guns.


The other day a student studying public health came to my gun shop and spent an hour talking to me about guns. After going through the current numbers, which depressingly appear to be going up, she asked me if I could predict the eventual role of guns in American life. And I told her that predictions seem to be based more on what you want to see happen than what you know will happen, and this is certainly the case with guns.  On the other hand, the annual demographic projections made by Pew have just been released, and if the way that different demographic groups behave with guns continues to be the way they will behave with guns, the issue of gun violence in the long run may take care of itself.

Because the truth is, and I won’t back down on this no matter how many Gun Nation trolls send me the crazy emails that I will receive, if you aren’t walking around with a shield on your chest, you simply don’t need a gun.  You might like guns; you might (like me) want to own lots of guns; you might not understand why everyone doesn’t want to have a gun, but you don’t need a gun.  Even Ted Nugent eats mostly store-bought food and the number of people who honestly have used a gun to defend themselves from criminals, contrary to John Lott’s bullsh*t, is absurdly small.  So owning a gun just isn’t like owning a car or even a droid.  And if you want to believe that a gun makes you “free,” then you go right ahead because something called the Constitution, not your AR-15, allows you to believe anything you want.

That being said, the bottom line of the Pew demographic report is that this country is steadily and inexorably moving towards a population profile that just doesn’t favor guns.  Right now we are still racially more than 60% White, but the flood of non-White immigration will not abate no matter what Trump says, and twenty years from now the non-White and the immigrant-based population will be climbing towards 50%. Colion Noir can prance around a shooting range all he wants, but the bottom line is that non-Whites, generally speaking, aren’t particularly attracted to guns.

Perhaps the bigger change, because it encompasses racial categories, is the degree to which women are steadily moving ahead into positions of economic power and cultural influence both within the public arena and at home.  The proportion of single-parent households continues to increase, the proportion of women who are the sole primary family financial provider is pushing towards 50%, and women continue to make gains in the workplace in terms of leadership on the job.  I don’t care how many times home-schooling queen Dana Loesch tells us that she loves her guns, most women don’t agree. And the fact that, according to the NSSF, there’s been a surge in women participating in the shooting sports is a function of changes in how families participate in social activities, not in the number of women who buy and own guns.

Let’s understand something: a prediction is not a fact.  So it could turn out, although I doubt it, that Pew’s projections of how the country is changing will ultimately be at variance with what the country’s population looks like down the road.  For that matter, who can say for sure that women, new immigrants and minorities will continue, in the main, to be anti-gun.  But there are two reasons why what I see in the current trends will end up being true.

First, Pew’s work isn’t just a one-shot deal.  They base their predictions on the continuation of trends they have been following and charting for more than thirty years.  Second, Gun Nation really hasn’t come up with a solid argument for gun ownership beyond what they have been saying for the last thirty years, and these groups have remained resistant to guns over that entire span of time. And unless Gun Nation can figure out a way to make their case to new immigrants, minorities and women, the country will contain less people who want to own guns.  And guess what?  Less guns means less gun violence.  It’s as simple as that.


Ted Nugent Explains Jews And Gun Control To The World.

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For a whole bunch of reasons, some personal, some having to do with my regard for his musicianship, I have refrained until now joining my GVP friends in condemning NRA Board Member Ted Nugent’s gun rants.  I figured that it’s not as if he says anything that really deserves to be discussed, frankly, I usually feel that he should simply be ignored.  But this time he’s crossed a line which, given the fact that I’m Jewish-American by origin although certainly far away from being of practicing belief, requires me to respond.  And I’m referring of course to his Facebook posting containing pictures of 12 Jewish politicians, GVP influencers and other activists who he labels as ‘punks’ because “they would deny us the basic human right to self defense & to KEEP AND BEAR ARMS.”  And just to make sure that nobody missed the point, Ted followed this up several hours later with another post consisting of a photo of Jews being herded forward by a Nazi soldier, the caption reading: “Soulless sheep to the slaughter. Not me.”

nugent              Now before I go forward, let me make one thing very clear.  Nobody’s ever accused Nugent of being a rocket scientist and you don’t have to score very high on an IQ test to strum a guitar.  The fact that what he says is often dumb, dumber and dumbest has proven to be a clever way to keep his name in lights considering that he hasn’t released a hit record in more than twenty years. And frankly, many of the comments he makes about minorities and liberals aren’t that much different in tone and results from what his good buddy Donald Trump says every time he wants a boost in his polls.

But what drew me to Ted’s post was the fact that the only way a viewer would know that all of the individuals pictured were Jewish was because each face was adorned by an Israeli flag.  Now Ted might actually believe that this flag is some kind of universal Jewish symbol or logo but it’s not.  The flag design has only been in existence since 1897 when it was flown at a Zionist conference in Basel, and was then adopted as the official State of Israel flag in 1948.

So what is Ted really telling us by placing this flag on the faces of Mike Bloomberg, Dianne Feinstein, Alan Dershowitz, et. al?  Is he also saying something about the link between these American Jews and Israel?  Because if so, without intending it I’m sure, he has raised a very interesting issue as regards American liberalism, gun control and support for Israel that deserves to be understood.  The fact is that the same ‘anti-gun’ Senators pictured in Nugent’s Facebook rant (Blumenthal, Boxer, Feinstein, Lautenberg, Levin) have all supported domestic regulation of guns, but they have also been legislative leaders in insuring that Israel receives more than $3 billion in military aid each year, which now totals more than $70 billion since the monies started flowing in 1949.  In fact, no other country in the world has received this much military assistance from the Pentagon, and for all the hue and cry over Iran’s alleged attempt to build a nuclear arsenal, the next time you visit Israel, don’t try to book a tour of Dimona, which happens to be where Israel builds its nuclear bombs.

Why are folks like Feinstein and Boxer so supportive of arming the Israel Defense Forces and, at the same time, just as willing to support gun-control legislation at home?  Because the truth is that Israel really does need arms to protect itself from its enemies, but Americans who follow Nugent’s advice to arm themselves aren’t protecting the rest of us from anyone at all. And the good news is that a majority of Americans support Israel and a majority of Americans also support sensible gun controls.  Which are both ideas much too obvious for an idiot like Ted to understand.

Why Not Let The NRA Protect Us From Ebola?

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Last year you may recall that the self-certified ophthalmologist, Rand Paul, derailed the nomination of Vivek Murthy to become Surgeon General because Murthy actually believes that guns are contraindicated to good health.  Now it looks like the nomination may go forward again, and to rev up support for Murthy, the States United campaign and MSNBC put out a statement blaming the NRA for a possible Ebola crisis in the United States, the logic being that any lapses in the CDC’s response to Ebola can be blamed on a lack of leadership, which can be blamed on the Senate’s failure to confirm Murthy, which can be blamed on the NRA.

Not one to ever back down from a good argument, the NRA called the charges against them “outlandish,” and went on to say that “gun control supporters will use any human tragedy to advance their anti-gun and anti-NRA agenda, no matter how ridiculous and desperate it reveals them to be.”  So what Philip Cook and Kristin Goss call The Gun Debate once again becomes the gun argument with both sides appealing to emotions and fears rather than evidence-based information, aka, facts.  The fact is that there’s no connection between an airport security guard who didn’t check a boarding pass and the absence of a Surgeon General in Washington, DC.  There‘s also no connection between Vivek’s views on gun violence and whether Americans need to protect themselves from crime, terrorists or anything else with guns.

      Vivek Murthy, M.D.

Vivek Murthy, M.D.

Speaking about terrorism, yesterday I received an email from a company marketing a product which appears to be a “must have” accessory for my AR-15.  It’s a handy little gadget called a Field Survivor Tool that stores in the rifle handgrip and allows me to adjust my sights, tighten the rails, fix the ejector, clean the bore and gas key, all for only $79.95.  And what’s really important about this little gizmo is that, according to the manufacturer, it’s “the one tool necessary for every AR to keep you safe in COMBAT or in play at the range.”  Combat?  I bought an AR so that I could go into combat?  I was drafted in 1968.  That’s when I would have gone into combat.

On the other hand, maybe there’s a new definition of combat that, like many millennial cultural expressions, has passed me by.  Take a look at the website of the Michigan Militia, some of whose members were interviewed by Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine and I quote from their Home page: “We are on yellow alert, which means a situation is probable. This is due to threats from ISIS and a completely unsecure border.  There are reports that some form of attack is imminent on the Southwestern border.  Check your gas tanks and water containers.”  What are they planning to do?  Drive from Michigan to the Rio Grande to protect the homeland?

But you don’t need to cross the United States to get into combat.  It’s a situation that could flare up at any point during the day.  Here’s some advice from Ted Nugent, who avoided military service but knows a good combat situation when  he sees one: “Those who carry guns had better gun & ammo up no matter where you go, carrying at least 10 spare mags or 10 spare speedloaders because the allahpukes are confident they will once again methodically slaughter walking cowering whining cryin helpless sitting ducks capable of zero resistance.”  Gun and ammo up and don’t forget the handy Field Survivor Tool for just $79.95.

Want a brilliant satire on current gun culture?  Take a look at this video produced by a kid from Texas named Ike Stephens.  He’s a gun guy for sure, but he knows a good marketing pitch when he sees one.  And with all due respect to advocates for gun control like States United, what they seem to miss is there are lots of grownups out there who really wish they were still kids but can pretend to be soldier-boy using real guns.  How do you connect concerns about gun violence to those kinds of folks?  Because if Ebola did start ravaging the United States, I guarantee it would re-start the demand for AR-15s.


If The NRA Didn’t Exist, The Gun Control Crowd Would Have To Invent It

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Today I received an email from the Violence Policy Center, a DC-based advocacy group that often partners with Brady and Bloomberg to push back against the legislative and legal initiatives of the NRA.  Like every organizational email I receive from both sides, the VPC wants dough.  But this particular message caught my eye because of what it said about the NRA’s upcoming Indianapolis show.

The VPC is upset not just in general about the NRA’s impending celebration of gun ownership, but in particular because the show is being held this year in a city that has an alarmingly high murder rate, many of these homicides, according to the VPC, committed with guns.  Here’s a quote from the email:  “Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent, and the rest of the NRA leadership will be in Indianapolis later this month for the NRA’s annual meeting which begins on April 25. We don’t expect they will mention the fact that Indianapolis has a murder rate higher than Chicago’s and that most of those killings are committed with guns.”

I’m not exactly sure what the connection is between the crime rate in Indianapolis and the fact that the Indiana Convention Center no doubt worked like hell to land the NRA show.  I also suspect that the decision to hold the show in Indianapolis was made years ago and who knows whether crime in Indianapolis has since gone up or down.  But if you think for one second that anyone who’s coming to Indianapolis to visit the NRA show gives a rat’s damn about crime in Indianapolis, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

feinsteinThe crowd at the NRA show is going to look just like the NRA membership everywhere else; mostly male, White, over the age of 50 and living in rural areas or smaller towns.  The NRA show is just a big gun show and these folks will do what they always do at those shows: play with the guns, eat a few treats, stand on line for a couple of hours to get Ted Nugent’s autograph, say hello to friends, then hop in their 4×4’s and drive back home.  They won’t spend a second in the city of Indianapolis, and if while they’re at the show a couple of more inner-city residents are gunned down, they won’t know about it and they won’t care.

Meanwhile, the NRA will treat them to a good dose of double-talk as to why they are really there.  They’ll remind the visitors that guns are the best line of defense against criminals and crime. There will be endless exhortations to fight back against a federal government that is out to grab their guns.  And if they need the ultimate proof that God is on their side, they can always line up for admission to the Prayer Breakfast before entering the exhibit hall.

lapierreWant the truth? Both sides in the gun debate mobilize their followers by appealing to fear.  In the case of the NRA, it’s a fear of losing your guns, a fear of the government, a fear of crime.  For the Violence Policy Center and like-minded organizations, it’s a fear of guns.  As long as the two sides continue to appeal to their followers on the basis of fear, there’s really no chance that we will have a reasonable and responsible discussion about how to stop the killings that occur in Indianapolis and other cities and towns.

If we ever had such a debate, maybe it would turn out that we as Americans would decide that 30,000 gun deaths every year is a small price to pay for the fun of attending the NRA show.  Or maybe we would decide that the violence has to stop right now and the 2nd Amendment notwithstanding, everyone has to turn in their guns.  I don’t really care which way such a debate works out; all I know is that neither pro-gun nor anti-gun advocates are interested in kicking one off.


Gun Violence: Let’s Stop Researching And Start Yelling, Or At Least Talking


Chantilly, VA gun show

Chantilly, VA gun show

You may have noticed in my last several blogs that I am dismayed by the extent to which the pro-gun crowd completely owns the public debate about guns.  They get their message out endlessly and continuously, and they get it out regardless of whether anything they say is true or not.  If you think I’m over-stating the case, take a look at the recent analysis of Emily Miller’s pro-gun book by Media Matters.  Miller is the latest in a long line of NRA sycophants who masquerade as “objective” journalists or researchers, but in reality just parrot the NRA-NSSF  line.

So Miller publishes a book promoting the idea that women should buy and carry guns.  And she’s immediately interviewed by CNN and Politico who allow her to make false statement after false statement without the slightest attempt to push back or discern whether what she’s saying is actually true.  And the reason she published the book?  Because while sales of small, concealable handguns have created a new market for gun manufacturers over the past decade, the increase in female ownership of guns has lagged far behind.  And the truth is, that with the percentage of families that actually own guns decreasing, the only way that sales can continue strong is to find new sales opportunities within existing gun-owning families, women over 21 being the most underrepresented group.  Want an example?  Take a look at the photo at the top of this blog.  It’s a gun show in Chantilly Virginia and if you want a larger view just click the last-cited link. Or just take my word for it that of the 20 or so customers lined up in front of the tables, every single one is a man.

So the NRA relentlessly pushes its agenda without regards to facts.  And who can blame them?  After all, their job is to help the gun industry sell guns.  They may promote themselves as a training organization, as a public-interest lobby, as a charitable and educational effort, but they don’t operate, shall we say, for the common good.  They are basically a marketing group, and they have developed a very successful marketing campaign.

It’s particularly successful because they’re up against nobody on the other side.  When was the last time you heard of the Brady Campaign doing anything besides sending their lobbyists up to Capitol Hill?  And Brady’s the best of them.  Everyone else in the gun control camp is busily hacking away at this piece of research or that which they read to each other and then basically throw away.  In the last two weeks alone gun control scholars have issued several serious and detailed reports about the link between gun ownership and violence.  One report came out of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, the other led by medical researchers at NYU.  Both reports added additional evidence to support the idea that maybe, just maybe, there’s a link between 250 million guns floating around and high rates of violence with guns.  Both reports received the usual, 30-second mention in various liberal media outlets and blogs.  Both reports went no further than that.

Had these reports been issued before Newtown and the Navy Yard the NRA would have immediately dispatched one of its academic hirelings to refute them in detail.  This time around these reports were ignored.  At the same time that these reports were issued, Emily Miller was hosting a book-publishing party in Washington, complete with accolades from Rick Perry, Ted Nugent and Donald Trump.  There’s no longer a give-and-take between the pro-gun and the anti-gun crowd.  There’s a pro-gun crowd out there celebrating success after success and a pathetic group of gun control researchers talking to themselves.

Anyone ever hear of a group called the Violence Policy Center?  They have published a remarkable series of studies about gun violence, all of which are available for everyone to read.  The studies are meticulous, detailed and true.  And I’m willing to bet you that there’s not a single person reading my blog who’s ever read one of these reports.  But why should you bother?  After all, you’re not in the business of academic research.  Going to a book-publishing party would always be more fun.